Creative impulse

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The Independent Online
McCann-Erickson is courting controversy with its daring new pounds 2m print campaign for Durex condoms. The ads, for the Select 3 fruit-flavoured range, all feature suggestively photographed pieces of fruit: in one, a peeled banana stands in for an erect penis, with the skin forming a hand, and in the others an orange and a strawberry are given similar treatment. The ads will run for four months in men's and women's magazines, as well as youth and specialist titles, and are aimed at the 16-30 age-group.

The client: Durex

Debbie Zadeh, brand manager

As well as having a humorous appeal, we hope these adverts will help to reinforce the safer sex message in a fun and imaginative way. They are suggestive, but will appeal to adults who can appreciate the humour and the message behind it. We are also being very selective in choosing where the adverts should appear.

The agency: McCann-Erickson

Jerry Green, executive creative director

Durex Select is a name that covers the brand's coloured, flavoured and ribbed condoms, but we decided to focus on the flavoured ones, as that gave us more to work with. It is sexual imagery, but then again, all we're actually showing on the page is a banana, an orange and a strawberry with a hand. Sex is far more impactful as a marketing tool if it is suggested rather than made explicit, though these ads don't require a big leap of the imagination.

But we wouldn't put these images on posters: posters are a broadcast medium, and the client was right to want to be discreet in buying media space. Think of the furore over the recent advert for Gossard bras, with the woman in her underwear, which the public thought was in very poor taste. We're aiming, like any good campaign should, squarely at our target audience through the appropriate media, and therefore we don't expect any complaints. There haven't been any so far, but then I don't think anyone can take offence at seeing pictures of fruit.

The overall tone of voice is playful: these are condoms for playful people. This product is not for the once-a-month brigade, who see sex as a chore - sex is fun, isn't it?

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