On March 11, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it had approved FC2, which is manufactured from a different material than its predecessor, making it 30% less expensive than FC1, the first and only other female condom, said Mary Ann Leeper, senior strategic adviser and former president of The Female Health Company.
Because the FC2 is the only woman-initiated product on the market, the company hopes to raise visibility about it in both the public and private sectors, as well as among men and women, said Leeper.
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which was hired by the Chicago-based company in December 2005, is providing support.
“If you are educating men about the positive attributes of the female condom, it's going to make it a much more acceptable product for them when women are introducing them to it,” said Bryan Callahan, VP of social marketing at Ogilvy.
To “relaunch” the FC2, The Female Health Company plans to introduce a nine-city tour in the fall of 2010 to educate decision makers and health influencers at reproductive health agencies, health clinics, and AIDS services organizations about the female condom, according to Callahan.
The tour will visit cities like Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Houston.
“The idea of reaching out, engaging, and bringing advocates into partnership was very, very important to making people aware of the female condom,” said Callahan, “because advocates can speak credibly about where the need for the product [is] and the overall importance of expanding access.”
Ogilvy helped The Female Health Company develop "Prevention Now," a branded advocacy campaign, with the Center for Health and Gender Equity in 2006 to raise awareness about the female condom and dispute misconceptions.
The PR team plans to pitch business journalists who cover small cap and micro cap sectors, as well as those who cover socially responsible businesses, said Callahan. To better reach consumers, the company is also looking to partner with a distributor that would allow them to put the product on store shelves, noted Leeper.