Behind the Scenes at Our Durex Photo Shoot

>> Thursday, August 13, 2009

We just can't help it. We are so excited about our new Durex campaign that we just have to talk about it. Apologies in advance.

Here the core team of Sarah Hall, Sergio Flores, and Betsy Levine describe the trials and tribulations of working in the category, and of bringing the campaign to life.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Our adventures as sex workers -- or better said, how to capture the Pleasurati!

Sex and work. As professionals in the work place, we have always thought it would be best for our careers to keep them separate. Then we were assigned to our new Durex condoms, lubes and devices account (ok, yes we begged for it ... details details) and the lines became amazingly blurred.

Subjects that were once taboo to discuss at work became not only acceptable, but expected. However, we had to quickly get used to the blushing and stop giggling over every double entendre (and trust us, in this category EVERYTHING is a double entendre).

We needed to identify a unique positioning for Durex in time for the new launch of Bare condoms.

Once we got familiar with the competitive landscape, it became clear that if you weren't 18 or a player, nobody was really talking to you! We then set out to position Durex as the condom for the mature pleasure seeker, demographics aside. It amazed us how many people in established relationships still use condoms and of course are always looking to "spice things up".

The Pleasurati is born. Pleasure seekers would now have a brand that they could relate to.

Time to bring it all to life.

We then set off to Buenos Aires to shoot the "That's My Pleasure" campaign. Much more challenging than you might assume. It was real work.

When the going got tough, Serge (as the consummate professional) was always on hand to give his advice -- advice on how to remain calm during a condom photo shoot.

Focus on the naughty bits.

It may seem counter intuitive, but anything that a magazine won't publish is a complete waste. A fugitive nipple can ruin an otherwise perfect shot. So, by becoming the taste level police, not only do you guarantee publishable results, but you also make the models feel like you're on their side.

If things get heated up for the male model, help a brother out and hand him a stuffed animal.

We wanted to capture the right tone in the photography. This involved two complete strangers portraying intimacy in a believable way. As our couples ‘became intimate’ we felt it would be a good idea to separate them at waist level. Put in a little buffer if you will. To lighten up the mood, the crazy Argentinian photographer thought it wise to place a small stuffed hippo on our male model. Not only did it make everyone laugh and relax, it made our couple avoid the kind of unnecessary weirdness that can result from being sexual with a complete stranger, on command.

When in doubt, cast two exceptionally good-looking individuals that happen to be a couple. And thank your stars.

Surprisingly, artificial sexual chemistry is not hard to create. What proved more difficult was tender, lovey-dovey, worn-in intimacy. And that's where the real couple came in. Their realness was believable, and they helped us create images that fitted the mature attitude to sex we were looking for. Plus, in between takes they could lie around in front of the crew half-naked discussing their supermarket shopping list. Just like we all do.

Let women rule. But you knew that.

When all you're aiming for is tasteful sexuality and avoiding clich├ęs, let the woman dictate the mood. Think about it, we have been bombarded with so many sexual images that our idea of intimacy is rather warped. So creating the right attitude became a balancing act between capturing the kind of sex people aspire to having while avoiding the visual landmines of soft-porn, frat-sex, fabio-esque male portraits, etc. We found out that we could always rely on the women to set the right mood. So we left it up to the ladies to create the right attitude and let the men follow. Like I said, we were trying to re-create real life.

The result? Pleasurati living the life, caught on film for our new campaign. Here are some of the photos:

- Sergio Flores (Associate Creative Director), Sarah Hall (Account Director), and Betsy Levine (Strategic Planner) at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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