Update: Within the first week of the ad campaign, LifeStyles reported that it received 16,000 requests for a free condom in response to an offer on its Facebook page.
“Love sex. Hate condoms. Love SKYN,” reads a poster ad for Lifestyle Skyn condoms featuring a sensual woman in a bedroom pose.
At the Metropolitan Pavilion – one of several venues for New York Fashion Week – three leggy models stood at the Ansell LifeStyles exhibit booth, ready to hand out condoms to passersby. Other models will visit bars in New York City and Chicago and do the same this and next week.
The efforts are part of LifeStyles’s new advertising campaign, “This Changes Everything,” to promote its Skyn line of non-latex condoms. The campaign seeks to win over both men and women who don’t like using condoms, said Kate Sollecito, senior manager, brand/product marketing, at Ansell. “So soft, it’s like wearing nothing at all,” reads LifeStyles marketing promotions.
The campaign takes an upbeat approach, embracing love and sex instead of promoting “safe sex” to avoid sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. In contrast, rival condom maker Trojan promotes “trust” in the message on its paid search ads on Google: “America’s #1 Condom, Trusted for Over 90 Years.”
Meanwhile, the LifeStyles Skyn campaign has several online components:
- On Facebook, people who “Like” the LifeStylesUSA Condom page can get a free condom in the mail. As of Feb. 15, the brand had 51,000 likes.
- A mobile app with augmented reality. Someone who points a smartphone at a LifeStyles poster ad featuring a model, for instance, will be able to see a video with the model. Sollecito said plans include using the app to offer discount coupons and other promotions.
- A new website with sex surveys and polls. One now on the site lets participants find out how their sex life compares to other people in the rest of the country.
LifeStyles faces a formidable battle to increase market share against Trojan condoms. Trojan had 75 percent market share in 2008 compared to LifeStyles’ 8 percent, Scripps Howard News Service reported in 2011, citing an anti-trust lawsuit filed by another condom maker, Mayer Laboratories.
Meanwhile, back at the LifeStyles booth at Fashion Week, one man stopped by to scoop up a few samples. “Better to be safe than sorry,” he said, before he dashed back out into the crowd of fashionistas.