Durex is bidding to bypass advertising restrictions with a campaign challenging misconceptions about anal sex.
Created by Havas London, the work comprises billboards that avoid explicit mentions of anal sex, due to restrictions from many mainstream media owners that prohibit any reference to it in advertising. Instead, the ads feature the tagline: “It’s 2020, and we still can’t talk about normal sex here”.
It then encourages people to visit Durex’s online hub, which includes educational resources and advice about anal sex.
Durex also collaborated with French sex expert Maïa Mazaurette to create “The Forgotten Chapter” of the Kama Sutra. While the ancient Indian Sanskrit text is regarded as one of the most comprehensive guides to sex and intimacy, it contains little positive reference to anal sex within its 36 chapters.
The brand’s additional chapter features five positions, such as “The fearless cowgirl” and “Ride the tiger”, in which couples can explore anal sex. Artist Shreya Gulati depicted the positions through a series of bright and intimate illustrations.
Durex exhibited its manuscript at Rue de Turenne in Le Marais, Paris from 28 to 31 August, and it is also available to view online.
The campaign aims to overturn stigmas and challenge the censorship of sex. It also promotes Durex’s Perfect Gliss product – a silicone-based lubricant specifically formulated for anal sex, which is available in the UK as Perfect Glide – across France and the Benelux region.
The work was created by John Ogunmuyiwa, Eduardo Boldrini and Ronnie Vleck. Havas agency One Green Bean oversaw earned media, while Havas Paris provided activation support.
Oriane Kowalczyk, marketing director, RB Health France, Belgium and the Netherlands, said: “Anal sex has been underrepresented in the mainstream for far too long. So often our preconceptions are based on outdated cultural references as well as clichés, and the reality today is that a quarter of couples are having anal sex or want to explore it. Those couples deserve the right education, knowledge and products to make shared pleasure possible. Yet, we can’t talk about it. We hope this is the first step in encouraging a more open conversation and a world of uncensored sex for all.”
This is the latest effort by Durex to challenge outdated attitudes about sex. On Valentine’s Day this year, it relaunched its brand with the aim of democratising “good sex for all”.
Starting in May, as lockdown restrictions eased around the world, Durex’s campaign urged people to reset negative sexual norms, such as not having safe sex and shaming women who carry condoms.
Elliot Harris, global executive creative director RB at Havas London, added: “Anal sex is not uncommon, and it’s not abnormal… yet we can’t talk about it on TV, in newspapers, on billboards or even online through social platforms. It’s time to end the stigma around any sex branded as ‘different’ and the negative connotations that implies – and that includes censorship from media owners – to democratise good sex for all.”
A version of this article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign