LifeStyles Debuts Web Cartoon, Contest

Ansell Healthcare, manufacturer of the LifeStyles latex condom brand, is turning to an animated Web cartoon to educate consumers — and to push its product.

The Red Bank, N.J.-based company’s cartoon, using Macromedia Flash, shows do’s and don’ts for properly using a condom. An animated, living condom, with arms and eyes — dubbed “the condom guy” — demonstrates proper use.

Beginning April 1, Ansell also plans to promote a contest based on the character. Customers are encouraged to submit their names for the condom guy online through May 15, for a chance to win prizes including a year’s supply of LifeStyles condoms, cash, and LifeStyles-branded merchandise. Furthermore, the winning submission will be used with the animation on the Web site.

“It’s a humorous approach to a very serious topic,” said Ansell Vice President of Marketing Carol Carrozza. “Obviously, technique is very important because improperly donning a condom can damage it or reduce its effectiveness … We’ve created this Flash animation and character on to teach consumers the right way to put on and use a condom.”

Carrozza also said the contest’s launch, timed to April Fool’s Day in the U.S., is meant to “reinforce the idea that it is foolish, even dangerous, for men and women to be ignorant about responsible sexual behavior.”

LifeStyles revamped its site last month to reflect what it says is a new advertising strategy focused on couples and healthy, loving relationships. In previous years, the brand used racy campaigns, such as the award-winning “Haven’t Gotten Any in Awhile?” spots from 2000.

While still rare, online cartoons have recently been finding favor among traditionally offline advertisers. Last month, diamond mining giant DeBeers’ marketing subsidiary, Diamond Trading Company, created a Web cartoon chronicling one man’s efforts to find the best diamond ring for his girlfriend. That ad ran on the Web site of Dennis Publishing’s Maxim men’s magazine.

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