The Iowa Department of Public Health has something it wants to "go viral" with teenagers. A YouTube video posted on-line this past weekend hinted at what was to come.
Bonnie Mapes of the Iowa Department of Public Health says the "spooky" video — which looks a bit like the movie "Cloverfield" — was designed to appeal to teenagers. "It’s a girl in a town and she’s talking to her brother, wishing him a happy birthday, and all of a sudden everybody disappears," Mapes says. "It was just a very short teaser designed to get youth interested."
The premise is that everybody in the eastern Iowa town of Springville disappears. "The basic reason was that it has the population of 1200 and the reason that is so important is that 1200 people die every single day from tobacco use," Mapes says, "and the message of the campaign is that a town of the size of Springville disappears everyday because of tobacco use."
Some Springville residents were a bit frightened and confused by the run-up to the campaign as posters were plastered around town with the phrase "We’ll miss you Springville" printed on them. You might see images of Springville in TV spots airing statewide this week, although the ads are running on stations which primarily appeal to teenagers and younger adults. "There are adults who may never see them because they aren’t running on the evening news. They are running on stations that youth watch more often and, again, the YouTube video was designed specifically to reach youth," Mapes says. "I don’t even know how to use YouTube, but they certainly do."
According to Mapes, Springville is just the first Iowa town to get this treatment. "We have two more that will be revealed within the next couple of weeks," Mapes says. There’s a countdown clock posted on-line, too, at WhatTownIsNext.com to perhaps produce even more interest in the project.