– 3 April 2013


Sex. The fact is, most teenagers do it, and varsity is the place where most people leaving their teens can first be open about experimenting, discussing and learning about sex and relationships. As young adults, varsity students are able to express their sexuality more openly amongst their peers.

That’s why Durex actively targets this segment, using ‘youth media’ like MTV, YouTube, and Facebook, and sponsoring youth events whilst also engaging in sample campaigns on campuses. Early adoption means a better chance of brand loyalty and of committing to safe sex.

Durex is an acknowledged masterbrand, and the name is a generic term for the condoms in much of Europe, the UK, Japan and SA. In the  US and Canada the condom market is still dominated by Trojan, although Durex has been chipping away at this market share over the years.

Despite everything we know about safe sex today, selling condoms to youngsters is still a hard sell (if you’ll forgive the obvious pun). Putting on a condom during the heat of passion can be interpreted as an interruption to the act, and mid-foreplay the human brain is less likely to think about ‘downer’ subjects like HIV and pregnancy. In fact when on the endorphin high of a sexual encounter is on, there’s less rational thinking. Because of this, Durex’s advertising tends to cleverly focus more on fun and humour than on the durability or safety aspects of the product.

In a market that could be a parity sector, one differentiator Durex has used is to literally ‘own’ sex. The condom manufacturer  publishes an annual sex survey, interviewing over 5000 participants in 14 countries. This research creates an annual media stir which allows Durex to position itself as the leader in condom and sex related information.

In SA, Durex has been engaging with university-goers in a way that is not embarrassing or self-conscious, through social media and various light-hearted, entertaining campaigns. A good example of this is the ‘Kampus Sutra’ campaign that attempts to open up debate in communities – and online tribes – on various sexual issues. The latest ad asks for slogans promoting safe sex, like “No glove, no love” – or “If it’s not on, it’s not in”.

For young adults in varsities, one of the main obstacles to sexual enjoyment is often the lack of privacy. Sharing dorm rooms, in digs or at home… and that’s where Durex came to offer a solution in the form of a clever promotion.

Durex, together with Rogue Brand Agency produced Durex-branded socks. But these are no ordinary socks – they have a large tag at the heel, which sticks up above the shoe, showing the Durex logo: highly visible, cheeky and fun. At the UJ launch, 5000 pairs were eagerly snapped up by students willing to be “walking billboards” for the Durex brand.

But the tag has another important role: it is just the right size to slip over a door handle, acting as a signal to prevent any embarrassing interruption from a roommate or visitor.

Rogue CEO Brad Dessington says this was the insight behind the creation of Durex Door Socks. “We were also aware that this is such a brand conscious market, and if designed in the right way we could make the door socks sexy – essentially creating a fashion accessory that students would wear as a social statement – the thing great fashion brands do well.”

Dessington continues: “The approach of the agency in general is to create communication that audiences want to engage with, essentially communication that they are attracted to, because the messages are no longer wallpaper – they, in themselves have value.” says Dessington.

So next time someone asks, “How’s it hangin’?” just say “Like a sock, bro’ – a door sock.” They may not know what you’re talking about, but you’ll know you’re too cool for ‘school’. Plus you’re making the right choice – which is of course the safe choice.