Work Debrief - The ad helping people come together

Mick Mahoney explains how Euro RSCG bridges the 'climax gap' in its new campaign for Durex.

Durex is the world's number-one sex brand, with sales of more than half-a-billion dollars. Established in London more than 80 years ago, Durex is not only synonymous with condoms in the UK, but also leads the way in "sexual innovation" and is committed to finding new ways to bring couples even closer together.

The Brief

The brief was to launch Durex's latest product innovation, Performax Intense: a condom designed to help couples be more in-sync during sex. On average, it takes men seven minutes to climax and women 20. It's what we call the climax gap. The creative had a job to do in establishing the insight and setting out the product's key benefits of getting men and women more in-sync.

The Creative Idea

The idea was to showcase the product's "in-sync" properties by drawing on the insight at the heart of the campaign of "slowing him down and speeding her up". This was executed masterfully by featuring turntables with two records playing at different speeds being brought together in perfect sync to the soulful sound of Marvin Gaye.

Rather than have that awkward moment when we find the carpet terribly interesting when confronted with something explicit on our screens, this was a sensitive and witty approach to a potentially awkward subject matter. The simplicity of using a piece of music and the coloured vinyl as a metaphor for the sexes and their differences was a sublime touch.

The idea is an intrinsically social one. We created a social media-led TV campaign. We want couples at any stage of their relationship to be able to interact and play together, and discuss what it means to be in-sync. By using social channels, Durex aims to find the most in- sync couple in the country and share that fact proudly.

The Writing

Essentially, this was the script that was first presented. The team even made it as a crude, yet simple, test film. It was always going to be easier to present that way than by reading the script out. We went through various wording options to get the tone just right. Mercifully, research proved us right in that the consumer didn't want to know about the more "intimate details" of the product. We also considered many other music choices before arriving at Let's Get It On.

The Direction

Si & Ad at Academy shot the film. They brought a simple, stylish graphic approach to the film as well as an authentic way of approaching the techniques involved so that what we see doesn't rely on any cheating but simply a DJ's extraordinary craft.

The Casting

For maximum authenticity, we used a real DJ, Jon Furst, to mix the track in the shoot and also to work closely alongside our sound engineer to get the music and timing just right.

The Media

The "in-sync" campaign combines a powerful and iconic creative with an interactive social media mechanic and an online launch platform. The 50-second creative launched on YouTube on 1 February. The global ad campaign will break in the UK on TV with 40- and 30-second spots during primetime programming on ITV and Channel 4 with its peak TVRs over Valentine's week.

An online social game, "How In-Sync Are You?", will follow in the lead-up to Valentine's Day. It will be available on Facebook to help people be in-sync with their virtual gaming partner. A cross-fader mechanism will determine which partners are in-sync. The game will feature well-known tracks that need slowing down or speeding up to hear them correctly. Couples will need to stay in-sync for ten seconds to prove their virtual connection.

Supporting this is a YouTube takeover, with every pre-roll for a day being our TV spot with a link to our Facebook app. As well as social activity from Durex's Facebook channels, Facebook ads and key influencers, the app will culminate in a massive party at The Box in London's Soho - which our most "in-sync" couples can win tickets to.

Mick Mahoney is the executive creative director at Euro RSCG London.

Creatives: Fabio Abram, Braulio Kuwabara
Creative directors: Mick Mahoney, Brendan Wilkins
Directors: Si & Ad, Academy
Producer: Katy Dell
Planner: Yelena Gaufman
Account director: David Kennedy
Sound engineer: Jack Sedgwick, Wave