Pageone Media & Communications, Inc., Makati, Philippines
Name of Organization / Company: Pageone Media & Communications, Inc., Makati, Philippines
Category: Award for Innovation in the Use of Social Media
Entry Title: Avatars: Digital Family Surrogates of the Youth
There is an increasing number of Filipino teenagers experiencing loneliness, detachment and even depression given the growing absence of familial and peer support and convenient channels to ventilate issues and concerns.
The Philippine Department of Health reported that 4.5 Million Filipino teenagers experience depression while the WHO claimed that Philippines is recorded with the highest reports of depression in Southeast Asia. The studies concluded that a big factor of depression is the absence of communication support and channels where they can freely, conveniently, and anonymously talk about the problems, issues and concerns regarding daily living.
Hence, PageOne Media, an advocacy and content development agency, developed easy to use channels, information portals and digital icons and avatars to serve as access and conversation points for those willing to vent their emotions and thoughts with the end-goal of providing surrogate peers, family, friends, and overall confidante to teenagers’ pent-up feelings that are making them depressed and lonely.
To build an easily relatable and identifiable family figure PageOne Media developed virtual identification icons or avatars. These avatars, serviving as digital family surrogates, are as follows:
• Mamu serves as a motherly image who is loving and approachable. She resembles the motherly instinct that brings comfort and care to the family, she welcomes talking about personal problems and dilemmas.
• Papsi A firm but loving father figure, Papsi is identified as the protective head of the family that also lends advice full of wisdom. He is a good-natured and generous character that listens to the problems and concerns of his children who needs a little bit more tough love.
• Big brother Brad is associated with a calmer and easy-going vibe. He is the figure to approach to when one is having problems that is preferred to be shared to a sibling rather than a parent.
• Kupido is an angelic figure that talks about love. He welcomes discussions about anything and everything about love and relationships.
PageOne Media has optimized its Facebook page accounts to become a bridge of direct communication with teenagers that submit problems and concerns. Each avatar addresses them in a parental, peer-like and/or familial tone to trigger an emotional attachment.
Whenever needed, PageOne Media consults professional behaviorists and counsellors in responding to complex issues and problems being raised by the teenagers. The professional advice is then re-crafted to suit the personality of the digital family surrogates.
The campaign is proving to be highly successful. It’s initial goal of reaching 500,000 teenagers have been surpassed almost ten times.
The four avatars as digital family surrogates have a total accumulated reach of 4,839,256 users in a span of one year exceeding the targeted reach of 500,000 teenagers. The Mamu, Papsi, Kupido and Brad Facebook pages have generated an accumulated 356,000 “likes and fans”.
PageOne Media, through its various digital assets, has successfully addressed and conversed with teenagers - an average of 109,000 messages addressed and questions answered per month.
A majority of the online users that have submitted their problems and personal dilemmas have expressed gratitude and relief because the PageOne media avatars have helped them in easing their depression and solve some problems. Several specific users have admitted to identifying certain avatars such as Papsi and Mamu as a form of parental figure in addition to their own parents.
Its supporting Facebook pages, Pageone.ph and Giorgina.ph have lent an accumulated reach of almost 15 million users.
Digital avatars Mamu and Papsi’s Twitter accounts also reach 333,000 Twitter followers.
The Pageone.ph website has also garnered a total of 13 million page views. Some of its content has been hailed by teenagers as timely and helpful in easing their problems in life.