Magazine article Marketing

Man of French Letters

Magazine article Marketing

Man of French Letters

Article excerpt

According to the recent Guinness ads, the average male thinks about sex every six seconds. Not Patrick Legrand. He thinks about it every second of the day-and he gets paid for it.

The 46-year-old Frenchman has just been appointed divisional managing director of Durex condoms by London International Group, and as such is responsible for arousing a global interest in condoms, from Malaysia to Milton Keynes.

"It's going to be very challenging as you have to take into account the barriers and taboos in each local market. It's an embarrassing subject for many cultures and in some countries you can't advertise on TV or in the press," he says.

He is, however, well used to dealing with sensitive subjects. As vice-president sales and marketing Tambrands Southern Europe, Legrand was responsible for launching and promoting Tampax worldwide, in countries as diverse as China, India, Russia and South Africa.

"The issues you have to take into account when marketing tampons and condoms are basically the same. You have to listen closely to local markets and understand local issues. Education is key to both - particularly in developing countries."

Obviously, Legrand does not embarrass easily, but wouldn't it be easier to stick to products with a lower blush factor, say, bread or baked beans?

"I've absolutely no problem discussing delicate topics and I enjoy working in more demanding areas, although this job will be easier than the last in that at least I can experience the product for myself."

Legrand first dealt with feminine hygiene products at Tambrands, where he was responsible for launching First Response, a pregnancy test.

Legrand's marketing plan for Durex is to build the brand into a global name.

This means that local brands with such titillating names as Ramses and Kingrex will eventually be phased out to create a single brand identity under the Durex name.

However, different external designs will remain to take local sensitivities into account. In Middle Eastern markets, for example, it's forbidden to show a woman on pack.

"The ultimate goal is to have the Durex name on all packs and to have a unified strategy in each marker. This will have to take place gradually to avoid losing customers loyal to any brand with a much older heritage than Durex," he says.

While health issues and education are a priority for the brand, Legrand says it is important to emphasise the more pleasurable aspects. …

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