CAMPAIGN: Consumer PR - Ansell makes outdoor sex a focus of its PR

Client: Ansell Healthcare - Mates Condoms PR Team: GCI London Campaign: Safe Outdoor Sex Timescale: March - June 2003 Budget: Between £50,000 and £75,000

The British don't have a reputation for being open about the subject of sex, which is ironic considering the condom market in the UK is worth £69m annually. When GCI London faced the task of increasing brand awareness of Mates they chose to use the subject of alfresco sex.


To build awareness among 16 to 24-year-old males while raising the profile of the brand with a mass audience.

Strategy and Plan

'While trying to get the balance right between giving the brand an edge and not going too far, we also had to find something that wouldn't alienate older buyers,' explains GCI London senior account manager Helen Toone.

The agency came up with the concept of 'save outdoor sex', a spoof protest over the right to have sex outdoors - as the Government had recently looked to bring in new laws to prosecute people caught having sex in public.

It then adapted the concept to a Safe Outdoor Sex campaign to build in the idea of condoms. The team sent out fast facts, such as two thirds of people having indulged in sex outdoors, to journalists.

The team then produced fake heritage plaques, which could be used to mark the spot where you last had sex outdoors, and sent them to the media along with condoms, breath freshener and a toothbrush.

It also hired 'sexpert' Karen Krisanovich to give interviews in the run up to National Condom Week.

It even turned the launch date to its advantage, renaming 5 May as May 'Bonk' Holiday.

Measurement and Evaluation

The campaign picked up double-page spreads in The Sun and the Daily Sport as well as pieces in The Daily Star and Metro. The plaques were mentioned on Capital FM and Channel 5's The Wright Stuff, while Karen Krisanovich completed 20 local and national radio interviews. Other broadcast coverage included IRN, Capital Gold, Galaxy Birmingham, Rock FM and Kiss FM.

Trade coverage accounted for another 21 articles.

Heavy online placement, which included Reuters, Yahoo and Tiscali, led to coverage in the New York Post, along with Reuters in Italy, France and Japan.

Ansell used its own independent market research company, Reiman O'Donell, to carry out pre- and post-campaign analysis, which found that spontaneous brand awareness among the target audience increased by 300 per cent.


Overall, the company saw an increase in sales figures for Mates of 55 per cent for the first few weeks of the campaign, and the website set up by GCI for the campaign's duration received an average of over 100,000 hits per day.

'While I didn't think the idea for the campaign was fantastic, the May 'Bonk' Holiday was good fun and just up The Sun's street,' says Sun Woman deputy editor Sinead Desmond.

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