Cannes Lions

Durex Speak-Up

ZENITH, Bucharest / DUREX / 2023

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Leading condom manufacturer Durex launched a global initiative encouraging consumers to “Speak-Up” against lame excuses for not using condoms. The initiative included a toolkit of assets created to work in most major markets.

But Romania is different.

Romania is one of eight EU countries without a sexual health education strategy. Sex is taboo. Young Romanians have no forum for discussing safe sex. Unsurprisingly, Romania has some of the highest teen pregnancy and STI rates within Europe.

43% don’t use condoms, believing they stand in the way of good sex

29% dislike the sensation

22% think it reduces pleasure


• Solidify Durex’s #1 position, halt a loss of sales to private label. Durex/private label ratio < 50 %; + 5 % Value share; +2 % Volume Share

• With a total budget less than GBP 70k for media activation, fees, production and content for six months


Durex’s global campaign was hard-hitting and informative.

The message was important and relevant, as was the truth that people make excuses not to use condoms. But research told us that the way it was delivered was wrong for Romania.

Even when it came to news stories, we knew from SNA/SATI data that Romanians prefer satirical headlines to ‘straight’ ones. We also knew that poking fun at typologies (cougars, corporate guy, nosey neighbor, school nerd, social butterfly, …) is a key feature of Romanian humor.

Budget for local work was extremely limited. But we had an existing relationship with sketch comedy group Ceva Marunt.

We worked with them to develop a localized campaign to reframe consumers’ attitudes, delivering important sexual health messages through the medium of embarrassingly awkward excuses given by local stereotypical characters in a way that might be considered tasteless, offensive or cynical. But also very funny.


Building on Hofstede insights, the comedians brought 25 local stereotypes to life through “funny because it’s true” interviews focusing on lame excuses not to wear a condom.

Knowing that a person’s likelihood to wear a condom is influenced by their lifestyle, education and profession, we created stereotypical characters with their own verbal and sartorial cliches, which continuously fueled a pipeline of new jokes to keep consumers engaged.

The characters ranged from hardcore tech nerds and taxi drivers to Romania’s ‘national symbol,’ Dracula (“Not even the 1504 plague killed me!”).

Using Facebook, TikTok and YouTube, videos were promoted during key marketing moments – i.e. back-to-school (nerd), Halloween (Dracula), festivals (rocker girl), etc. Each engaged and educated our audience on the importance of condoms.

All content drove attention to quality sexual protection and why it matters. The videos were also used as a landing page for leading e-retailer Emag to drive ecommerce.


The campaign…

Was a hit with consumers:

• 22 videos delivered +37M views across platforms, reaching +90% of target

Delivered extraordinary value for money:

• Obtained similar awareness/correct attribution per ad vs. global toolkit TVC, but budget wise we spent 86% less

• 9x lower cost-per-awareness vs. global assets; 13x lower cost-per-correct-attribution

Drove business results:

• Increased Durex value sales 9%

• Increased volume share 4 % vs. 2021

• Ecommerce sales doubled versus 2021

• 67% market share, highest in three years, recovering shares lost to cheaper options during Covid

• Increased number of protected sexual occasions by 17% (vs. 10% planned)

Reduced sales of rivals:

• Private label sales volume fell by 30%, convincing consumers that when it comes to health, they don’t need to compromise quality or costs

We didn’t play it safe. We think the only place for “safe” is when it comes to sex.

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2023, DUREX

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