Taiwan is one of the more liberal countries in Asia. In a market of 23 million people there are 4,000 magazine publishers, seven 24-hour national news channels (compared to 3 in the UK) and even in towns outside the larger cities 24 hour internet cafes are a common site.
Yet despite this apparent liberalism, certain aspects of culture are still steeped in tradition. For all their hunger for information, there are some subjects that are still discussed with embarrassment in public. As usual, one of these topics is safe sex.
Safe sex barrier
For a brand like Durex this is poses a significant problem when it wants to launch a sampling campaign. Sampling staff in the street were ignored and avoided by members of the public as they attempted to distribute sample packs of Durex condoms.
Durex need a way to engage with consumers, particularly the younger demographic who were just becoming sexually active.
Taiwan, like many Asian countries, has a tradition of fortune telling and a fascination of divination techniques. Street fortune tellers are common and there are many different fortune telling practices that are held in high regard for their accuracy and popularity.
Durex decided the best way to have the condom conversation was to frame it as part of a prediction for their future love life. Instead of using an army of samplers, Durex created a non-branded fortune telling automaton that dispensed love life predictions at the touch of a button, and christened her Xerud (Durex reversed).
Xerud toured bars and clubs and karaoke venues in Taiwan. When users received their prediction, upon opening it contained a sample Durex condom and a message. One example prediction reads: "In a relationship it is vital to just be your free self. Don't worry. With Durex your romantic undertakings are in safe hands... For more predictions go to durexfu.com.tw of look for Xerud on Facebook."
The campaign was supported with TVC, print/online ads, online predictions, a Facebook page and in-store POSM.
The average distribution rate for one durex street promoter was 23 samples per hour. Xerud averaged 77 samples per hour.
Conversations on Xerud's Facebook page indicate that some individuals had overcome their inhibitions in discussing safe sex.
4% increase in Durex sales volume.
Durex market share reached an historic high in February 2011 with 54.7%
Xerud's Facebook page
Durex Taiwan page
Why is this on Cream? Innovation doesn't happen very often in product sampling, but this cleverly targeted idea from Durex and Ogilvy was brilliantly executed and dealt neatly with local cultural attitudes.