How Space Doctors helped Durex discover and represent the emerging realities of sexuality around the world

What do sexuality and semiotics have in common? To us, they’re both all about exploration, attention, and discovery. When Durex needed a fresh, culturally powered read on a category that still remains taboo in many markets, an innovative approach that put semiotics to work was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Durex were struggling to establish meaning beyond being the world’s number one condom brand. Wanting to gain relevance in conversations of broader sexual well-being, they needed to understand the cultural shifts impacting how people talk and think about sex across intersections of sexuality, ethnicity, generation, and region.

Using local analytics from our in-market teams across the globe, we defined a set of Cultural Codes of Sexual Wellbeing and plotted them onto a Semiotic Map of Sexual Wellbeing. This tool enables each regional Durex team to visualise market-specific nuances they can use to identify the visual and linguistic levers they need to pull to activate these codes.

We then decoded key competitors in each market by studying core brand assets and communications. These Global Category Codes highlighted connections between dominant and emergent narratives, as well as how Durex can disrupt them to elevate and differentiate its brand in the future.

Durex now have a wealth of accessible information helping them to tell more powerful and distinctive stories, directly inspired by and tailored to specific cultures and markets.

This project was about unlocking the world of discovery. Without returning to traditional, demure imagery, Durex have found ways to represent sexuality in a way that champions inclusivity, sensitivity, and authenticity. That feels important for the future, not only for Durex as a brand, but for society as a whole.