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Victor and Erika Webnovela: An Innovative Generation @ Audience Engagement Strategy for Prevention


The Avance Center recently published an article in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives titled, Victor and Erika Webnovela: An Innovative Generation @ Audience Engagement Strategy for Prevention.

Entertainment-education (E-E) approaches for young audiences continue to evolve in order to keep stride with younger generations’ affinity for technology. E-E and novelas have been used with a wide variety of audiences in the United States, in particular hard-to-reach Latino populations, and have demonstrated effectiveness in disseminating culturally relevant prevention information for a wide variety of health-related risk factors and behaviors. This study discusses the formative research and active engagement of Latino youth living in Langley Park, Maryland, for the development and filming of an innovative 6-episode webnovela titled Victor and Erika (V&E). V&E is part of a larger branding strategy of the Adelante Positive Youth Development intervention that seeks to prevent substance abuse, sexual risk, and interpersonal violence among Latino youth; V&E is also an intervention component. The V&E webnovela is a dramatic portrayal of the lives of 2 immigrant Latino teenagers that also disseminates risk prevention messages. The storyline represents the turning the corner (to a better life) theme that underlies the Adelante intervention brand. Formative research was conducted for character development (n = 20) and creative development of the episodes (n = 14). Results of the formative research showed that youth recommended inclusion of the following topics in V&E episodes: sex, unintended pregnancy, fidelity, trust, family dynamics, immigration status, violence, school dropout, respect, home life, and poverty. Detailed character and episode descriptions are provided, and the implications of using the V&E series as a tool for in-person and online engagement of youth and the dissemination of prevention messages are also discussed.

Read the full article here.

Never seen Victor and Erika? Check out the online video series here.

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