Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Trojan advertises to encourage women

Trojan condoms has unveiled its latest campaign that encourages more women to feel comfortable when buying condoms.

The XOXO condom is basically a normal condom, but its packaging is purple and includes a carrying case that could easily slip into a purse or bag. The campaign is intended to convey the sense of sharing responsibility when it comes to practicing safe sex and not to feel embarrassed about condoms. The ads show couples kissing on doorsteps and a pier with a female voice-over.

Trojan decided to create this campaign after discovering that women accounted for less than one-third of the purchases of its products. This isn’t the first time Trojan has tried being gender-inclusive in its products. In 2005, it introduced Elexa, a line of condoms in pastel-colored packages that were mainly sold in the feminine hygiene aisle. After a few years, it was discontinued. While I don’t totally agree with assigning colors to genders, I see how the company was making an effort.

After the recent Pepsi campaign mishap where an insensitive ad was released that seemed to be mimicking the Black Lives Matter movement, companies should be wary in what they put out to the public. Social media is quick to judge and analyze anything aired online or on television. During a time where reproductive rights and women’s health are pressing issues, a campaign such as this one could be misinterpreted.

However, Trojan’s Vice President of Marketing Bruce Weiss said he wasn’t too concerned about people misinterpreting the message.

“We consistently hear from people as they shop for condoms, especially from women, that they feel the weight of everyone’s eyes on them when they purchase condoms,” Weiss said to the New York Times. “There is a big embarrassment factor.”

I know some women who feel like it should be the man’s responsibility to always have a condom at the ready. However, I also know many who make it a priority to have their own condoms for whenever they need. When it comes to something as serious as sex, I think both partners should be equally responsible.

According to a 2016 study conducted by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, which was funded by Trojan, 68 percent of women thought it shouldn’t be solely the man’s responsibility to buy condoms. However, only 18 percent of women claimed to have purchased a condom for their most recent sexual experience.

Andrea Miller, the president of the National Institute of Reproductive Health, told the New York Times that the notion that women are encouraged to buy condoms isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as there is still an agreement between partners to practice safe sex. Miller also pointed out that condoms are predominantly considered a male method of contraception, so it isn’t a shock that men are the predominate buyers.

If the message is delivered correctly, I applaud Trojan for trying to create a more welcoming environment for women buying condoms.

“To the extent that this encourages women to be empowered and take the initiative to ensure or even demand that their sexual partners use condoms, then I think it’s a good thing,” Miller said to the New York Times.

Email Laura Schmidt at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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