Safe Sex: There's a Coupon for That

Just in Time for Valentine's Day, Trojan Offers Discounts

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America seems ready to have sex again, and Trojan is there to help with high-value coupons.

The Church & Dwight Co. brand distributed its first newspaper freestanding-insert coupons on Sunday via News Corp.'s SmartSource, with offers ranging from $1 off the Trojan2Go card to $2 off vibrating products.

Better still for the brand, it seemed to get double duty on messaging in the insert. Three pages later came an ad for Cuties mandarin oranges bearing the prominent headline: "Love More. Seed Less."

Any double entendre was strictly coincidental, said Jim Daniels, VP-sexual health for Church & Dwight, though he noted the potential for humor.

Trojan's first foray into coupons is all part of a major Valentine's Day retail promotion, another first for the brand, Mr. Daniels said, amid signs things are looking up for condoms, vibrating products and other "sexual health" accessories. The promotion has included circular-feature and display support at many retailers who "have embraced the program," he said.

Though some other marketers had seen a trend toward "recession sex" last year as people with more time on their hands got frisky, Trojan wasn't seeing things that way.

Apparently, a year ago, any impact from people focusing more on not making babies because of the recession was canceled out by people having less sex all together. Sales were flattish, some consumers were trading down to lower-cost competitors and Trojan's tracking research showed signs of an actual decrease in sexual activity, Mr. Daniels said.

But the most recent four-week period data from Nielsen show a healthy rebound for the category, with sales up 7% from a year ago, and he said sales growth at untracked channels such as Walmart is running about double that.

Not surprisingly, Valentine's Day is one of the key holidays, along with New Year's Eve for the category, Mr. Daniels said. But, like sexual-health rival Johnson & Johnson also discovered, Mr. Daniels has seen that just about any three-day weekend, be it President's Day or Labor Day, tends to produce a sales bump and can be an excuse for consumers spend more time with their significant others and load up on sexual-health products.