What is the sound of sex and music? For Reckitt-Benckiser's Durex condoms brand, it's "stuff that's got a big heart…something modern and different, please, that builds toward the end."
That was the directive from Alasdair Graham, executive creative director for Reckitt's ad agency Euro RSCG London, at a MIDEM pitch session Saturday in Cannes. Durex just debuted a new campaign for its Performax brand in the U.K., featuring his-and-hers turntables playing Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" at different speeds before eventually meeting at the same pace. The campaign will be accompanied by a Facebook game, "How in-sync are you?" that will feature new and established tracks that fans will need to adjust to play at the proper speed. That's where pitches for original music or out-of-the box synchs can come in, with submissions powered by Sonicbids. "It's gonna be about music creation for people, sharing," Graham told the crowd.
He shared one example of a song that wasn't the right fit - a hard-pounding techno track complete with a breathy female voiceover. "Personally, I don't mind that but it doesn't feel right for what we're trying to achieve here," Graham said dryly. "We're talking about the whole sex thing and not a lot of it makes you think of physical violence."
Graham then played snippets of three tracks that better conveyed Durex's sonic brand, including a song called "Sensuality" by Sahra. The gentle, acoustic track isn't the kind that immediately comes to mind for a condom commercial. "Sometimes exactly the right thing is to have a contrast rather than think about complimenting the images in some way," Graham said.
Other recent Euro campaigns to feature music include an ad for Unilever's Comfort fabric softener, which tapped The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain for a custom version of a popular song that brought the animated spot's energy to musical life.