Durex under fire for sexually suggestive marketing posts

By Zhang Xingjian Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/21 23:03:50

Screenshot of a Durex post on Friday with the caption saying that "No single drop should be left over." Photo: Sina Weibo

Condom brand Durex, which has a high reputation among Chinese netizens for its witty posters that track trending topics, has come under fire for a marketing campaign on Friday that many netizens criticized as containing strong sexual suggestion. 

The pronunciation of the date April 19, if it is spoken in the numerals four-one-nine in English, allegedly sounds similar to "for one night," which has been further extrapolated to mean one-night stand.

Durex used the coincidence in a post on Sina Weibo and interacted with Chinese milk tea shop Heytea with a caption saying "no single drop should be left over."

In another controversial post, Durex asked if Heytea still remembered their second date and claimed "your first bite is most precious."

Heytea responded with by commenting that "my cheese is left over on your lips."

Durex also said that "Every mouth deserves to be fed" in a cooperative poster with online catering service platforms Eleme. 

The double meaning of these phrases has been widely criticized, with many netizens believing that the brands have disseminated pornographic and vulgar content.

"Chinese people are conservative in talking about one-night stand, as it is a private and embarrassing topic in our tradition," Zhang Chen, a professor from Nanjing Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Meanwhile, some female netizens said the post reduced them to being just tools for the pleasure of men. 

"In the past, Durex posters talked about love rather than sex. Naked sexual impulse will definitely make many Chinese feel uncomfortable," Cheng Gong, a manger for a Beijing-based advertisement company, told the Global Times.

Heytea apologized on Weibo on Saturday amid flooding criticism while Durex changed its ad posters with no extra explanation. 

Durex used to have a strong reputation in China for quickly reacting to hot news with witty posters. Some of the posters have even been listed as classic marketing cases thanks to help from the company Socialab.

The two sides reportedly dissolved their seven-year business partnership at the end of 2018.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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