"Pregnant mannequins" at prom dress shops send message to teens

MILWAUKEE -- A campaign to prevent teen pregnancy is targeting prom night. "Pregnant mannequins" are being set up at dress shops in an effort to send a message to teens.

The pregnant mannequins are part of United Way's latest stunt to reduce teen pregnancy in Milwaukee. "We have to be aggressive in our approach. We have to give it to them straight. We have to be hard-hitting. We can't put soft pieces out there. We can't be touchy feely about this," Nicole Angresano with United Way said.

Store owner Elliott Torrence agrees with the message. He's put up the prom dress wearing pregnant mannequins at both of his stores. "We're either part of the solution, or we're part of the problem. They come in, they look around, and oftentimes, we don't have a chance to speak with them one-on-one, but if they could leave with this message, and it makes a difference, then it's worth it," Torrence said.

United Way is half-way into a 10-year campaign to reduce teen pregnancies by 46 percent. So far, it seems their strategies are working. The latest data shows a drop of more than 30 percent since they began in 2006. "No other community has a goal that bold, and what we know is, we have to have equally bold tactics to reach that number," Angresano said.

The pregnant mannequins may not be as in-your-face as a giant billboard, but Torrence hopes they subtly make the message stick. "If we can help one, it can make a difference," Torrence said.

This is the first time United Way has set up the pregnant mannequins. They say to expect similar guerilla marketing tactics in the future.