Condom Maker Rewards Loyal Users

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The embarrassment that college students sometimes experience when they go to the drug store to buy condoms soon could be a thing of the past. Instead, a new marketing campaign by manufacturer Durex hopes to have them thinking about the big-screen TV or the spring break trip they could get by earning "Condom Cash" points.


Durex Consumer Products, Norcross, GA, launched its Condom Cash brand loyalty program this year on nearly 50 college campuses across the country. Students earn points to be redeemed for merchandise by purchasing the company's products. Durex, the No. 2 condom retailer in the country, targeted fraternities and sororities at such big-name schools as Brown University and Indiana University but said other school organizations also have enrolled in the program.


Durex said it is aiming to generate brand awareness and brand loyalty and promote responsible sexual behavior.


"We are establishing a good relationship with college students," said Jim Cowsert, brand manager for Durex Consumer Products. "We are providing sexual education material to them, promoting responsible sexual behavior. At the same time, we are awarding product purchasers."


Cowsert said Americans spent $250 million dollars on condoms last year. And the college market is a lucrative one. Eric Weil, publisher of Collegiate Trends and the Student Monitor, Ridgewood, NJ, a nationally syndicated market research study of the college student market, said full-time four-year college students spend almost $10 billion a year.


"It's important to try and create brand loyalty between yourself and this age group," he said. "They're out on their own living independently of their parents, making their own choices. If you give them an opportunity to use your product and they like it, then you have yourself a new user."


The pilot program will last until the end of the year. Durex's decision on whether to continue will be based on the results.


"So far, the response we have gotten back from the fraternities and sororities has been fabulous," Cowsert said. "We don't have an official number on the total amount of fraternities and sororities that have signed up because it keeps growing."


Durex originally sent 2,750 sampling kits to fraternities and sororities at many large schools around the country, including Oregon State University, the University of Southern California, Florida State University and Syracuse University. The kits included 12 dozen condoms, a blue moose-head condom holder, literature on safe sex, the Condom Cash product purchaser catalog, T-shirt, door hangers and a poster.


Students can join the program by registering online at www.durex.com/moose or by filling out the registration form with the sampling kit. By purchasing Durex Sheik products, participants can earn points toward prizes either on their own or in groups.


Prizes include Frisbees, apparel featuring the Durex logo, a big-screen television, a camcorder, a pool table and a spring-break trip for 50 to Panama City, FL. Although the trip may be truly unattainable -- it requires 1.5 million points, or more than 900,000 condoms -- the big-screen TV requires 35,000 points, or slightly more than 21,000 condoms.
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