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The Impact of PMC’s Vencer el Miedo

Nov 10, 2020

Every night 3.5 million viewers in Mexico switched their televisions to Televisa’s channel two to watch Vencer el Miedo (“Overcome the Fear”). The 47-episode, award-winning show followed the stories of four women at different ages as they navigated life, love, and tough choices.

The journeys of these women resonated with audiences, winning four awards at the 38th Annual TVyNovelas — including awards for best first actor and best co-starring actress. And by the end of the series, viewers found themselves engaging in more conversations with family members and counselors about important issues like safe sex. OrientaSEX, a hotline operated by professional counselors, launched in partnership with the show. The hotline received a weekly average of 2,868 calls.

Conversations and Contraception

Vencer el Miedo raised awareness around contraceptive methods and healthy sex behaviors for adolescents — the key demographic of the show. Significantly more adolescent viewers (28%) searched for information on contraception compared to non-viewers (19%). Additionally, young adult viewers were 1.79 times more likely than non-viewers to have used dual contraception to prevent unintended pregnancies.

In addition to the teens impacted by the show, Vencer el Miedo also encouraged parents who were watching to talk to their children about sex – with 62% of adult viewers talking to their adolescent children about sex compared to 44% of non-viewers – and about contraception. Adults who watched Vencer el Miedo were 1.52 times more likely than non-viewers to discuss condoms and other contraceptive methods with their adolescent children during the run of the show.

How Did Vencer el Miedo Come to Be?

PMC worked with Grupo Televisa, the largest mass media company in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world.

Before the Grupo Televisa team entered the writer’s room, PMC conducted several rounds of research to understand whom to target and how to draw attention to reproductive health issues among Mexico’s younger populations.

A situation analysis on specific issues, such as population trends, pregnancy rates, and access to family planning services in Mexico, was taken into consideration – including the staggering statistic that 1 in 5 pregnant women in Mexico between 2009-2014 were 19 years old or younger. Additionally, 44% of abortions in Mexico in that same time period were conducted on women between 15 and 19 years old.

With the analysis and focus group research complete, PMC worked with Televisa to determine the target audience. Vencer el Miedo became a show designed to promote healthier attitudes and behaviors around adolescent reproductive health, with the goal of reducing unplanned pregnancy and increasing use of contraceptives among adolescents at risk in Mexico. These target audiences consistently had the highest number and frequency of unplanned pregnancies in Mexico. With PMC’s training, Televisa’s creative team created a production that connected with viewers and inspired emotional investment in the storylines – without compromising entertainment value.

Lights. Camera. ¡Accíon!

Vencer el Miedo first broadcast on January 20, 2020. The 47-episode show aired at 6:30 p.m., five nights a week, Monday through Friday. Vencer el Miedo quickly grabbed the highest viewership numbers of any show in its timeslot and was among the top three most-watched programs for viewers 13 to 21 years old.

As part of the Vencer el Miedo ecosystem of impact, partnerships were created beyond the broadcast. Social media accounts for the show reached over 42 million users on various platforms – including 31.6 million video views on Facebook. Televisa developed a social awareness campaign, Gánale a las Ganas (“Overcome the Desire”), aimed at addressing teen pregnancy that had main characters from the show and other influencers promoting messaging from Vencer el Miedo. The United Nations Population Fund, a frequent PMC collaborator, launched a digital homebase for the campaign.

OrientaSEX, a hotline operated by professional counselors from MEXFAM (the Planned Parenthood affiliate of Mexico), was also crucial. Funded by the Televisa Foundation and Ruta 69 DKT, the hotline’s number was on-screen after every episode, encouraging viewers to call with any sexual health questions. The success of the hotline is undeniable – calls to OrientaSEX exceeded the goal by nearly 500%, with a weekly average of 2,868 calls. A survey given to callers determined that the majority of callers found it through Vencer el Miedo.

And the Winner Is… Vencer el Miedo

Vencer el Miedo continually established – with ratings, viewership, and awards – that entertainment with social impact can be a commercial success. Arcelia Ramírez, who played Inés Durán and won best first actress, dedicated her win to women breaking the silence on abusive relationships. “This project helped women to overcome fear,” said Ramírez.

Arcelia Ramirez speaks on TV

Vencer el Miedo’s success has led to broadcast beyond Mexico, reaching audiences in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and on Univision in the United States. Additionally, the full show is available on YouTube.