‘Unforgettable’ Hookups Cause Permanent Damage in These Durex STI Prevention Ads

Campaign aims to challenge misconceptions around unprotected sex

Havas London worked with Durex to create "Unforgettable Nights," a series of spots that shows that dangers of unprotected sex.
Havas London/Durex

With summer now in full swing, Durex is here to remind us that its condoms help stave off the party guest no one invited: sexually transmitted infections.

In a series of millennial-esque ads created by Havas London, summer flings unfold before our eyes, all of which end with sex without a condom—and ultimately, an STI that’s done some significant damage by the time it’s diagnosed.

Faced with issues like infertility and genital warts, the men and women in the ads darkly acknowledge that their hookups weren’t unforgettable because of the fun they entailed, but rather the permanent health problems they caused.

The campaign is a timely one, considering research from the World Health Organization recently revealed that more than one million STIs are transmitted every day worldwide.

In all of the spots, the person who contracted the STI got it from someone they already knew, like a friend’s cousin or an acquaintance from college. According to Havas London, “familiar, relatable characters are used throughout the campaign to help debunk the commonly-held belief among young people that you can only contract an STI from a stranger, not someone you know.”

The campaign is launching in Spain before expanding to countries including the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and Portugal. In addition to digital activity, out-of-home elements and an online educational hub, on-pack promotions will offer consumers the chance to win sold-out tickets to music festivals. Durex said that festival-goers carrying a condom will be rewarded with perks including front row seats and exclusive artist meet-and-greets.

“Keen to understand why STIs are on the rise, we spoke to a real cross-section of young people and found some widespread misconceptions–including that trusting the person you sleep with is adequate ‘protection’ against STIs, as well as ignorance around the potential effects of contracting one,” said Domenika Praxmarer, Spain’s marketing director at Durex, in a statement. “With that in mind, we want this campaign to educate, not scare—and empower people to make choices that make their nights unforgettable for all the right reasons.”