Skyn condoms get on the softer side of Japanese couples

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Condom maker asks Japanese couples to discuss feelings

TOKYO — In a market saturated with "thin" condoms, Skyn condoms and agency Ultra Super New aimed to create a vehicle for Japanese couples to talk about their sexual preferences in a culturally sensitive way.

Skyn condoms approached Ultra Super New (USN) to help with its launch in the competitive Japanese condom market, which is focused around thin, thinner and even thinner latex condoms.

According to USN, of those that had sampled the Skyn condoms made of polyisoprene, a new material which is purportedly close to the same feeling as skin, 97% recommended the product.

In addition, based on the insight that women buy 48% of the condoms sold in Japan, USN based its strategy around targeting couples with heavy sampling for trial.

The first thing USN did was to change the global key visual and copy to a version using a Japanese couple in romantic and erotic yet sophisticated poses, with the tagline, "Let’s have a softer relationship."

For the condom sampling, USN created the following vehicles: a rose and a newspaper.  

The rose sampling was done through a Christmas flower-cart campaign. In Japan, the Christmas season is a key time for couples and dating. On Dec. 13, the flower-cart team handed out roses with Skyn condoms to couples in Harajuku, one of the iconic dating spots in Tokyo. The activation was documented in a video that was spread through social media and PR.

The other sampling vehicle took the form of a newspaper: the Skynbun. The name is a play on the pronunciation of the Japanese word for newspaper, Shinbun. The newspaper touched on subjects relating to improving couples' sex lives. The physical newspaper was sampled in key areas in Tokyo and also launched in a digital (smartphone) version.

In order to promote the digital version, USN created a mobile game that required both members of a couple to pair their smartphones and then answer intimate questions regarding their sexual preferences. 

The campaign was supported by Facebook ads, PR through key bloggers and online sex authorities and sharing of the videos/articles on social media.

The campaign boosted sales. The agency reports that sales on Amazon rose 800%. (It's worth noting that a high percentage increase should be expected for a new product.) More significantly, Skyn became the top-selling condom on Amazon JP as of January 2015.

The "Flower Cart" video on YouTube averaged a 27.9% viewer rating (the average being 15%). The video also earned coverage on more than 15 sites, including Yahoo! News, one of the most respected and viewed news sites in Japan. 

The Skynbun newspaper was sampled to more than 15,000 people in key areas of Tokyo.

Campaign credits

Creative Director: Hiroaki Adachi
Art Director: Jinshi Itomi
Account Manager: Keisuke Takaso, Yuko Nakamura
Web Designer : Masaaki Takesue
Digital Planner: Shimpei Kimura
Web Developer: Nathan Thorpe
Digital Developer: Ludovic Prandi
Planner: Marina Nakagawa
Strategy Director: Marc Wesseling
Executive Creative Director: Michael Sheetal

This article first appeared on


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