Condoms. For women by women
19 Oct 2017
Can a sanitary brand created by women cause a stir in a male-only product category?
The humble condom so far has only been manufactured and marketed with men in mind. Can a product like that expect any innovations other than more wacky colors or odd shapes? Can it be targeted at women rather than men and shift the purchasing decision over to women? A brand called L. takes a new angle at condom branding and it’s a welcome one!
Since 2013 we have been observing a major shift in condom sales; women have become a major buyer and 68% of female respondents of the 2017 Indiana University’s National Survey of Sexual Health & Behavior believe that purchasing condoms is a “man’s work”. The change in condom buying patterns is especially visible in India, where already back in 2013 women outnumber men as condom buyers, a result of a shame Indian men experience when buying condoms (according to the data from Jamia Hamdard University).
With this data in mind, it’s worth asking what the message of a modern condom brand should be like. Should it attempt breaking the habit of talking only about the product and brave taking a different approach? How about sharing an idea which will be universally appealing to all women?
We’re taking a closer look at the brand called L., hailing from the US and dreamt up by Talia Frenkel, a photojournalist with experience working for the Red Cross and United Nations. The brand’s products are designed by a team of women and with women in mind. L. acknowledges that female buyers’ priorities are a whole lot different than men’s and addresses these needs by giving the brand a unique voice focused on product health and safety and the social responsibility of the company itself.
The big idea behind the business is similar to the one of the TOMS’ – it’s not only about making money, it’s also about making a difference. L. does exactly that by working with a network of over 2,800 female entrepreneurs and is aiming to donate 50 million health products in 2017 alone:
“For every product that we sell, we give one to women in developing countries. – says Talia Frenkel – And the big part of our focus is taking the shame out of these products.”
Prioritizing women’s health
L. puts the decision-making process of buying condoms into women’s hands. This has never been done before and already makes the approach novel. By offering condoms which are low scent, delicate on the skin, and made with the highest quality ingredients, L. targets a different and more conscious buyer than male-oriented condom brands.
Dominated by global giants, the market of condoms has been flooding women with products containing questionable chemicals which can potentially harm them. “(…) It was really important for us to create a product that we ourselves wanted to use” says Talia Frenkel, the founder of L. “When we were looking at the ingredients currently present in female care products we were honestly really shocked that these were allowed, that there were no regulations around feminine care, there’s no disclosure of the ingredients (…).”
L. places themselves in a product category targeted at 21st-century women who live fast, yet find the time to pay attention to what can potentially be harmful to their bodies and what impact can these products have on their long-term wellbeing. L. takes pride in selling condoms, pads, and tampons which are safe and natural.
Classic condom brands tend to be targeted at men only, often using a lad-like humor and jargon, rarely communicating what the products are made of. L. gives women a choice they haven’t had before since the product category was never really interested in them as the ultimate buyer. L.’s innovative angle gives this brand an edge on the market and welcomes women as new buyers in the category.