Durex, long the distant No. 2 to Trojan in condoms, has a plan for closing the gap by getting couples "in sync," including by means of a new Facebook app that helps them find the perfect love song based on their lovemaking styles.
It's all part of a new Durex Performax range of products designed by Reckitt Benckiser -- whose global brands also include Bang, Finish and Vanish -- "to speed her up and slow him down." Behind the launch, Durex is putting its biggest U.S. marketing budget ever, tripling spending to around $15 million this year behind a campaign that includes heavy doses of digital and social media along with radio, PR and product placement. By contrast, Church & Dwight spent around $34 million last year on Trojan, according to Kantar Media.
The Durex In-Sync Song Generator, created by Iris Worldwide, New York, for the Reckitt-Benckiser brand, asks a series of questions about preferences for time of day in lovemaking as well as how varied, energetic and loud one's routine is . Then, it has the user send a request to his or her partner on Facebook to complete the survey, or has the partner fill in the questions at the same time if in the same place.
For a couple identified as "Romantic & Racy" -- based on input suggesting one "tends to get eager in the evening, while the other likes to get naughty at night" -- the generator selected a song with "titillating tempo and a sensuous sound." That's Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes."
What does all this have to do with selling condoms?
"In the U.S., there's a group of consumers that 's kind of been forgotten about," said Kevin Harshaw, personal-care marketing director for RB. "These are the lovers. ... The whole Durex vision going forward is to become the sexual well-being brand of choice for lovers age 25 to 39.
To that end comes a "suite of products" to get them in sync.
One is a condom that , as Mr. Harshaw described it, "to speed her up, has extra ribs and dots for added sensation. And to slow him down it actually has a climax-delay lubricant on the inside. So there are actually technology features in it designed for the first time in one condom. "
If that 's not enough, Durex presents the "Ring of Bliss, uniquely designed to hit the spot for her," Mr. Harshaw said, with "a feathered design. "
Other elements of the marketing from Havas' BETC-Euro-RSCG' class='directory_entry' title='Ad Age LookBook '>Euro RSCG and Lippe Taylor, both New York, also include online video and banners, radio ads and extensive PR. Durex will still lag Church & Dwight's category heavyweight Trojan in share of voice, Mr. Harshaw said, but it will be a closer race than in the past.
That included a launch party with Ice T and Coco with a Facebook contest and Twitter party that , all told, garnered 4 million impressions.
Durex has only a 15% share to Trojan's 69% in the $430 million condom market, according to SymphonyIRI. And while Durex's share has been "flat to down" since RB acquired it in late 2010, Mr. Harshaw said this is the first year the company really has had a chance to put its plan to work.
"What we're focusing on really is a true need in the marketplace," he said, "and then we're coming with true innovation for that target group."