Toronto Public Health unwraps condom contest

Ads build awareness with lines like 'Your art will do our city right... where it tingles'

Rebecca Harris September 20, 2016

condomTOToronto Public Health is launching a titillating campaign to promote a new condom-wrapper design contest.

Since 2014, Toronto Public Health has launched three city-branded condom wrappers under the condomTO brand, with the aim of promoting safer sex and reduce stigma around condom use.

The wrapper designs (which have been designed in-house) coincide with major events in Toronto, including World Pride in 2014 and the Pan/Parapan Am Games in 2015. Last month, Toronto Public Health launched a new condom wrapper featuring the luminous 3D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square.

To further build on the success of the program, condomTO is running a public design contest to create four new condom wrappers for 2017. A campaign by The & Partnership to promote the contest is centred on the theme of becoming “condom famous.” Posters feature attention-grabbing copy such as “Your art will touch millions… of genitals” and “Millions of people will think of you… during sex.”

In addition, a humorous 30-second video shows a scene at a bus stop, where an older woman recognizes the young winning condom-wrapper designer. She tells him, “You are the reason I don’t have chlamydia,” and then thanks him and gives him a hug.


The campaign also includes radio, social media and public relations.

“Our city is having a great boom—it feels like we’re hitting a bit of a stride as of late, so it felt like an opportunity to do something great,” said Ron Smrczek, executive creative director at The & Partnership, which won the pro bono account after a competitive review earlier this year.

In the creative process, “we imagined that there’s notoriety that happens when you’re the one who has your artwork ‘published’ on a condom wrapper,” he added. “So ‘condom famous’ just felt like a natural outcome that was really being playful, and we’re having fun with the audience.”

In addition to creating the campaign, the agency will also create the design for one additional 2017 condom wrapper. The & Partnership is also offering a three-month paid internship at its Toronto office to the grand prize winner in the “student category.”

“As we are the creative partner for them, it felt natural for us to play that role, and I’m just a big proponent of internships and getting people into companies at a young stage,” said Smrczek.

The contest closes on Oct. 10. A panel of judges will review the work, and on Oct. 18, the finalists’ artwork will be posted to CondomTO.ca. Toronto residents can visit the website and vote for their favourite condom-wrapper design. The winners will be announced on Nov. 2.

“The positive reaction we’ve seen to our three campaigns to date has shown us that the people of Toronto are engaged in the topic of safer sex and reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s acting Medical Officer of Health, in a release. “The condomTO contest will help us build on that success and high level of engagement, especially among young people in our city, as they experience high rates of sexually transmitted infections.”

Additional partners working on the contest include Miami Ad School and One Condoms. One Condoms is contributing its services on the overall contest management, voting process and website.