Durex college exam joke does not impress Shanghai newspaper

Society & Culture

Durex China is a master of digital marketing: Have a look at its Weibo account to see how the company integrates trending topics into witty posts about its condoms (in Chinese). Durex reportedly has a 45 percent market share in China, where talking about sex in public still remains far from common. While Durex’s edgy online marketing campaigns are popular among internet users, one recent Weibo post annoyed a Shanghai newspaper: The condom company made a joke connected to the college entrance examination, or gaokao.

On June 5 — one day before this year’s three-day gaokao session began — Durex posted the photo below. It resembles the top of a gaokao answer sheet with a list of items for test takers to pay attention to. They are mostly double entendres. For example: “Untie” it before getting to it, Remember to flip over, Control the tempo, and Put extra effort in designated areas.

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While most internet users were, as usual, impressed by the brand’s creativity, the Shanghai Morning Post 新闻晨报 published a commentary (in Chinese) on June 7, criticizing Durex for vulgarity and for targeting teenagers.

“It’s fine that they see these students as potential customers. We appreciate it if they offer proper sex education to students,” the article reads. “But talking about sex techniques and positions to these children is actually an abominable misstep rather than a smart stunt.”