Addicted to novelty since 2001

Condoms: A Marketing Challenge

Christmas morning. I’m 12, my brother’s 15, and we ascend the stairs to the livingroom for our the traditional morning gift-opening. As always, we start with our stockings. At the bottom of our stockings are a 12-pack of condoms. My parents giggle maliciously as we turn sundry shades of red.

My parents, being liberated sorts, wanted to ensure that we were equipped should we, uh, get the opportunity. The irony was that my Mom, bless her, was too embarassed to buy them, and made my Dad do it instead. Sadly (but, from a developmental perspective, wisely), those condoms expired before I had a chance to to use them.

Tonight, I’m in the local grocery store and I’m buying ear plugs (I’m a light sleeper). Right beside the ear plugs are the condoms, in all their multi-coloured glory. I don’t really need any at the moment, but I peruse them to ensure that, you know, there haven’t been any revolutionary condom developments lately. The latest innovation (and I think it’s been around for a while) is apparently the Performax condoms from Durex. These have a ‘climax control lubricant on inside of condom to help prolong sexual performance’.

Given that, after size, duration is probably the biggest sexual anxiety of the average man, this is a thoughtfully-designed product. While consumer marketers have been playing on women’s hang-ups for generations, exploiting men’s fixations is a relatively recent phenomenon. There is, however, a problem: the purchase.

This article says that 66% of men feel “some level of embarrassment” when buying condoms. This grocery store is staffed almost exclusively by young women. Maybe I’m just sheepish, but the last thing I’d want to do is walk up to one of them and declare “I think I’m sexually deficient” before handing over some cash.

The solution, I guess, is to order online. That’s all fine and dandy, but I’d guess that the vast majority of condoms are purchased and used promptly. This article, for example, shows that half of young British men (admittedly, not a group reknowned for its foresight) only buy condoms after they have successfully pulled (hooked up, for you Brit-slang illiterates).

So, it’s a marketing challenge. How do you make it all right for skittish lads to procure this compelling but shaming product?

Bonus link: The Durex condom selector (do you want extra lubricious or just dotted?)

8 Responses to “Condoms: A Marketing Challenge”

  1. rannie

    The last time I purchased a box of condoms was on Saturday February 14th. Yes Valentine’s Day. I had to pick up some lube too. For good measure I threw a couple packs of Cadbury Chocolate Mini eggs into the equation. And I calmly walk to the cash.

    Stranglely enough the guy behind me in line was buying condoms too… and as I left the store another fella was checking out the latex merch as well.

    It was valentines day, So i shouldn’t have been surprised.

  2. donna

    I get a sick pleasure out of buying condoms. I hate the damn things, but I like to always have a nice big supply — just in case. I’m not sure what it’s just in case OF… but you never know when you need a water balloon, right?

    In any event, Urban Fare used to be my grocery store of choice, due to it’s proximity to my apartment — in the same building and all. I’m *very* picky about my condoms. I won’t use nonoxyl 9, I hate trojan, and ribbed condoms are for nobodys pleasure.

    So, the look on peoples faces when I would race down in my pajamas, run directly to the pharmacy area mutter angrily to myself while looking at the condom selection before I grabbed a box of Durex Tropical, raced to the counter muttering “hurry up hurry up” …

    Well, we all need entertainment, right?

    That said — tropical condoms are weird. There’s nothing like seeing your lovers naughty bits with a bright yellow condom. Fucking a banana comes to mind.

    Side note: guys don’t like it if you point and laugh at their genitals. Even if you’re just laughing at the condom, the distinction is hard to make.

  3. alexis

    Oh, that’s an actual German commercial, by the way.

  4. alexis

    I don’t know. My friend sent it to me this morning and it just seemed timely.

  5. Red Wolf

    Darren, your parents are hilarious. Although probably only in hindsight if you’re the recipient of their humour.

    Donna, you made my day. And I thought embarrassing the customers who dropped in for a lunchtime quickie at the brothel that shared my apartment building was fun. Banana condom shopping in pyjamas easily beats that.

  6. Chris

    Marketing Idea – Imagine a young man at the check out counter sliding the condoms towards the clerk for ring up. The clerk looks up with a shitty grin and says felling lucky? The young man fades to a vision of a doctor informing him he has an STD. He then has a vision of a girl telling him she is pregnant. In horror he comes back to reality and response to the clerk NO! Now this could be an effective yet funny commercial. Have a safe Day.

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