When it comes to sexual health and safety, the line that is usually taken in advocating for wearing condoms involves the risk of contracting STDs, including HIV. Yet a recent Durex ad takes a different approach, warning couples against the pitfalls of unplanned pregnancy. The message of the ad is that a careless quickie after a night on the town could result in a bundle of misfortune, rather than joy.
The video shows the wreckage of a particularly messy play-date, a child spilling a burning hot beverage on his dad’s crotch, and more painful moments. The tagline of the ad is ‘protect yourself’, implying not only the protection against unwanted pregnancies which condoms provide, but also the long-term protection from accidental second-degree burns and destroyed golf clubs that is also provided by having safe sex.
Four years ago Durex had a massive YouTube hit with its ad ‘Get it On’ – a short animation featuring balloon animals made out of condoms. The condom brand has found all kinds of ways to market its products, not least the recent ‘Academy of Love’ in Venice which promised a handful of chosen couples from around the world an education in how to have fulfilling sex.
There was also this banned commercial, which took a similar approach to the recent Durex ad in showing a frustrated father having a stand-off with his son in a supermarket, over a bag of sweets. The idea is that men should think carefully about what being a parent entails. What ads such as these don’t consider is that many accidental fathers don’t stick around. A comment made by one YouTube user – on the ad featuring the supermarket tantrum – says it all: ‘I would’ve just left him in the store and never looked back’.
There have been many approaches to condom marketing – from ads scaring people with the horrors of serious STDs to those showing the downside of ‘accidentally’ having children. But besides calls to use existing forms of protection, there has also been a drive recently for the development of a condom that heightens sexual pleasure – earlier this year, Bill Gates reportedly put out a $100, 000 reward for an innovative (and safe) design overhaul.
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