Working in new ways in the fast-changing digital environment can be liberating, exciting and a little scary – a bit like the best sex. 

May 2015

At Durex, we don’t have it all figured out when it comes to digital marketing, but our recent #Connect campaign has shown us that we can exceed even the most daunting targets if we are brave, collaborative and true to our brand values. 

Why bravery? Because that is what it takes to see a trend disrupting your category, but instead of watching it happen, you decide to tackle it head on. If there is a trend arising that is counter to what your brand stands for, you must take action. For us, any enemy of sex is an enemy of Durex. 

At the heart of the campaign was the insight that technology was having a negative impact on our sex lives and relationships. We uncovered some astonishing facts: 75% of people use a phone when they are having a meal with their partners, 40% think technology has a negative impact on their relationships and 30% are distracted by technology when they are being intimate. To sum it up, we touch our phones more than our partners. 

This insight led us to create our first successful campaign linked to Earth Hour, which gave us the perfect platform to say “Turn Off To Turn On.” But could success be repeated? This time, we wanted to create a campaign that would become a core platform for the brand and inspire real behaviour change. 

We wanted to flip the previous year’s approach by focusing on the question ‘What if we use mobile technology to bring couples closer together rather than drive them apart?’ When Havas Worldwide shared the campaign idea with us, it was love at first sight. But the complexity of the digital ecosystem meant collaboration between the brand team and creative, PR, social and media agencies for superior execution. We chose YouTube as the core platform for the #Connect campaign for several reasons: 

  • Evergreen content: we wanted the ‘big reveal’ at the heart of the campaign to be associated with Durex for the long term and YouTube (as well as search) allows content to live forever. 
  • Be heard: to be part of the cultural conversation we needed a video platform where our target consumer was used to engaging with long form content. 
  • Global reach: for a campaign launching in 60 countries, we needed a centralised platform that would host the main video, but could be simultaneously translated via subtitles into 25 different languages. 
  • Audience: YouTube offered an effective way to reach our demographic and psychographic consumer targets. 

The #Connect campaign struck a universal chord in 228 countries and achieved results far beyond our original ambitious targets. We achieved 3.9 billion campaign impressions, of which 88% were earned, 62 million YouTube views and claimed the top spot as the most watched viral ad in the world for three weeks in a row. 

But to be meaningful, those metrics needed to translate to key brand KPIs. Nielsen research showed our Brand Likeability went up 2000 basis points (from an already high starting point!), Brand Recommendation increased 1900 points and Purchase Intent went up by 2000 points… and most importantly, it inspired consumers to connect more with their partners, up 1500 points. 

We learnt some important truths through the #Connect campaign journey: 

  • Be brave. If a trend arises that is counter to what your brand stands for, do something! 
  • If your targets don’t scare you, you’re not being ambitious enough. Scary targets will motivate you to think differently. 
  • In the modern, complex, digital landscape, multi-agency collaboration is vital to execution. 
  • Ensure you are set up to optimise opportunities and interact in real-time with your audience. We set up our first campaign ‘war room’ to do just that. 
  • All of the above won’t mean much if it doesn’t impact your brand. Set clear KPIs in advance, and leverage available tools to measure your performance against them. 

And finally, go beyond a consumer insight to a human one – the campaign was never consumer tested before it launched, because it was based on a human insight and moved us too. At Durex, we believe that if we don’t want to share or promote the content ourselves, “consumers” won’t either.

To hear more about the #Connect campaign please watch my presentation below.