Normalising sexual wellness products with a Canadian love story

02/03/2023

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Background information

In this week’s egtabite we visit Canada, where Rogers Sports & Media worked with the sexual wellness product brand Lovehoney to raise brand awareness and help normalise the product category. To do this effectively, Rogers had to account for the traditional taboo nature of the products and the restrictive Canadian media guidelines.

It was also necessary to figure out the key target audience and the most effective ways to connect with them. To get the insights and lay out the right strategy, extensive market segmentation was carried out to inform the overall strategy and targeting of key demos. The exercise helped to determine if, and how, the Canadian market differs from other countries in which Lovehoney is already active, and shows how the brand messaging would have to be tailored to drive relevancy for Canadians.

The research determined that the core audiences for Lovehoney products are male/female couples aged 25-44. This demo corresponds with the core audience for the total sexual lifestyle product market in Canada, in which this group accounts for 50%. The group is also more predisposed to using sexual lifestyle products.

Going beyond traditional media

Rogers had to go beyond traditional media to develop an integrated campaign that introduced Lovehoney to this target audience, ensuring that brands and day parts were chosen carefully to work within the media restrictions for the product category. Rogers developed a programme anchored in the shopping network and online retailer TSC, which has a TV show dedicated to sexual wellness called Intimately You. This was done with product-focused integrations and a merchandising agreement. Further integrations were also carried out on the radio station KiSS FM and on the TV show Cityline, to drive broad awareness of the launch.

Campaign video

Execution across medias

The over-arching campaign included the TSC merchandising deal, brand sales, integrations, cheeky mock advisories and social & digital ads. In more detail, this included:

  • In addition to direct sales on the newly launched website Lovehoney.ca, the products were made available on TSC’s retail website.
  • The Intimately You sponsorship included billboards and integrations in two seasons of the popular show. The show’s midnight airtime allowed Rogers to showcase Lovehoney’s more risqué products to viewers that were specifically interested in further developing their sexual wellness. In addition, the host Dr Jess also shared social media posts giving sexual wellness advice in partnership with Lovehoney.
  • Two integrations in Citytv´s popular lifestyle show Cityline was a natural way to introduce Canadians to some of the more conventional Lovehoney products and start the process of normalising the use of sexual wellness products to more mainstream audiences. Segments were targeted for Christmas and Valentine´s Day, two key periods when love is in the air and viewers would be more open to Lovehoney´s messaging.
  • A custom KiSS & Tell video series was also created with KiSS Radio. The videos were designed to appear like a radio show and featured a KiSS host asking the relationship and sexual wellness questions from listeners to a Lovehoney expert. This helped to increase brand awareness, normalise sexual conversations and products, and position the brand as a trusted sexual wellness expert to mainstream audiences.
  • Cheeky mock advisories and brand sell across TV and digital rounded out the campaign, ensuring that the target audience had constant exposure to the brand.

Innovative approach

The campaign included two elements that had never been done before. First, the sponsorship of TSC´s Intimately You show, gave the brand unique ownership of an environment specially created for people open to discussing sexual wellness, and looking for ways to enhance their relationships with advice and products. The integration was essential in this late-night show as it provided Lovehoney with an environment to discuss the risqué products and delve into the company´s full range of products without the typical restrictions of daytime television.

Second, the merchandising deal with TSC was the first of its kind and was a great way to gain exposure with a trusted Canadian retailer, while Lovehoney focused on growing its online retail site.

#1 sexual wellness product on TSC

The campaign effectively utilised data & media by finding and targeting the right audience. It creatively used a variety of mediums during different day parts to showcase the full range of Lovehoney products, from risqué to mainstream, connecting with people and their range of comfort levels. The brand now has a strong foundation in Canada and is now in a position to build further on its awareness in future campaigns.

Concretely, Lovehoney became the number one sexual wellness product on TSC. Brand awareness increased by 33% within the core audience and purchase consideration was 71%. In a survey, 8 in 10 people agreed with the statement that “Lovehoney leads the way in sexual happiness”. Lovehoney also saw a considerable rise in site traffic and revenues.