A different take on advertising… condoms.

Ok, be honest. You half expected the Durex shagging balloon animals to be here, right?

Condom ads. Its funny when you get a category that’s so tightly defined that you only ever see one of two types of ads: ads that use sexual humour, or ads that use screaming babies to chill and terrify you. Cause that’s what the product is all about, right? What else is there?

Which is why I find this Japanese campaign so damn interesting. It attacks the problem in a completely different way.


The story is simple – a young couple living in two separate cities has an argument. Separated by distance (over 1,000 kms), they start running to meet each other to prove their love. The distance between them is mentioned in millimetres, that count down as they get closer and closer. The ad finishes on 0.02 millimetres – the thinness of the condom.

It makes a link between physical and emotional closeness. And here’s the weird thing – it’s actually kind of… I’m searching for a better word here, but can’t find one – romantic? Suddenly other ads in the category start to look like cheap jokes by comparison, like schoolkids giggling abut something taboo. Maybe screaming babies and shagging are just such obvious places to look that it left another territory – relationships, love etc, wide open.

I’m not sure about every aspect of the execution of this – like, the whole “it was a documentary then we revealed it was an ad” thing – its a bit hard to see how the mechanics would have played out. I’m really just seeing what’s live on the site now, which plays like an awards video. But even as a piece of footage, I love the simplicity of the millimeters counting down between the two lovers. And the tone of the whole thing.

Sometimes it really pays to find a different – but totally relevant – space around a product.

Stumbled on in the sidebar of the FWA.


2 Responses to “A different take on advertising… condoms.”

  1. 2 dL May 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I like the idea and your précis enough to not bother with the execution.
    More than that that, I enjoyed your use of the word ‘thinness’ regarding the rubber johnny.

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