Crowdsourcing Condom Advertising–Will This Work?


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You may have noticed this article in the New York Times, A
Hip-Hop Contest to Promote a Brand
. Trojan, the manufacturers of
the Magnum brand of condoms, has grown revenues and marketshare for the
Magnum brand, not through traditional advertisements, but through word
of mouth: mentions in Hip-Hop music lyrics by artists such as Ludacris,
Kid Rock, Lil Wayne, and Eminem. The NYT article doesn’t make it clear
whether the Magnum product manager engaged in product placement
activities or simply fanned the flames. I suspect there may be some
mutual promotion underway. (“I’ll mention your product, you tell the
world about my song.”)

Now Magnum is building on the Hip-Hop momentum by launching a “Live
Large” marketing campaign in the form of a contest soliciting more hip
hop or R&B songs and lyrics from anyone, not just professional

You can go to the contest site,,
download music tracks to use and/or use your own, and submit your own
songs and lyrics about “living large.” Fans can vote on the submissions
and, of course, spread them around virally. The winner will receive a
$5,000 prize and a trip to a hip-hop festival in mid-June in Atlanta,
where they’ll be congratulated by Ludacris.

How explicit are the lyrics likely to be? The NY Times article quoted
Julian Long, a consultant for Colangelo Synergy Marketing, the agency
responsible for the contest:

“We’re looking for songs that encompass the Magnum lifestyle
and what it means to live large—not just the size of the condom or what
it’s put on but what it means to live large across the board,” Mr. Long
said. “We’re saying, ‘You know how to handle your business and we want
to give you an opportunity to celebrate that level of understanding.’ “
But we all know (as do the contest promoters) that people are much more
likely to contribute and vote up sexually-oriented ditties than they are
sex-free songs. Is this a problem? Perhaps, for people who find this
type of lyric offensive, or if a child receives a link to an
inappropriate song.

But it’s a brilliant marketing strategy: Leverage an apparently grass
roots phenomenon—the fact that the Magnum brand has become a popular
icon among Hip-Hop artists—and build on it using the same genre. By
having people contribute their own hip-hop songs, Magnum is building on
the existing momentum. Contests are a good way to solicit crowdsourced
contributions from creative folks who want to strut their stuff. Risqué
submissions are likely to spread like wildfire, generating a lot of
buzz. This is good for the brand. It’s also a good way to make safe sex

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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