retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Here's a statistic from a new Fast Company story that I found to be a little amazing: "As of last year, 22 states require that schools teach sex ed. Only 19 states require that, if provided, that education must be medically accurate."

Yikes.

The magazine reports this statistic within the context of a story about a company called JuiceBox that has created a sex education application designed to deliver "sexual health information via mobile phones, where teenagers communicate most often." There are two main components to the app: One feature, "which users can access by swiping left, is called 'Snoop' and allows teenagers to ask questions of sexual health professionals, who are each members of the Association of Sexuality Educators, Counsellors, and Therapists." The second main feature is called "Spill," and it allows "users to share their own stories about relationships and sex."

Eventually, the app will make money with some combination of advertising and advanced features. But what really is interesting about the app is how it is designed to approach a subject that can be intimidating and fraught with misinformation by communicating with young people in terms they'll get. The reasoning is that "by making every effort to function less like a pamphlet about STDs and birth control" and more like a fun product such as Snapchat, JuiceBox can actually deliver a lot more relevant and useful information than other vehicles.

"Our app is entertaining and fun first," says founder Brianna Rader says, "education second." But as the story makes clear, "putting education second could actually be the best way to put education first."

For me, it is this last insight that is the Eye-Opener. (Though, to be fair, there is a lot in this story that opened my eyes. I must say that I'm happy to know that kids who are not having their questions answered have a place to go; I suppose I'd be disappointed if my kids did not view me as open enough to ask questions of, but mostly in myself, not them.)

If business is to communicate effectively with people - especially young people - it is supremely important to present information in a way that is compelling, accurate and relevant ... but perhaps most importantly, entertaining.
KC's View: