Campaign of the Week

4 February 2020

Condom brand asks parents to help tackle sex drought 

Condom brand galvanises parents of young adults to start a much-needed conversation about sex

According to Australian condom brand Four Seasons Condoms, Australia is experiencing a ‘sex recession’, with young adults having 50% less sex than their parents’ generation. 

To encourage millennials to have more (safe) sex, the brand teamed up with CHE Proximity to launch the Generation Intervention campaign, which urges parents to stage an intervention in their sexually inactive children’s lives and get them talking about sex.

To help them do so, the agency created the Generation Intervention Pack, a limited edition pack of products including an assortment of the brand’s NAKED condoms, massage oil and a deck of 52 ‘Ice Breaker’ cards that offer suggestions about how to ‘open a dialogue with the young person in your life.’

The Generation Intervention pack also includes a leaflet created in collaboration with sexologist Jacqueline Hellyer, which addresses the problems facing today’s young adults and explains why they might not be having sex. For a limited time, Four Seasons Condoms gave away 400 free intervention packs (at the time of writing, the packs are now out of stock).

According to a press release from the agency, the campaign aims to inspire a ‘The Talk 2.0’ - the second instalment of the ‘birds and the bees’ talks parents have with their children when first explaining sex. Once parents have initiated a conversation to better understand the mental and social issues that may be impacting their adult child’s libido, they can hand over the intervention pack and encourage their children to use the contents found within.

The campaign was promoted online via an influencer campaign: Four Seasons Condoms worked with YouTuber and Twitch partner Oren Hipwell, podcaster and comedian Tom Armstrong and popular Australian podcast The Daily Talk Show to stream parents ‘intervening’ in real-time. The videos were shared on Four Seasons Condoms’ social pages.

The intervention packs were also promoted at a popular Australian music festival over New Year’s Eve 2019, where a handful of parents held interventions in the name of sexual health education. CHE Proximity’s PR agency Attention + Influence executed an online and OOH PR campaign to accompany the influencer activation.

Part of this involved a hotline that will be manned by parents who have been trained by sexologist Hellyer. Parents who need help initiating conversations with their adult children, or young adults who are struggling to talk to their parents about sex, can call the number 0400-CONDOM.

Contagious Insight 

Talk to me / For something that, on the face of it, appears to be a humorous gimmick, Four Seasons Condoms’ Generation Intervention campaign actually represents an interesting approach to an interesting challenge. Just as Pedigree’s mission is to encourage more dog ownership to ensure a continuing demand for dog food (read our Pedigree Brand Spotlight from 2015 here), Four Seasons depends on people’s sex lives in order to keep selling condoms. Particularly to young Australian adults, among whom both sexual activity and condom use appear to be in decline: according to the National Debrief Survey, conducted in 2018 in New South Wales, Australia, 69% of Australians aged 15-19 didn't use a condom when having sex with regular partners, and 24% didn't use condoms with casual partners.

Although all the elements of this campaign - the live-streamed interventions, the awkward conversations, the hotline - are humorous, they all acknowledge the seriousness of the issue. ‘The Talk 2.0’ is designed to create an opportunity for honest conversation between parents and their adult children, to both discuss the social and emotional issues that affect libido and remind people of the mental health benefits of a happy, healthy sex life.

Encouraging parents to talk to their children about their sex lives is a distinctly unsexy move, but it signals that Four Seasons Condoms is prepared to step away from cliched ads full of attractive couples and erotic scenes, to address what is truly causing the so-called ‘sex recession’: social pressures and mental health issues.

As Michael Porter, the sales and marketing director at Four Seasons Condoms said in a press release: ‘Young people are facing more barriers to sex than ever before. Increased social media is depriving them of real human connection and usage can contribute to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression.’ 

Different is good / This campaign’s right-on approach to sex might have you thinking it’s a fresh new startup, entering the market as a challenger brand. In fact, Four Seasons Condoms is an established retailer with plenty of campaigns under its belt - and this campaign is right on brand for the company, whose light-hearted campaigns include The Extendables (when the brand created a TV show to distract kids, enabling their parents to have more sex) and a Mardi Gras campaign called ‘Are You Coming?’. wherein actors faked orgasm on camera.

By keeping things fun, honest and upfront, rather than repeat the tactics of other condom brands, Four Seasons Condoms’ offbeat approach may stand a better chance of appealing to its audience of young Australians. Furthermore, the brand made sure its products were trialled by hundreds of people who participated in the campaign and applied for the 400 free Intervention packs: ultimately packaging a sampling campaign into a fun, educational initiative.

This was first published on Contagious I/O, our online intelligence tool. To find out more click here.

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