New York Times Profiles Shift From Health- to Pleasure-Related Marketing of Condoms
The New York Times on Sunday profiled the condom industry's shift from marketing condoms as a health-related product to marketing them for users' pleasure. Condom makers in the 1990s primarily promoted condoms as public health "necessities," the Times reports. However, marketing has shifted to a "pleasure cycle," Durex Marketing Executive Kimberly Liss said. For example, instead of highlighting the inclusion of spermicidal lubricants like nonoxynol-9 -- which CDC has said gives no additional protection against HIV -- condom companies are emphasizing the benefits of other additives including benzocaine. Benzocaine is a mild anesthetic that is supposed to "add to a man's endurance," according to the Times. In addition, Liss said that because U.S. consumers still are uncomfortable purchasing contraceptives, the industry uses color-coded packaging to differentiate from various kinds of condoms so that people do not have to "hang around the aisle" (Koerner, New York Times, 6/6). The complete article is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.