Can lottery-style contests encourage young people to practice safe sex?
Last week, Switzerland’s government announced that it will distribute around 400k condoms to the public from June to October as the latest plank in its “Love Life’ campaign to raise awareness of HIV prevention. The campaign is supported by non-governmental groups AIDS Foundation Switzerland and Swiss Sexual Health.
The condoms, which are being handed out at swimming pools, clubs and festivals, feature packaging that contains a lottery ticket with a specific code. Users can check the code via the Love Life website to see if they’ve won one of 3,500 prizes donated by various private companies that are co-sponsoring the campaign.
The available prizes include everything from bicycles, lawnmowers, electronics and clothes to holiday packages. The ‘Suit Up and Win’ campaign is being promoted through a series of cheeky promos, a sample of which can be viewed at the bottom of this article.
The campaign’s theory is that, by participating in this pseudo lottery, Swiss boinkers will become more amenable to the idea of practicing safe sex. Of course, one would think that the inherent benefit of not catching an extremely uncomfortable or even potentially fatal disease would be sufficient motivation for wrapping that rascal, but apparently not.
There is established precedent for the addition of lottery mechanisms to incentivize people to do things they ought to be already doing out of naked (no pun intended) self-interest. Take, for example, the concept of Prize-Linked Savings accounts, which encourage individuals to build a bigger nest egg by linking customer deposits with lottery-style chances to win cash prizes.
Sadly, despite evidence that these programs encourage saving, anti-gambling campaigners have railed against their use. While Switzerland isn’t the most gambling-friendly country – at least, not if you’re an internationally licensed online gambling operator – the new sex lottery appears to have escaped such criticism for the moment.