CAMPAIGNS: PUBLIC AWARENESS; Durex has a long, hard look at sex

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 Budget: Undisclosed

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

Budget: Undisclosed

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

PR agencies.

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.

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