Durex creates global buzz and stimulates cultural conversation on YouTube

July 2015

Durex has been studying sex for a number of years. Recently, consumer research produced a concerning insight: people today are having 20% less sex than in 2000. Durex decided to run a global brand campaign to initiate a cultural conversation to try and tackle this issue, with the aim of creating a positive impact on our personal relationships.


Ran global campaign on YouTube

Optimised in real time using TrueView ad format

Adjusted bids, budgets and targeting to maximise campaign effectiveness


Start a cultural conversation across 60 countries in 25 languages

Beat cost-per-view benchmarks

Increase in brand perception and purchase intent


62 million video views on YouTube

33% lower cost per view than benchmarks

2,000 basis point increases in brand perception and purchase intent according to a Nielsen brand effect study

"People spend more time with technology than with each other and on average we touch our phones more than we touch our partners," reveals Ukonwa Ojo, Head of Global Brand Equity for Durex and KY. "As the number one sexual wellbeing brand in the world, any enemy of sex is an enemy of Durex. We wanted to inspire couples to spend more time with each other."

Closer connections through YouTube

Achieving scale at speed was a central requirement of the campaign: the objective was to reach people across 60 countries in 25 languages. Durex knew that over 1 billion searches on sexual health take place on YouTube every year. Combined with the fact that the target audience was spending more time watching YouTube compared to traditional broadcast channels, Durex realised that YouTube would be crucial to creating a strong brand presence.

"To change a behaviour we needed a platform that encourages conversation and engagement, rather than merely broadcasts our message," Ukonwa says. "We wanted our content to be discoverable long after the campaign had finished. Every video helps discoverability on YouTube, as well as Google search."Once the team identified YouTube as the ideal home for the campaign, they set a challenging goal to achieve 50 million video views while beating an ambitious cost-per-view target. The creative idea was to construct a hoax together with tech entrepreneur Susie Lee of Siren Dating App to highlight our tendency to let technology get in the way of intimacy. In this way, couples would be encouraged to "óturn off to turn on'.

Durex announced that it was working on a smartphone technology to help bring couples closer together. In the brand's successful viral video, tech entrepreneur Susie Lee revealed the secret to a better relationship: the off button.

Relationships require work

Durex used TrueView, one of YouTube's video ad formats. Thanks to TrueView's real-time optimisation opportunities, the team could analyse results on an hourly basis and adjust bids and budgets accordingly. They also optimised using audience targeting, starting broadly and then focusing on the best performing ones. "This enabled us to pick up very quickly one learning from a market and transfer it to another before the campaign really even launched there," explains Joanna Krzeczunowicz, Reckitt Benckiser's Global Media Manager. "That was absolute gold dust for us."

Using TrueView meant that the brand only paid for engaged video views. "Our creative was heavily conversational, so it was key that we only paid for the viewers who were truly familiarised with the context of our brand message," Ukonwa says. "Furthermore, every paid view generated by TrueView added to the video counter, helping the video get visible scale, which was important for the press to judge whether this was indeed a big idea that people engaged with."

Spreading the love-globally

The Durex campaign outperformed all expectations and won significant attention from both consumers and the press. Overall the YouTube ads achieved 62 million video views across 228 countries (exceeding the ambitious 50 million goal) and 3.9 billion impressions _ double the target. The campaign generated 3.2 billion press impressions, enabled by the TrueView campaign and public view counter, while a Nielsen brand effect study showed 2,000 basis point increases in brand perception and purchase intent. All this came at impressive cost efficiency, with Durex achieving 33% lower cost per view than benchmarks.

When you tell the story in an interesting way, you can get people to watch branded content that's almost four minutes long. That's uniquely different to traditional media.

-Ukonwa Ojo, Head of Global Brand Equity, Durex and KY

"We knew that it would be an engaging story and not one that we could tell in 15 to 30 seconds," Ukonwa observes. "So that's I think where the uniqueness of the platform really comes to life: not only can you tell that very complicated, lengthy story, but you can tell that complicated, lengthy story in 25 languages in 60 countries. And that starts to get you to a place where there really is only one platform right now where you can do that, and that's YouTube."

Building a brand in an age of hyper-targeted messaging