Trojan and Colangelo pull off a great condom ad

Trojan just released an ad that could serve as a textbook example of an ad directed at young people that also works incredibly well on Baby Boomers.

At first glance you could mistake this for an ad that has Baby Boomers like this dad as a primary target, but you'd be wrong. This ad is aimed at the son and daughter giving him dating advice. Here's the strategic context...

  • Trojan's own data and years of independent research confirm that the biggest condom buyers* are teenagers. According to Trojan, "Levels... of condom use are higher among younger teens and decline steadily as teens grow older." According to the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, "[A]dults over the age of 40 have the lowest rates of condom use."
  • TV networks have consistently prevented the brand from advertising in prime time, and Trojan would never, ever get network approval on any ad that suggested, even obliquely, that teenagers should enjoy sex (however responsibly.)

Yet with a stroke of creative genius, Trojan's agency (Colangelo, based in Darien CT) reversed the roles of the kids and the dad. Teenagers watching the ad get the message: condom use will keep you out of trouble. The role reversal helps the ad to break through, and be memorable. ("Hah! Imagine me giving advice to dad.") That's an old copywriter's trick pulled from the same playbook that yielded E-Trade's talking baby. But Colangelo's genius was in realizing that by suggesting it was the fifty-something dad who was going to go out and have sex, they could make the first Trojan ad deemed safe for prime time.

The people this ad is talking to are the dad's kids; the ones giving him dating advice. But the reasons we here at BrandROI love this ad are...

  • While adults over 40 represent a small share of condom buyers, the number they buy is still significant.
  • Colangelo's creatives have pulled off something almost none of the agencies working on ED drugs have managed: Along with director Gavin O'Connor, they've made the idea of 50-something sex seem charming, natural and (OK, it's subtle) even sexy.
  • This dad would be proud to have raised kids as responsible, and with such an open, loving relationship.

This is a perfect example of an ad that, while focused on a younger market, will pay dividends with an older one.