Y&R and MTV Bring Your Sexy Emoji Dreams to Life

By Patrick Coffee 

SCENE: you, the always-with-it digital millennial, on the way to see your significant other for a Seamless and Chill evening. You’ve been together long enough to joke about the yadda yadda with a few of your most-used emojis: banana meets donut meets finger meets OK sign meets eggplant meets juicy, juicy tomato in a steamy six-way.

But what about the maybe-baby elephant in the room, meaning that condom (or four) still secure in its shiny wrapper in your wallet?

Earlier this month, Durex began petitioning the sort-of-secret Emoji Subcommittee (which we like to think is kind of like the Jedi High Council) to support a condom emoji. That hasn’t come to pass yet and we’re not sure that it will…but in the meantime, MTV, Y&R New York and the Staying Alive Foundation have teamed up to remind The Kids that condoms are, like, super-important even if you can’t fit them on an eggplant.


Here’s “Sext Life,” the centerpiece of the campaign, which launched to coincide with World AIDS Day.

The spot was directed by film editor/David Fincher fave Angus Wall, who won Oscars for The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The costumes were designed by Casey Storm, who worked on Where the Wild Things Are but cannot be blamed for that film’s sad excuse for a script.

Here’s another interesting tidbit:

“The actors playing the emojis were mostly dancers; the woman playing the donut was a circus performer who had to keep her body contorted in oblique crunches for the entire shoot.”

Since no collection of sexy emojis exists at the moment, the parties involved in this campaign created their own such keyboard composed of condom-wrapper-themed images with the help of messaging platform Snaps.

sex emojis

As you can see, it includes a few soon-to-be-classics such as:

  • Girl twerking in hot pants
  • Hot dog
  • Unicorn
  • LGBT condom wrapper
  • XXL condom wrapper
  • XS condom wrapper

(Like anyone would actually use that last one.)

On a side note, the teen birth rate in the United States has been declining for two decades straight–so somebody’s doing something right. And this project is definitely an improvement on older PSA-style campaigns in that it doesn’t include any moralizing or any P. Diddy.



Client: MTV/Staying Alive Foundation
SVP, Social Responsibility, Viacom International Media Networks and Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation: Georgia Arnold
VP, Creative Director, Social Responsibility, Viacom International Media Networks: Julie Allen;

Agency: Y&R New York
Global Chief Creative Officer: Tony Granger
Chief Creative Officer: Leslie Sims
VP, Group Creative Director: Nathalie Brown
Associate Creative Director: Kate Lummus
Executive Director of Integrated Production / Producer: Greg Lotus
Digital Producer: Catherine Patterson
Head of Design: Hamish Mcarthur
Chief Strategy Officer: Dick deLange
Strategy Director: Mary Mazza
Strategists: Alison Geraghty, Ethan Scott
Account Management: Ruchi Ruparel, Tre Jordan

Production Company: Elastic
Director: Angus Wall
Executive Producer: Jennifer Sofio Hall
Producer, Live Action: Kelly Christensen
Designers:  Lyn Cho, Erika Bird, Jon Foresman
Art Director:  Leanne Dare
Costume Designer: Casey Storm

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Austyn Daines
Executive Producer: Angela Dorian
Producer, Post Production: Helena Lee

Music: Travis+Maude
Executive Producer: Kala Sherman
Creative Director/Composer: David Wittman

Emoji Keyboard Developer:
Founder: Vivian Rosenthal
CEO: Christian Brucculeri
CIO: Dan Kaufman
Head of Product: Austin Bone
Director of Client Services: Chris Brown

Biagio Goetzke – EP, Modstar
Alex Sheyn – Designer, Modstar

Olivia Bee