The German Sustainable Condom Wars – Yesterday a court in Düsseldorf decided whether a marketer’s claim that their condoms corresponded to upto three orgasms each should be banned. Specifically the packs of 7 Eishorn (Unicorn) condoms declared that they were good for upto 21 orgasms. One of Eishorn’s competitors in the Fair and Sustainable German condom market, Fair Squared, took them to court due to the confusing nature of their marketing statements.
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Regular visitors to ChrisDuggleby.com will know that I write reviews about serious risk management subjects. I also sometimes report on subjects that I have discovered in the Alpine press which are of a slightly less serious nature (but non-the-less true). I was therefore delighted today to come across an occurrence in Germany which serves as both a lesson in marketing risk and also has an element of fun (I am on a personal crusade to dislodge the global misconception that Germany does not have a sense humour). Hence today’s article about the German Sustainable Condom Wars.
Two Condom suppliers to the German market, Einhorn (in English ‘Unicorn‘) and Fair Squared both claim that their products are ‘Fair Trade‘ and ‘Sustainable‘. In fact Einhorn even claims that its condoms are Vegan. Yes their marketing approach has a somewhat humorous taste whereas Fair Squared take the subject of natural rubber based contraceptive products more seriously. Until recently Einhorn claimed on its packet of 7 condoms that they were good for upto 21 orgasms (my rough translation of their slogan ‘1 Tüte à 7 Stück entspricht bis zu 21 Orgasmen‘).
In addition to getting upto three orgasms per condom and being Vegan products the Einhorn contraceptives also claimed to contain traces of fairy dust. For the weight conscious they also point out how many calories are consumed during sex. Of all of these items it was the number of orgasms per condom which attracted the Düsseldorf court’s attention.
Einhorn claimed that the number of orgasms per condom was not intended to mean that a man can get three orgasms out of each item. They were working on the basis that although the man would only be expected to get one orgasm it was quite likely that his partner would also get an orgasm and in fact it is not unheard of for a lady to get two orgasms during an appropriately passionate session. This was the derivation of ‘upto 3 orgasms’ – one for the bloke and upto two for the lady.
The competitor Fair Squared claimed that the 3 orgasm claim was both confusing and potentially dangerous. It might confuse consumers into thinking that the condom was reusable which could increase the danger of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and raise the risk of unwanted pregnancies. The Court concurred with this view and have banned Einhorn from claiming that a single condom corresponds to multiple orgasms.
Having just checked the Einhorn website (for research purposes of course) I noticed that they have now changed the ‘slogan’ of their multipack to ‘The Orgasm Pack – Well Known from its Court Room appearance‘ (another rough translation by yours truly from – ‘Das Orgasmus Paket – Bekannt aus dem Gerichtsaal‘). Clearly they take their product names very seriously having delightful sounding products like Foodporn LIMITED (bearing what looks like a picture of French fries on the packet!) and ‘Spermamonster‘. Their e-mail address also leaves something to be desired (sorry I can’t publish it because it uses words my mother doesn’t allow me to use).
For those interested the websites of the two sides in this war are embedded here under their names: Einhorn and Fair Trade. I do not endorse either product but you might be interested to compare the marketing approaches for their ‘sustainable’ condoms. For German visitors to my site (and there are many!) you can see a German report on this court case using the link here.
Make sure you carefully consider the potential of your marketing slogans for misinterpretation.
Chris Duggleby started his scientific career studying Bacteriology, Virology and Immunology at the Manchester University Medical School. From there he went on to spend over 35 in the chemicals and oil industries which included setting up a polymers research and development group in Geneva, Switzerland for a major international chemicals company. Following an MBA from Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. His work involved living and working in Europe, Asia, the USA, the Middle East, and Russia. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of the BP International Oil Group. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group reshape its management structures and processes following a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town. If you are interested in risk management check out his RiskTuition.com or BizChangers.com (management of change) sites.
If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports on similar subjects.
Just click on the titles below:
…starting with some fun reports…
…and here’s some more serious stuff…
You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.