Cannes Lions

Durex Celebrations

HAVAS , Dubai / DUREX / 2019

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The creative challenge was to make Durex part of the conversation in a country that doesn’t allow mentions of sex, showing skin, or even suggestive glances. You could easily be banned.

For the first time in history, four Arab countries would play in the 2018 World Cup: Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. It became the major topic of conversation in the region - and a one-off opportunity for us to engage with Saudi men.

As Saudis index among the highest to spend time online, (more than Brazil, US, UK or China), social media was the obvious place to start.

Even better, social platforms offered a single click through to e.commerce - a potentially new sales channel that would take away the taboo of buying condoms in store. (A serious problem in a conservative country.)


New data showed that nine months after every major sports event there's a fans celebrate with sex.

Hence the rocketing number of Ronaldos in Brazil after the 2002 World Cup, the jump in Gylfis in Iceland after Euro 2016. Celebration is aphrodisiac.

During the 2018 World Cup, therefore, Durex invited fans across Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to celebrate every football moment with great sex. Not just the victories, but the long distance strikes, the over-acting, quick goals, red cards, extra time, etc.

These "calls to celebrate" took the form of new condom foil designs with cheeky new names -approved in real time by the client, creative and media - appearing online during the most important moments of the competition.


Durex core target in Saudi Arabia is male, older than 25 years, indexing high use of digital tech - among the highest nationalities spending time online.

Mobile is King and Social Media is Queen (on average they spend 3h35m daily on their phones, out of which 2h39m on social platforms). 77% state they recently used their smartphones while watching TV and Twitter is their choice for secondary screening and the go-to social-platform for discussing and sharing real-time content.

Saudis also love football. It's their national game. The players are national heroes.

So, the World Cup offered the perfect stage to connect the dots:

(1) men, older than 25

(2) Saudi social and digital savviness

(3) Saudi love for football

(4) their choice for secondary screening


Implementation: Like in football, reaction speed was critical. A mini creative hub was set up in a local sports TV bar. Arabic and English writers and designers worked LIVE through every match, creating posts for immediate approval by the client and legal before posting by media on Twitter. By the final, this process was streamlined to less than two minutes from finishing the idea to appearance online.

Timeline: Luckily the first match featured local side Saudi Arabia against hosts Russia - giving Durex high engagement from the start through the other 63 matches - from June 14th to July 15th.

Placement: 64 Tweets were developed during the month of the World Cup, 20 of which were sponsored in the games with the highest viewership.

Scale: The campaign aired throughout the Middle East during the month of the event.


* The engagement rate smashed Twitter's benchmarks by over 900%.

* E.commerce sales rocketed by 250% over the same period a year before; and 110% over the previous campaign (Valentine's Day, a traditional peak of e-commerce sales in the region).

* 80% more leads to e-commerce were generated at a cost per lead 12% smaller (versus the previous campaign - Valentines Day).

* Even offline retail sales jumped by an 28%

* The organic follower base tripled making @DurexArabia the fastest growing Durex site globally.

* All the special "World Cup Celebration" packs sold out.

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