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Condom brands go head to head on World AIDS Day

Condom manufacturers Durex and Ansell are being prompted by World Aids Day to share interactive social campaigns, but both are taking drastically different approaches with the former taking emojis into its own hands and the latter sharing donations. 

World AIDS Day takes place on Dec. 1 every year to raise awareness and funds for the fight against HIV and these condom brands are fitting the fight into their campaigns, as their products help the fight against the spread of the disease. While Durex revamps its fight to include a safe sex emoji into the Unicode keyboard by having iPhone owners use the umbrella icon in place of a condom, Ansell is giving away free condoms based on how many shares its hashtag receives. 

?The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of safe sex,? said Volker Sydow, category director at Durex Global. ?Our poll revealed that almost half of 16 ? 35 year olds are unaware that HIV can affect them despite the fact that 2.1 million people were newly infected with the virus during the last year.  

?We want Unicode to create an official safe sex emoji to encourage young people talk more openly about safe sex,? he said. 

AIDS prevention
Condoms are an important part in the prevention of disease spread, especially with AIDS. These condom brands believe it is their duty to insert themselves in the discussion surrounding such an important topic. 

Ansell, the manufacturer of Lifestyle and SKYN condoms, is promoting the hashtag #KTP2016 to raise awareness through social media. The KTP in the hashtag stands for Keep the Promise, and was created by AIDS Healthcare Foundation to raise awareness for World AIDS Day. 

Condom control
Durex launched a campaign for last year that called on social media users? help to demand a safe sex emoji on the official messaging shorthand keyboard. 

The brand attempted to get the hashtag #CondomEmoji trending on social networks, a venture to become part of younger demographics? conversations on mobile. Durex determined a need for condom-focused emojis to align its brand with younger, sexually active consumers following research that revealed that while these mobile users are discussing sex through emojis many are still unconcerned with safe sex practices (see more). 

Durex?s venture was ultimately unsuccessful and though the Unicode keyboard has updated numerous times since then, it has failed to include a safe sex or emoji keyboard. In response Durex is hoping to hijack the keyboard and substitute the umbrella emoji for a condom, fitting in with a metaphor used by millennials. 

The idea comes from consumers? use of various emojis in replace of items that are not featured on the keyboard, most notably the eggplant emoji as a substitution for male genitalia. 

Durex had a tough job with this campaign, as it had to carefully walk the line between being relevant versus coming across as the uncool parent trying to fit in with the young crowd, a trap that many marketers fall into. But the condom brought the idea up to consumers first and sought their input for the campaign, having them vote on the most relevant emoji to represent a condom. 

The umbrella emoji won with a 23.3 percent vote, beating out the red circle emoji that came in second with 18.6 percent. Durex is hoping that consumers will flood their social media by using the emoji in regards to a condom, along with the hashtag #CondomEmoji to garner Unicode?s attention in the hopes to include a condom in the keyboard. 

?We know from our survey that young people find it easier to express emotions using emojis and that they are using them to discuss sex and relationships,? Mr. Sydow said. ?Providing them with the relevant tools to discuss safe sex will make these conversations more comfortable without being intrusive.?