Durex Condom Emergency

Another campaign gone wrong: Durex SOS Condoms.

In a recent attempt to increase Durex’s social media presence, the company launched an app on the App store. The app asked Facebook users which city they believe should get Durex SOS Condoms, a rush service which delivers condoms to those in need. Durex even promises to deliver it in a “discrete” and professional way.

The campaign went faulty when Durex failed to give the voters a predetermined list of cities to choose from. Instead, they let voters choose themselves, causing the leading “city” with the most votes to be “Batman.”

Although some people found the prank funny, others were upset. Durex accepted the fact that the campaign had been hijacked, and decided that the best decision was to close it down and move on.

In my opinion, Durex could have easily avoided this issue. They should have expected that launching a campaign with user generated content requires strong monitoring. They could have continued with the campaign, choosing the next best response that was a legit city. Better yet, a predetermined list of cities that the users could select from would have avoided this issue completely.

Do you think Durex handled the situation well? Was shutting down the campaign the best strategic decision?
Do you think the app would have been a success? Or do you think Durex was promising too much?


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7 thoughts on “Durex Condom Emergency

  1. This is too funny! I had no idea they tried something like that. Also I like the premise for your blog ad campaignes are almost always fun subjects.

    • obeverett says:

      Thanks for checking out my blog!
      It was a pretty risky move for Durex and the campaign was quickly dropped after it was hijacked so I don’t think it really had a chance to make an impression on people!

  2. Stephen Kowalski says:

    Unfortunately this isn’t the first time this sort of web voting prank has been played against a companies online campaign, which makes Durex’s blunder all the more embarassing.

    I don’t know if you remember but last year a company held an online vote to send Pitbull to any Wal-Mart in the United States. A simple marketing campaign that aimed to get people involved through a web platform ended up the target of some major trolling which resulted in Pitbull’s Wal-mart appearance being in Anchorage, Alaska. By a huge margin too. To recover from this marketing slip up, Pitbull actually went to Anchorage and made an appearance.
    (Source: http://gawker.com/5930334/in-victory-for-the-internet-pitbull-visits-alaska-receives-gift-of-bear-spray)

    Do I think Durex did the right thing by shutting it down? No, they let the mob win and let a great opportunity for a tongue and cheek response to a hiccup in their campaign. That response could not only have saved face but allowed them to slingshot themselves out of a bad situation.

    Hopefully more conpanies take these sort of attacks into account before making campaigns like this in the future!

    • obeverett says:

      That’s really funny! I haven’t heard of the Walmart-Pitbull campaign before you mentioned it. Its awesome that Pitbull actually went along with going to Alaska instead of, as you said, letting the mob win. I guess Durex couldn’t really do the same since Batman isn’t an actual place, but I agree with you that companies need to consider this for future campaigns!

  3. They could have asked people to submit a zip code instead

    • obeverett says:

      I never thought of that. That would be an easy solution to avoid any pranks. I wonder if it would generate the same amount of engagement using zip code instead of cities?

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