Take Care Down There: The New Planned Parenthood Campaign

Planned Parenthood has a new education campaign for teenagers called Take Care Down There. At least one blog has questioned whether the site is cheesy – or more to the point whether it is too cheesy for teenagers. And yes, it’s highly cheesy. Here are two cheesy things I noticed about the site:

  1. The lines are clean and the colors bright and the whole site is somewhat reminiscent of that penguin game the kiddies like so much.
  2. The characters in the videos are wearing gender-color-coded t-shirts and are somewhat reminiscent of the Apple/PC Apple ads with their white backdrops and amusing banter.

In other words, Planned Parenthood has made this campaign fun rather that stressful. But I think that’s good. There are links to more in-depth, useful information. And through the videos, teenagers are getting exposed some good, basic information about safe sex. It’s not a sex-ed class, and it’s not comprehensive. But imitating a classroom environment is not how the Internet works, and teenagers know that.

Basically, I’m delighted that Planned Parenthood has gone out and gotten people who know what they’re doing on-line and in advertising to create a funny and engaging site to work as a portal to greater information. I think teenagers will be much more likely to visit this site and to recommend it to their friends than something like this one, and it will stick in their minds so they’ll know where to come back when they have pressing questions. Then they’ll be ready to make their way through Teenwire‘s denser, more informative body of information.

So go take a look, and report back: What do you think of the Take Care Down There campaign?

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. I watched all the videos on “Take Care Down There.” I agree with Karen that it’s simplistic, but direct. I like that there is no judgment coming from the “teacher” character; the impression is “sex is fine, just be safe.” I LOVED the song! Reminds me of a masturbation rap song I heard a number of times about 10 years ago, written and performed by two young women. It was great and I wish I knew how to get ahold of them to see if they’ve published it on the web anywhere. It would be perfect for the new PP site. Thanks, Karen, for letting us know about this new site.

  2. pretty funny stuff

    i think i’ll show it to my kids

    they’ll just scream (with laughter too). the annoying “teacher” guy is a fixture of their worlds and approaches them in the same pseudo-cool fashion most of their teachers do – so they will recognise the archetype immediately

    but they’ll also probably watch all of the videos – because they are the right kind of cheesy funny

  3. Not merely “cheesy”, this stuff is creepy and insulting. Is the target pre-teens? (I can’t think of any reasonably mature teenager who wouldn’t find it off-putting.) Most significantly, the aggressively brain-dead “sex is no big deal” attitude of the site, as evidenced by the use of “cute” and stupid terminology (e.g., “Bumping Uglies”, “spew”, etc.) is decidedly sex-negative. As such, it plays perfectly to the carnal whims of your average early teen male who really doesn’t want to be bothered with anything beyond the head of his dick. Nasty.

  4. Loved the website. Its witty and edgy and will connect with its audience, which are the kids (not us adults). Will continue to support Planned Parenthood in any way I can.

  5. I think PP is expecting teens to act like adults regarding decisions about their sexuality. Telling them to communicate openly with their partner is laughable…most teens can’t even articulate their own feelings to themselves let alone to a sexual partner. That requires maturity that teens don’t have yet. Ditto for the advice about loving your body. Most teens have a poor body image; it is part of growing up to feel self concious at this age! It’s not because their parents made them feel that way or nobody talked to them about sex.
    Sexual maturity is a process that *begins* when you are a teen. Your hormones rage at this age and you have no wisdom or life experience yet to fully understand the kind of responsibilty you are taking on by engaging in a sexual relationship.
    There has got to be more involved than just telling them how to use a condom.
    I don’t advocate the “just say No” approach either because that’s the other extreme.
    But kids need to be taught that sex is more than a physical act and when you have sex you are at risk for some major life changes that you are not ready for (and I don’t just mean physical changes…a lot of people carry scars from failed relationships where they felt used). That’s why it’s better to wait.
    We talk about “monogamy” as though its only purpose it to prevent STDs. But we need to explain to kids why a committed relationship is important, in terms of loving and trusting someone with our bodies and our feelings. That is really huge.

  6. I like what you’ve said here, martian400. It’s clearly stating a problem that is rife in sexuality education. I have a list of things that teenagers need to DO before they have sex that I think ensures that they are talking with their partner, respecting their body, being safe, and getting to know their body if not loving their body – but they’re all concrete, clear actions rather than generalizations or a call to be more mature. You can read the list here: http://karenrayne.com/2007/09/28/top-ten-things-to-do-before-you-have-sex-a-list-for-teenagers/

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