February 20th, 2021

Humans are designed to believe.

Believe in God, believe in politics, believe in our future, believe in our skills, believe in our success, believe in us and in others. We are designed to believe in better and greater than us, that we are not alone and that we can hope for change.

Currently, our will to believe is being challenged to its extreme because of the unstable world we evolve in, so hope for better is needed and expected now more than ever. It is expected from our peers, from what we watch, what we listen to, what we do, and ultimately from the brands that we consume. This is why brand responsibility is now the most important factor that founders and employees need to focus on. 

One brand that has recently embraced this responsibility to keep us believing is Durex, one of the most recognisable and sold brands of condoms around the world, with a 30% share of the global market. 

Credit: Design Bridge

First established in 1915 as the London Rubber Company, the name Durex (which is not to be confused with Dulux unless you’re ready for an awkward conversation), first came into play in 1929, standing for “Durability, Reliability, and Excellence”, words that the brand has proudly stood for, for over 90 years.

As a condom brand, Durex automatically has a responsibility to their customers. Their product is quite literally made to help make sex safe, as a form of contraception as well as protection against STD’s. However Durex’s responsibility goes further than just this.

A truly responsible brand is one that knows how to listen and to adapt but also takes full ownership of the impact they have on its users and society, and this is exactly what Durex has done. 

In February 2020, Durex released a rebrand by Havas and Design Bridge, which was based on insights from their 2017 global sex survey. In this survey, they interrogated 29,000 adults about the way they think and feel about sex, and what impact it has on the rest of their lives. The survey revealed a landscape of confusion and change regarding sexual attitudes. While the internet has brought openness and access, the survey found an “underlying sexual anxiousness”, which it concluded was largely driven by unrealistic representations of sex throughout culture and by Durex too.

Credit: Design Bridge

Those insights led to a new positioning as ‘a mainstream activist’ against stigmas and taboos and showcasing the positive reality of sex.

Their newfound purpose led to actions on their website, which included educational videos and articles about safe sex and the answering of lots of taboo questions, as well as actions in their campaigns, which can be seen in their latest ‘Let’s not go back to normal’ campaign.

Credit: Durex

The campaign questions our new reality, we are now living in a world where we are more conscious than ever about hygiene, and COVID-19 has encouraged us to think differently about how we intend on protecting ourselves and others. Although some countries have eased lockdown restrictions and people look toward some normality, Durex is encouraging people NOT to go back to normal – because normal wasn’t good enough.

The campaign encourages us to learn from our past mistakes and to change the ‘norms’ that we are so used to; say no to shaming women who carry condoms and say no to men not wearing them because they don’t like the ‘feel’, so we can all live a better life (and have better sex of course). 

Beyond the marketing aspect of the video, the ad also succeeds brilliantly in capturing the spirit of renewal that has been hovering on the planet lately, by showing the many faces of love. Whether they are straight, lesbian, gay, on a couch, in the street, or in bed: we see couples caressing, cuddling, or hugging. In short, couples who love each other.

What is inspiring and powerful about what Durex is doing now, is that they understood perfectly what their users needed from them: to guide them, support them, and most importantly keep them believing. Ultimately this is what brand responsibility is about, it is about listening to your audience to understand them better. This is why we need brands, such as Durex, to lead the way, which means being bold and committed, it means standing up when it’s needed, and not being afraid to say the truth. We need brands to be the best version of ourselves, the ones we hope to be, to keep us believing that better is always possible.

Written by Alice Auxenfans, Brand Strategist and Creative Mind.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image, however if you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at rb@hatchedlondon.com.