MarkLives Ad of the Week with Oresti Patricios – The big fat sex experiment.

Discontented with your sex life? Thinking that perhaps there’s room for improvement? 54% of the world’s population is in the same boat, according to the 2011 Durex Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey.

I have featured Durex in this column before, but that’s because it is a brand that innovates and knows its target market extremely well. It has turned a “tricky” subject (sex) into something that is both fun and open for discussion, mainly through consumer campaigns on campuses. The brand takes an interactive approach to promoting itself as an authority on sexuality, and has a progressive approach to obtaining and sharing information.

Durex has made a priority of “owning” sex, and this campaign is an extension of that philosophy. The 2011 Sex Survey was just the start – now the data is being used for a global “Sexperiment” that aims “to prove that great sex isn’t just about the physical, with experiments designed to explore emotion and intimacy as well as pleasure and passion.”

At the beginning of this month, Durex launched the First Ever Worldwide Sex Experiment. Couples from 26 countries are invited to sign up, and explore their sex lives, with the eventual aim of helping other couples around the world enjoy better sex. The invitation is open to all comers, and is showcased on a dedicated Facebook page.

To ensure that the study is performed in a scientifically sound manner, the global condom/lubricant/sex-toy brand has enlisted the services of “the world’s only Thrill Engineer” – Brendan Walker. He is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham, and was recently appointed Professor in Creative Industries at the University of Middlesex. He has also appeared as a host on BBC and Discovery Channel special programs, looking at “tailored emotional experience” – amongst other things. So he is eminently qualified to measure people’s emotional reactions to stimuli.

In the first stage of the experiment, 26 couples from around the world will be selected to take part in this sex experiment, which aims to find out exactly what keeps them fulfilled between the sheets.

Over four weeks, couples will experiment with a series of sexual scenarios that will stimulate them and their partners in a whole new way. Couples will try everything from increased foreplay and sexy intimate talk, to swapping roles and incorporating a bit more adventure in their sex lives.

The Durex Lovers’ emotional and physical reactions will be measured using state-of-the-art cardio monitors to assess changes in heart rate to signify arousal, and their pleasure ratings to gauge its emotional impact.  The chosen Lovers will fly to the “love capital”, Venice, to be briefed on how to use the equipment by ‘Thrill Engineer’ Brendan Walker himself.

Walker commented: “Through our experiment we aim to explore the physical and emotional aspects of making love to determine the affect durexthese have on a couple’s pleasure, arousal and overall happiness. It might be as simple as talking to each other about what excites you, but that simple change in stimulus can create a connection that amplifies your body’s reactions, elevating the entire experience.”

The Durex Lovers’ emotional and physical arousal states will be combined and analysed to create the ‘Durex Great Sex Findings,’ which will no doubt make interesting reading.

There is an app (of course!) that will soon be released, for those who are not selected, but still wish to take part in the experimental exercises at home. The app will measure your responses by using biometric analysis, courtesy of your camera phone.

Bevan Lewis, from Durex, said: “We want to inspire couples and give them the tools to think about the importance of sex in their relationship. We wanted to use the experiments as a way to give couples the chance to really explore each other’s passions, pleasures and intimate thoughts and show them that, with a little bit of extra ‘know how’ and effort, they can create a stronger connection; and ultimately find new ways to enjoy the sex they have.”

The promotion relies heavily on Facebook exposure and targets the young, 18-25 market. As before, Durex is taking ownership of sex in a mature and yet fun way. That’s a hard balancing act to pull off, but this global brand does it so well.

Ad of the Week archive

Ad of the Week is published on MarkLives every Wednesday. See past selections here.
Oresti Patricios is the CEO of brand and reputation analysis company Ornico.

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