THE BLOG
10/23/2014 05:41 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

#ShareaCondom Campaign Proves (Safe) Sex Sells

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Advertisers may have found the secret to millennial marketing: ego boosting, social media, and sex. Coke's #ShareaCoke campaign and condom manufacturer Poke's #ShareaCondom campaign have both led to tremendous spikes in product sales and popularity, especially among young consumers.

New research determined millennials top three "wants" in life, which advertisers used to develop an effective marketing method:

Want: Identity as an important, one-of-a-kind individual.
Method: Boost ego with personalization by name or high-status label.

Want: Maximum attention on social media.
Method: Instagram a Like-worthy pic with witty caption.

Want: Sex.
Method: Get sex.

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Coke used this data first in their summer 2014 campaign #ShareaCoke, creating new bottles for sharing with labels specifying a name or a sentimental group, like a "Star" and "Family". Drinkers were encouraged to share the soft drink in real life and on social media. The bottles and cans were Instagrammed at an unprecedented rate.

"I was at Target with my BFF Bev and I saw a Diet Coke with a 'BFF' label," said 20-year-old University of Florida communications student Christie Boone. "Obvi I bought it, and duh I Instagrammed a pic of us with it. Triple-digit Likes and zero cals; hashtag winning."

According to Boone, #ShareaCoke also created sexual tension across college campuses as the bottles were "an icebreaker for hot randos to meet, chat, and, you know."

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Educators, parents, and condom manufacturers have worked to make safe sex appealing to young people for decades with minimal success - until now. Shadowing Coke's marketing tactic, Poke's "#ShareaCondom" campaign is enjoying similar success while also preventing unplanned pregnancy and STDs.

"We were inspired to apply the passions and talents of millennials - ego, sex, and social media - and it worked," said human sexuality researcher Jaime Henderson, Ph.D. "Condom use is at a record high!"

"I'm thrilled about this #ShareaCondom campaign," said high school sexual education teacher Hailee Koals. "For years we've been trying to make safe sex cool. Who knew all we had to do was add a hashtag?"

#ShareaCondom encourages users to share a condom with a broader range of individuals, including a "Cycling Instructor", "Apple Genius", and "One Night Stand".*

"Who you decide to do is your business," said Poke's Chief Marketing Officer Mitchell Klump. "We just want the labels to resonate with this generation's sexual realities."

Sex, social media, and ego drive many of our actions, whether it's posting a picture simply for Likes (and attention) or fulfilling a natural desire for love (and possibly attention). These are prominent cultural forces that are here to stay.

"Last night I was at Target, again, and I saw a box of Poke's with a 'BF' label," Boone said. "Obvi I bought it, and duh I'm going to use them. My boyfriend and I are Facebook official. Hashtag blessed. Hashtag share a condom!"

But while trends that spread virally on social media, such as "My New Haircut" and "Harlem Shake", ultimately always disappear, sexually transmitted diseases that spread virally are forever. Get in the mix, #ShareaCondom.

Join the conversation using the following hashtags:
#ShareaCondom
#CondoMania2014
#SafetyFirstSTDsNever
#WrapItUpClassItUp

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*Poke's List Of People To Share A Condom With:
Uber Driver
Tinder Date
Bae
Stuart
Apple Genius
Divorce Attorney
Da Club DJ
Dog Walker
Drug Dealer
Sex Buddy
Ex
Cycling Instructor
Landlord
Casual Sexual Encounter
Bartender
Cross Fit Bro
Neighbor
Flight Attendant
Financial Adviser
Dry Cleaner
Boss
Bodega Dude
Co-Worker
One Night Stand
Doorman

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Visual Design by Peter Jostrand