McCann-Erickson is courting controversy with some of the most explicit
advertising yet for Durex condoms.
The agency admits it is risking censure with a national magazine
campaign for the Select 3 fruit-flavoured range. All the ads in the
campaign are based on the image of a hand holding a penis.
In one ad, a banana substitutes for an erect member with the banana skin
forming the ‘fingers’. In another, a strawberry is given the suggestive
The ads, which will be booked in women’s and men’s magazines as well as
youth and specialist titles, support the launch of strawberry-, banana-
and orange-flavoured condoms, with an ice-mint version to follow.
They reflect an increasingly bold approach by Durex’s manufacturer, LIG,
in the face of intensified competition within the pounds 122 million UK
condom market, in which the Durex brand name was once the generic.
But McCanns claims that while the ads, written by Chris McDonald and art
directed by Matt Statham, extend the creative boundaries, they are not
Sharon Gallacher, the agency’s account director on Durex, said: ‘This
isn’t shock advertising in the mould of Benetton, although I’m sure
we’ll get some complaints.’
She added: ‘Shown out of context, I’m sure the ads would provoke a
strong reaction. But they are not being run in magazines with an older
and more conservative readership.’
The reason for the creative approach, Gallacher said, was because the
new products were targeted at 16- to 30-year-olds. A different style
would continue to be used for other Durex products aimed at more mature
The media strategy was devised by McCanns and its media dependant,
Universal McCann, which also bought the campaign.