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When Stars Align: Durex and Lil Nas X

Entered in Influencer & Celebrity

Objective

What do you get when you pair one of the world’s biggest LGBTQ+ artists with a condom brand to create a sensual, show stopping moment spotlighting one’s authentic sexual identity? Pure magic. 

Durex, a leading brand of condoms and personal lubricants, was seeking to increase its US market awareness while embracing sexual fluidity to speak directly to Gen Z, Millennial, and LGBTQ+ audiences. When American rapper and singer Lil Nas X’s label approached BEN with an opportunity for a customized integration for his “That’s What I Want” video (off of his highly anticipated Montero album), the stars aligned. 

BEN — a leading entertainment AI company that enables brands and creators to capture human attention in creative campaigns across social media, streaming, TV, music, and film — saw an opportunity for Durex to fit seamlessly into the music video’s narrative, with the goal of promoting fun, real, safe sex that feels good to audiences.

It was an organic match made in heaven — and drove stellar results for Durex. The music video was tied to Lil Nas X’s Montero album, set for September 2021, which coincided with Sexual Health Awareness month. To authentically connect with audiences, BEN created a customized product integration and social promotion strategy to increase awareness of Durex’s updated brand identity, while also making a social impact moment centered around inclusive and safe sex, in honor of Lil Nas X’s Montero album and Sexual Health Awareness Month. 

Strategy

With over 40 years of product placement experience, BEN leveraged its deep expertise in driving larger than life, anthemic campaigns for brands that build lasting relationships with audiences. BEN took a dual approach for this opportunity, by utilizing both a customized music video integration that was then amplified across social media. This strategy was met with victory, leading to millions of views and thousands of engagements on social media within just 24 hours.

BEN’s plan of attack was to uphold Lil Nas X and Durex’s unique identities, and blend them seamlessly at the core of the music video. The possibilities to organically integrate Durex into Lil Nas X’s music video were endless — their individual identities as both brand and artist had the opportunity to sing in harmony.

Lil Nas X’s identity as an artist, LGBTQ+ icon, and trailblazer stems from his rise to fame on TikTok following the success of his country rap single “Old Town Road.” As the single topped the charts, Lil Nas X came out as gay — becoming the only artist to do so while having a number one record. Since then, Lil Nas X has cemented his reputation as a pop culture icon and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. From his social media presence to his chart-topping singles, Lil Nas X has redefined stardom and what it means to be an influencer in today’s culture.

Like Lil Nas X’s rise to fame, Durex’s path as a leading producer of condoms, personal lubricants and sex toys has always been bold and authentic. For decades, the brand stood as an advocate for real, and safe sex. Durex believes in sex that’s open, honest, messy, and fun, with no filters or faking. It believes safe sex should be everyone’s to enjoy, regardless of who you are or who you’re with.

With Lil Nas X’s stardom and bold self-identity matched with Durex’s inclusivity and promotion of safe sex, the stars aligned for the “That’s What I Want” music video. The music video focuses on Lil Nas X as a member of the football team, each in pink uniforms, at the fictional Montero University. As Lil Nas X is taken off the field, he meets the eyes of another player. The two meet alone in the locker room for a steamy sex scene, featuring a show-stopping shot of Lil Nas X opening a Durex condom in the heat of the moment.

Authenticity was at the heart of this integration. The moment Lil Nas X ripped open a Durex condom, the normalities and societal stereotypes often shown in artists and music videos were disrupted. A same-sex, gay couple’s intimate moment was the face of the integration, with Lil Nas X’s authentic sexual identity and Durex’s advocacy for safe sex shining through to support the show-stopping moment.

Results

The “That’s What I Want” music video soared with record-breaking results. Within the first five days, the music video received over 28M views on YouTube. During its first week, 6M organic social impressions were registered with a 77% positive response rate from audiences. 

On Instagram, Lil Nas X’s Durex post received over 2M likes — more than any other post on his album’s release day. Durex achieved its highest ever engagement rate with one, single social post on Instagram, in addition to receiving over 30K new followers. This engagement supported Durex in becoming the new category leader on the platform. 

BEN’s post-campaign research revealed that after watching Lil Nas X’s video, 75% of viewers ages 18-24 would consider buying Durex the next time they shop for condoms. Additionally, 63% of research respondents stated they were more likely to practice safe sex. Visits to Durex’s social channels also showed a 71% lift between audiences exposed to the video vs. unexposed audiences, a remarkable 3350% lift in search for the terms “safe sex,” “condoms,” “contraceptives,” or “sexual health.”

To date, the music video has more than 125M views and is an iconic piece to Lil Nas X’s lineup of bold and eccentric music videos. By bringing together Durex and Lil Nas X, BEN facilitated a critical campaign centering sexual health and the LGBTQ+ community that was effective and impactful. This campaign was centered on the trust that BEN could find the right moment for the brand to organically align with the perfect creator. 

Media

Video for When Stars Align: Durex and Lil Nas X

Entrant Company / Organization Name

BEN, Reckitt/Durex

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