Research type 
Year of report 

Summary of findings

  • Data is provided relating to recognition and awareness of Ruthinking advertising and campaign materials as well as recall of non-campaign material based on similar themes.
  • Understanding of and reaction to key campaign messages is assessed, together with “claimed effect of advertising on condom usage.”
  • General information is provided relating to key sources of information on sex education for 13-17 year olds. A number of specific government information channels are detailed
  • Attitudinal data together with knowledge and experience is presented.
  • Teenagers were asked to prioritise from a list of concerns. 39% thought that sex and relationships were one of the biggest concerns they had; competing for attention with drugs, smoking and bullying.

Research objectives

  • To measure awareness and recognition of the communications
  • To investigate understanding of the message of the communications and perceived relevance of these messages
  • To track changes in broad attitudes to sexual behaviour and especially those relating to the specific campaign messages



The ‘RUThinking’ campaign is part of a wider government strategy which aims to decrease the rate of teenage pregnancy whilst encouraging teenage mothers to remain in education, training or work in order to reduce the risk of long term social exclusion. The specific objectives of Ruthinking are:

  • To give advice on how to deal with the pressures to have sex
  • To encourage communication between boys and girls about sex, relationships, contraception and sexual health
  • To underline the importance of contraception. To inform young people with the facts about teenage pregnancy and to make them aware of the risk of sexually transmitted infections. To use a condom when having sex
  • To make teenagers aware of their right to talk confidentially to professionals about sex and contraception.

Qualitative research was undertaken to review the ‘RUThinking’ campaign and generate insights to inform the new campaign strategy. If was found that whilst teenagers had high awareness and understanding of the current campaign, around 25% of Local Authorities still had static or increasing under 18 conception rates and the incidence of STIs was highest amongst 16-19 year old women. Fifty percent of conceptions occurred in only 20% of wards with the highest rates. As such, achieving the set objectives by 2010 would require a strong regionally targeted initiative to address the high rates within hotspot areas. As London has the highest concentration of the hotspot wards, the plan was to concentrate effort there in the short term within the context of the national information campaign. As part of a broader evaluation of the strategy, a tracking survey has been running since 2001, specifically to evaluate the media campaign in meeting the campaign objectives. It was decided to adopt a new more focussed campaign for specific regions and target groups. Again the effectiveness of the campaign needed to be assessed. TNS was awarded the research for the London component

Research participants

  • Primary sample was 13-17 year olds living in London
  • Secondary sample of young men 18-21 years who may be boyfriends of girls aged between 13-17 and provide information on contraceptive behaviour.
  • Parents of 13-17 year olds

Audience Summary





Segmented by:

  • White
  • Black
  • Caribbean
  • Asian
  • Mixed background
  • Other


  • 13-17 years (main sample)
  • Young men 18-21
  • Parents of 13-17 year olds

Social Class


Specific information on social class not given though sample is broken down by housing tenure:

  • Rented from council/housing association
  • Privately owned/ mortgage
  • Other


Data collection methodology


Other data collection methodology


Methodology for selecting samples: The advertising campaign was targeted at specific teenage pregnancy ‘hotspots’ in London. In order to ensure the sample was representative of the target audience TNS drew the sampling points from a list of hotspot areas identified by the media agency. The list of hotspots was supplied to TNS by COI. The TNS Sampling Department then ranked the list according to percentage of under 18 year olds living in those wards. Fifty-six wards with a penetration of teenagers greater than 11 percent were randomly selected from the list [see Appendix 1 of the attached report: Sample for the full list of wards and those selected for inclusion in the study]. Sampling points were then drawn from these selected wards.

Sample size

  • 377 respondents in the primary sample of 13-17 year olds
  • 97 young men aged between 18-21
  • 200 parents of 13-17 yr olds

Detailed region



Fieldwork dates


The fieldwork was completed between the 4th of January and the 7th of February 2005.

Agree to publish





Low. Robust methodology. Good sampling and clear methodology

Research agency

TNS Consumer

COI Number


Report format