SSL International today said its strategy of selling condoms to the MTV generation was paying off as annual sales of its consumer brands such as Durex accelerated 5%.
The company said its cheeky advertising campaigns that featured scores of men dressed in sperm suits and touring the inside of a condom in the company of an ‘estate agent’ was a key driver of its sales improvement.
Durex condoms are increasingly being marketed at adults in the 16-to-24 age bracket after research showed that people stick with a brand through life if they find it safe and reliable.
SSL, which will sponsor National Condom Week beginning May 8, typically spends around 16% of its sales on advertising.
It has also launched a string of new products to capture the sense of sexual openness created by television shows such as Sex And The City.
These have included condoms that come in different flavours of chocolate, Performa sheaths that contain a mild anaesthetic that cures premature ejaculation and allows couples to extend their love-making and the Durex Play range of lubricants.
Durex-branded vibrators have also been launched and are on sale in the UK in high-street chemists such as Superdrug, while battery-powered 'sex rings' went on sale in Tesco and Boots before Christmas.
In a trading update today, SSL said annual sales of Durex and its other branded consumer products such as Scholl sandals and blister plasters were set to exceed £395m (€571.8m).
“Durex and Scholl footcare continue to be the main drivers of growth with successful new product introductions and effective advertising campaigns,” the company said.
Although sales of Scholl sandals were down on a year earlier, SSL flagged an improving trend during the period between October and March when the core spring/summer range was sold.
SSL said sales across all its businesses were likely to be in the region of £447m, (€647.1m) up 5% on last year or 4% after stripping out the impact of favourable currency swings.
“Based on the sales performance, SSL expected to make further strong progress towards achieving its previously stated operating profit target of £52m (€75.3m) by March 2007,” SSL said.
Shares in SSL rose 4.5p today to stand at 322.5p.