CAMPAIGNS: International Brand Awareness - Durex penetrates sexual practices

Client: London International Group

Client: London International Group

PR Team: In-house and Hill and Knowlton

Campaign: Durex Global Sex Survey 1997

Timescale: March to November 1997

Cost: pounds 750,000

In the pre-Aids 1980s, the pill gained considerable market share, while

condoms were seen as a declining market.

In 1987 London International Group began to internationalise its

business by acquiring local brands, however its condoms were still being

sold under different names, making global PR, advertising and marketing


In 1994, the organisation decided to focus on the Durex brand and to

globalise it. LIG’s finances improved and LIG’s products now account for

around 22 per cent of the global branded condom market with sales

growing by 6.6 per cent last year.


To gain global media coverage for LIG’s second annual global sex survey

and to turn Durex into a globally recognised brand. A key aim was to

achieve quality - as well as quantitative - coverage with the Durex

brand being associated with such issues as health and sex education.


Hill and Knowlton was hired by LIG in March 1997 to co-ordinate PR for

the 1997 survey. The launch date was set for 28 October. A working group

was assembled to plan and run the campaign. Senior account director

Lucinda Ostwind headed the Hill and Knowlton team, while LIG’s team was

led by Clive Kitchener, group director of strategy, and Justine Samuel,

head of corporate affairs.

Nearly 10,000 sexually active adults between the ages of 16 and 45 were

surveyed in 14 countries. Questions included frequency of sexual

experiences, age at first sexual encounter, number of sexual partners

and length of time spend engaging in intercourse.

The London team co-ordinated the work of PR agencies in each of the 14

countries. Manning Selvage and Lee, which ran PR for the first global

survey in 1996, was used as the local agency in the US and Mexico. The

other agencies were: Health Network in the UK; Royce Communications in

Australia; GCI Communications in Canada; Shandwick in Hong Kong;

Mavellia in Italy; Health Network out of UK in Poland and Russia; Public

Relations International in South Africa; Sanchis y Asociados in Spain;

Court-Conseille in France, and Shandwick in Thailand.

A tailor-made survey of the Indian middle-class was commissioned by LIG

in India as a prelude to the launch of Durex in the sub-continent.

Hill and Knowlton produced common briefing packs for the local agencies

to ensure consistency and ensured that deadlines for the achievement of

goals were met as the campaign swung into action.

CMS was hired to produce custom-made Precis evaluation software. The

survey was translated into five languages. Embargoed for two weeks, each

country’s media pack was delivered by the local agencies. Hill and

Knowlton London handled the international press and media and set up a

24-hour hotline.


The worldwide embargo held up, as planned, until the launch date. The

launch resulted in world-wide publicity in print, media and


Hill and Knowlton devoted five per cent of its budget to measuring and

evaluating how well the campaign reached its objectives. According to

Ostwind, 1,000 million people were ’impacted’ by the campaign.

Press coverage was up 46 per cent on the previous year, consumer

magazine coverage was up 50 per cent and television coverage - one of

the key objectives - rose 355 per cent. Radio coverage was about the

same as the year before.

There was a 30 per cent overall average increase in quantity and quality

of media coverage, added Ostwind.


H&K’s tailor-made evaluation system found that the global PR campaign

achieved a common communication platform in 14 countries. In addition,

it provided proof that the campaign successfully promoted the Durex

brand in widely differing cultures.

A well-researched and co-ordinated campaign raised coverage from the

frivolous to include the more serious issues of sex education and


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