Durex takes softer line with refresh by Elmwood

Durex this week unveils a refreshed identity and packaging, as part of a bid to reposition the brand globally as a sexual ‘wellbeing’ product range.

Repositioning work, previously undertaken by Jones Knowles Ritchie, was picked up by Elmwood when Durex head of global marketing Mark Critchley approached the consultancy in January 2006.

Simon Preece, account director at Elmwood, explains that the need to sustain growth was one of the motivations behind the latest project.

‘When you’re the number one condom brand in most regions [of the world], it’s hard to have sustainable growth. It’s a case of “Where do you go from here?”, says Preece. ‘And, as most of the consumer base gets older and goesthrough different life stages, there’s a continual [process of] youth recruitment, which is not really sustainable.’

Armed with in-depth research from a global survey of 26 000 people on sexual health, Durex is planning a shift away from its perception as a clinical, masculine and functional brand, towards being more about approachability, confidence, choice and freedom.

‘There’s no one else in the market delivering in this holistic way. The idea is to create a whole sexual wellbeing category,’ says Preece.

Elmwood was tasked with strengthening on-shelf visibility, as well as with refining and softening the logo to give it a more unisex appeal.

The consultancy has softened the structure of the identity, using bigger on-pack colourways, while creating a series of information icons and changing the tone of voice.

‘The tone of voice previously was quite euphemistic, so, to make it more approachable, we replaced words like “intercourse” with “sex”, and, for the lubricants, instead of saying “Massage into erogenous zones”, it now says “Massage into wherever turns you on”,’ says Preece.

Elmwood has also tweaked existing packaging, giving the product a tighter cellophane wrap. Preece explains that this not only looks better under store lighting, but also overcomes psychological nuances and communicates the idea of a betterfitting and higher-quality product.

The branding, for which a series of guidelines has also been produced by Elmwood, will be applied to website, advertising and communications across 160 countries.

Durex’s future plans include focusing on new products and range extensions to support the new positioning, including lubricants and its range of vibrators designed by Seymour Powell.

Elmwood is to continue its strategic work with the brand in segmenting and positioning these ranges.

• Durex has been manufacturing condoms for 80 years and has been involved in the Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey for more than ten years
• The idea of the repositioning is to ensure that there is a product in the Durex portfolio that appeals to all ages, life stages and lifestyles
• 60% of 16- to 19-year-olds rely on condoms for contraception.
This figure drops to 20% among 45-year-olds

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