Sales & Marketing

Failing to get your message across? Embrace the marketing power of the condom

4 min read

29 March 2016

Former deputy editor

It’s said that knowing your audience is key for business success. For some campaigns, like advertising food, condoms are a great way to grab attention of consumers and get messages across.

Falafel with a splash of innuendo

Real Business met Humpit in October 2015. Although the business may sound like some sort of erotic pleasure service, it’s a street food-fused hummus and pitta brand – see what it did there?

The company’s founder Jonathan Phillips told us it took quite a while to land on the name, but said getting innuendo in the brand was a great way to stay memorable.

Explaining a particularly unique marketing approach, he detailed: “Playing with a cheeky brand, we did all of the freshers’ fairs in Leeds and thought ‘what do we give to students that they can keep in their wallets?’.

“We gave condoms with ‘ready to Humpit’ on, which went so well that we gave out around 3,000. We really focused on branding from the start.”

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Politics gets sexy

However, bizarre as it may seem, condoms aren’t just being used for lighthearted marketing campaigns.

The Brexit debate continues and we’re seeing mixed feedback from SMEs, with some for and against Britain leaving the EU.

In February 2016, Students for Britain, an official campaign championing the Vote Leave argument, launched a condom giveaway to bring the Brexit campaign to the attention of students.

“The time has come to pick a side in this referendum, and we now feel that the only way to deliver fundamental reform to Britain’s relationship with the EU is to leave,” the website reads.

“A vote to remain is a vote to continue to send £350 million to the EU every week, rather than spending it on our own priorities such as higher education and scientific research.”

At the time of the campaign launch, some 2,000 condoms were created with messaging that included “the safer choice” and “it’s riskier to stay in”. The sexual wellness product was promoted in an email sent to students nationwide.

19-year-old Tom Harwood, chairman of Vote Leave’s Students for Britain, said: “They are a great and fun way to get people talking/interested.”

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Fashion meets health

Across the pond meanwhile, the Adolescent Health Project & the Women’s Fund of Omaha have manufactured some fashion items with colourful contraceptives.

The outlandish but creative campaign has seen a series of dresses made out of condoms. The products are to be displayed in shops at local malls ahead of school proms taking place.

Rather than price tags, gowns will come with messages such as “being safe is always in style” to clamp down on unexpected pregnancies and STIs.

Non-profit ad agency SERVE has assisted the campaign. Creative director Gary Mueller, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to reach teens and their parents in an unexpected way before prom, and get the message out to think twice before having unprotected sex, because it can lead to multiple health risks or even a baby.”

The developments come after Durex campaigned for the official launch of a condom emoji to act as a reminder for consumers to have safe sex.