Newspaper article International New York Times

MTV and Trojan Promote Safer Sex

Newspaper article International New York Times

MTV and Trojan Promote Safer Sex

Article excerpt

The goal of the campaign is to encourage couples who see each other regularly to use condoms each time they have sex.

Like a couple seeking to spend more time together, the Trojan condom brand and the MTV cable channel are extending a partnership with a campaign, created internally at MTV, that will run online as well as on MTV and several channels that are MTV siblings under the Viacom umbrella.

The comparison of the partnership to an amorous relationship is apt because the goal of the campaign, which was to begin on Wednesday, is to encourage couples who see each other regularly to use condoms each time they have sex. The target for the campaign is the younger Americans who compose the so-called millennial generation, which makes up so much of the MTV viewing audience.

Trojan has "a long history of advertising on MTV" to reach younger adults, said Bruce Weiss, vice president for marketing for the Trojan brand at Church & Dwight in Ewing, N.J., and the channel carried Trojan spots when broadcast networks were reluctant to sell commercial time to condom makers.

That hesitance has eased in recent years. "We've been on CBS," Mr. Weiss said, "and NBC late night." In addition to MTV, the campaign will appear on Viacom channels like BET, Comedy Central, MTV2, Spike TV and VH1.

The central idea of the campaign is that a couple whose relationship has gone beyond the "friend zone" has entered a territory called the "co-zone," short for "condom zone," progressing to the point where they ought to consider using condoms regularly rather than occasionally or not at all. (If Rod Serling were around today, perhaps he would pitch CBS a series called "The Twi-Zone.")

The centerpiece of the campaign is a series of three commercials, to be introduced one at a time on Wednesday, Saturday and Tuesday.

Like a current series of commercials for AutoTrader.com, telling a continuing story about Bo and Luke Duke of "The Dukes of Hazzard" looking for a car to replace their 1969 Dodge Charger, the co-zone commercials also offer a continuing story, about a new relationship between a young man and a young woman.

In the first commercial, the young man discusses the budding relationship -- "We're in the try-new-things-together zone" -- with a male friend. In the second spot, the young woman discusses her status with two female friends; one asks if she is in the "reaching- into-the-bedside-drawer-at-11:30-at-night zone?"

The third commercial brings the couple together for a chat about being in the "leaving-a-toothbrush-in-my-apartment zone." That spot concludes with the young woman heading off to buy "a new toothbrush and some more condoms."

The young man says, "I love the condom zone," to which she replies: "I heard that. I co-zone you, too." All three commercials end with an announcer declaring, "No matter what zone you're in, use a condom every time" and a slide on screen describing the spots as being "in partnership with" MTV and Trojan. …

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