One thing to keep in mind when looking at this ad is that it wasn’t made for an American audience.
The Durex condom advertisement runs in India and promotes a birth control/STD barrier that is so thin it could leave a woman questioning whether a condom was used or not—as shown.
In the cultural subtext of India, sex is not discussed nearly as openly as it is here in the Western world, so the idea is that a man and woman probably wouldn’t talk to each other about protection but if the woman happened to see the condom wrapper, box, etc. she’d be pleasantly surprised to learn he used one, despite the fact that it wasn’t detectible.
Durex group manager for marketing and branding Vishal Vyas told Audience Matters, explained, “There is still a lack of education as sex is a taboo topic in India. People are opening up and talking about it as family planning, and sexually transmitted diseases have become major issues. We are and will always aim to spread the message of safe and responsible sex.”
Still a few sites—albeit American—have knocked the ad, saying pregnancy and STDs are not pleasant surprises any woman wants to receive and that there’s nothing cute about not knowing whether you’ve put yourself at risk for any of the above.
At the very least, the ad is clever in marketing the ultra-thinness of it’s product, but in a culture where people aren’t talking about something that they should in order to protect their sexual and reproductive health, I don’t think think giving them more reasons not to talk about it is the best route. But at the end of the day, sex education isn’t Durex’s job, they want to sell a product that gives people a feeling of security without the feeling of latex, and that’s what this does.
Do you think the ad sends the wrong message? Could it ever work in the United States?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.