Marketing: Condom Advertisements

I watched a fantastic commercial the other day from Sir Richard’s, a condom company in Colorado, whose newest campaign is called Vagina Rules. Please watch it – it’s hilarious.

Sir Richard’s Vagina Rules, United States.

It made me think back to all of the other advertisements I’ve seen and how great it would be to copy write for them.

I’ve compiled a small collection of my favorites below.

MTV’s Protect Yourself Campaign, Portugal.

“Girls, protect yourself. Demand your partner to wear a condom.”

ZaZoo’s Use Condoms, Belgium.

Tulipán’s Happy Aunts, Argentina.

Durex’s Balloon Animals, United Kingdom.

Hansaplast’s Mommy Said I Could!, France.

Durex vs. Competitors, United States.

But then reality struck me. Making condom commercials would be a marketing nightmare if you had to create these for small condoms! Because that market exists, but that market refuses to buy the product. Do you know a man that would proudly purchase a petite size? I can’t list a single one. But, in all honesty, can you blame a guy? Imagine that sort of pressure…. and I assume it’s similar to how women feel about their breast size or their overall body shape, so I can relate.

Consider also, the more dangerous implications of this – how many wrong fits are causing a condom to break or slip off? How many wrong fits are resulting in a condom removal and discard? Or on a different note – how many wrong fits are causing difficulty reaching orgasm (for both parties)?

So, it’s certainly a worthwhile puzzle to solve – how do we get men to buy the correct size even if it means downsizing? I started thinking about what has been done for women. Companies like Victoria’s Secret and Express, both subsidiaries of The Limited, have found clever ways to trick your psyche.

A few years ago, Victoria’s Secret upsized their bra chart. If you were an A-cup, you became a B-cup. If you were a B-cup, you became a C-cup, etc. Despite that I’ve been an A-cup my whole life and I can tell you right now, I’m still an A-cup despite what size I purchase, but when I fit into a “B-cup” for the first time, it went on the list of Happiest Life Moments. They tricked me. And I loved them for it.

Similarly, Express changed their labels to make women “fit” into smaller sizes. 2s became 0s. 4s became 2s, etc. If a woman is shopping and she’s a 4 at Express, but a 6 at the GAP – where do you think that woman’s money is going? Exactly. The illusion outweighs the reality.

Will this work on men, too?

Some condom companies seem to have done variations of this. Trojan has Regular, Large and X-Large, which avoids the term Small. They own the majority of the market. While LifeStyles took a slightly more direct approach, one which still treads very carefully over a man’s ego, by calling their smaller size Snugger Fit. I’ve heard the name, but I couldn’t place them… There’s even one called The Iron Grip from Caution Wear. This means nothing to me.

Evidently, the skewed size chart is working better than renaming. Men are smarter than we thought! (kidding)

On a side note, Durex doesn’t even vary their sizes despite having an XXL variation. It’s apparently the same size as any of the “normal” ones according to The Condom Monologues. No wonder Trojan owns the majority of the market share. Durex, that’s just stupid, both from a social responsibility perspective and a business perspective. There’s no way every man is 7 or 8 inches, so they’re not actually helping the safe sex cause nor are they maximizing their profit.

Back to the point – I had a legitimate idea to solve this marketing conundrum. It will be tough. It will take years, but I promise, it will solve things…

Sex Education
A difficult solution, yes, I know, but when we advocate safe sex in schools, we should actually be teaching them something. Anything from how to use a condom to the importance of getting the right size. Explaining how that can positively and negatively affect your experience. The solution starts with the adults taking this seriously. Not tuning kids out by using scare tactics, but giving them useful information.

Truth… it’s a powerful thing.

This lends to the bigger question – how do we teach sex education and teach it well?