Trojan XOXO is a New Brand that Makes Condoms Look Sexy

In the words of Salt-N-Pepa: let’s talk about sex. Or rather, let’s talk about condoms, which may be a slightly less exciting topic but still paramount to sexual health. Packaging design plays a role in the success of a business and the sales of its products (the Nielsen Impact Award certainly proves that). So when consumers feel embarrassed to shop for, purchase, and carry around condoms, this means that fewer condoms are getting in the hands of men and women who are sexually active.

In order to change this, Trojan, the top selling condom brand in North America, wanted a new sub-brand that looked sophisticated and elegant—something completely unlike other condoms on the market. And thus, Trojan XOXO was born. Invok was behind the design, so we spoke with Richard Shear, partner and Chief Creative Officer to learn more about the process behind creating Trojan XOXO.

Learn more about Invok’s process and the potential impact this design may have on sexual health in the video below.

Trojan has had pretty consistent look for a while. What were some of the big changes you wanted to make and why?

Richard Shear: XOXO is a completely new condom brand from Trojan—the #1 selling brand in North America. This new brand has a design that transforms the condom category. From its initial conception we knew this was not just a graphic design assignment, but that every aspect of the product, packaging structure and brand identity must be considered. We were asked to create a completely new condom experience for BOTH women and men. As such our interest was in helping XOXO define a radical transformation of user attitude towards purchase, storage, and usage of condoms—while enhancing their independence and encouraging a safer lifestyle.

Because of the profound nature of the assignment, and the sensitivity inherent with the product, we knew that the primary change needed was not with the Trojan brand itself, which has deep consumer loyalty and trust, but rather with redefining the way users interact with and respond to the product. We needed to make sure our solution was as rich and relevant as the product concept, and truly signaled something new in the category.

Tell us a little bit more about the unique design elements of Trojan XOXO. How do they create solutions for consumers?

Richard Shear: Looking at condom purchase habits, Trojan noticed differences between what people say and what they do. An Indiana University Center for Sexual Health study found 68% of women disagree with the concept that purchasing a condom is solely a man's responsibility. The study also found only three percent of women carry a condom regularly and just 18% purchased a condom for their last sexual experience

We began the project by talking to condom users, both women and men, and asking them to share their experiences. What we learned was that most women are quite comfortable with the condom itself, but wanted a package that was more discreet, supported a more comfortable purchase experience, and reflected their lifestyle and usage patterns.

Responding to these interests, and with an eye towards creating a more discreet presence for all components, we designed an integrated package structure that included the following;

  • • An outer sleeve that allowed for the removal of the retail graphics, thereby creating a more pleasing presence at home
  • • A reusable carton that provided for home storage and dispensing in an attractive package with no retail graphics
  • • A mini travel pack for storage of 1-2 condoms that enhanced product safety and protection
  • • An attractive condom foil decorated without an overt brand message, again to stress discretion

With the selection of the structural components, our next step was to create a visual brand identity that set it apart from the traditional masculine sensibility of the category, and immediately signaled a contemporary gender-neutral point of view.

Walk us through the process of designing Trojan XOXO.

Richard Shear:

1. Brand Positioning and Naming. It is vital to remember that Church & Dwight is attempting to redefine the expectations of the condom category with XOXO. So the first step was to deeply understand client vision and consumer need. We worked closely with Cheryl Swanson and her team at Toniq, to uncover firmly held emotions and attitudes influencing the category, and with that understanding to develop a rich, multi-faceted and actionable Brand Positioning and name development.

2. Visual Strategy. During this process we learned invaluable lessons that shaped our understanding of the challenge and our perspective on the creative opportunities. With this understanding we developed a series of Visual Strategy recommendations, each supporting various creative approaches to enhancing the Brand Positioning.

3. Design Development. With our visual strategy as a guide, the next step was the creation of an integrated visual identity encompassing both structural package and graphic design components. Because of the requirement for inspired innovation in the category, this step was especially complex and exciting.

4. Design Refinement and Extension. Upon selection of the final design elements, we extended the design to each of the required components.

5. Visual Toolkit and Brand Standards. As a last step we created a complete set of visual guidelines that could support all creative agencies in the development of a consistent brand image in all media.

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome with creating Trojan XOXO?

Richard Shear:

1. Understanding the user’s relationship to the product. The perception and usage patterns of this product are complex, emotional and often complicated by societal expectations. So the overriding challenge encountered at every step of the program was to understand these emotional complexities and let them motivate and inspire, not limit, our design exploration.

2. Redefining category expectations. This assignment was defined, and XOXO’s success will be judged only by consumers. Whether they feel the brand offers them an enhanced experience that is relevant to their lifestyle. Our challenge was to define that relevance in a clear and appropriate way.

3. Creating a brand and package that appeals to both sexes and drives usage. In the end XOXO is about personal control over a healthy lifestyle, for both women and men. By supporting the interests of both genders we hope to inspire independence, drive product usage, and enhance safety for all.

4. Doing all of this within the complex parameters required by law and outlined by Church & Dwight. In the end this is a regulated commercial product that must meet the legal, regulatory, and commercial issues of the modern retail market. During the entire 2-year development process we worked closely, as part of a cross-functional team, with all of Church & Dwight’s marketing, research, product development, sales, product production, packaging and legal teams.

Images courtesy of Sapient Razorfish/Benjamin Loh and Invok