Client: London International Group plc (LIG)
Team: Health Network and Manning Selvage and Lee
Campaign: Launch of the Durex Global Survey
Timescale: May - July 1996
After running for five years, the annual launch of the Durex UK survey
on sexual behaviour was an established Valentine’s Day feature in
British press and broadcasting circles. However in 1995 Durex
manufacturer London International Group decided to embark on an
extensive brand globalisation programme - and expanded the tried-and-tested UK survey idea into a global survey.
The company not only wanted to increase shareholder value but also
capitalise on sharing cross-border communication opportunities.
Against this background, the decision to go global with the sex survey
dovetailed with two major publicity opportunities - the XI Conference
on Aids in Vancouver and the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
The aim of the campaign was to gain widespread media coverage to
publicise the Durex brand - and to position Durex as an authority on
sexual attitudes and opinions which understands consumer needs.
LIG’s UK-appointed PR consultancy, Health Network PR, worked with
Manning Selvage and Lee, which was appointed to co-ordinate the
worldwide launch of the Durex Global Survey involving a number of local
Ten thousand men and women from 15 countries were quizzed about
attitudes to sexual practices and asked who they thought were the
sexiest individuals and nationalities. Three sets of data were culled
from the respondents, which were released in three appropriate phases.
Phase one was the global launch in May which had to be carried out
simultaneously in each of the 15 countries surveyed. It also had to be
globally applicable, sensitive to cultural differences and hit the right
note of being credible and entertaining but not lightweight.
‘We briefed each local agency very carefully,’ says Madeline Cosgrove
account manager at Manning Selvage and Lee. ‘We couldn’t afford to come
over as smutty.’
In July the XI conference on Aids in Vancouver - which attracted 15,000
delegates a day and more than 3,000 media -provided a second ideal
vehicle to promote the Durex brand.
Whereas the main May launch (phase one) addressed such issues as who
were best lovers and sexiest personalities, the safer sex education data
used in phase two was far more erudite and appropriate to its audience.
Then, cashing in on the media circus surrounding the Atlanta Olympics,
the Durex PR team released survey details of the sexiest sports and
other sports-related results across 15 countries and the wire services
in phase three of the campaign just four days before the Olympic opening
So far the score count is 55 regional radio interviews in the UK; 18
regional television pieces in Canada; and 16 daily newspaper articles in
Hong Kong. And that is just an example of international coverage for
phase one in May. The results from later phases are still rolling in.
Surprise, surprise. Sex equals airtime and column inches. We’ve always
known it. This campaign confirmed that it is the same the world over.
The Durex PR firms skilfully capitalised on the public and media
fascination with making sexual comparisons. One could say that given the
potential of the subject matter, this campaign was aiming at an open
goal from three yards, but even its architects were surprised at the
scale of the success.
The cuttings continue to pour in. LIG’s Catherine Taylor believes that
the company achieved its aim to get the key message across that Durex
is a global brand.
Client and consultants clearly picked a good year with the extra news
opportunities afforded by the Vancouver Aids conference and the Olympic
Games - the real test will be to develop a lasting media relationship,
not just a one-summer fling.