To coincide with World AIDS Day, which is on December 1, condom company Durex is calling for a condom emoji to be added in an effort to promote safe sex.
Emojis have come a long way since they were first introduced by Unicode in 2010. Since then, Unicode Consortium has overseen the introduction of new emojis and, so far, does not have any that promote safe sexual practices. However, they do have many that suggest sex.
According to Unicode’s official website, an emoji “are pictographs (pictorial symbols) that are typically presented in a colorful form and used inline in text. They represent things such as faces, weather, vehicles and buildings, food and drink, animals and plants, or icons that represent emotions, feelings, or activities.”
— Durex Arabia (@DurexArabia) November 30, 2015
Durex released a campaign video that urged people to use the hashtag #condomemoji in hopes of getting Unicode to add the emoji during their next update.
According to the video, Durex is requesting the emoji because they feel that “an official safe sex emoji will enable young people to overcome embarrassment around the discussion of safe sex.”
The condom emoji, created by London-based designers Shynola, can also “encourage conversation and raise awareness of the importance of using condoms in protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and AIDS,” according to Durex.
Prior to launching their campaign last month, Durex conducted their own research and found that 80 percent of 16 to 25-year-olds find it easier to express themselves with an emoji. They also discovered that 84 percent felt more comfortable using an emoji when talking about sex with one another. In addition, Durex found that more than one-third of 18 to 25-year-olds claim they do not care about safe sex and nearly half think that HIV will never affect them or those close to them. Therefore, they came up with the idea of the condom emoji to make talking about safe sex easier for the younger generation.
“In light of this research, the Durex brand is asking 1 million people to use and share the hashtag #CondomEmoji to represent their support of the creation of the world’s first official safe sex emojis by the Unicode Consortium,” said Karen Chisholm, marketing director for Durex USA.
— Durex Kenya (@DurexKE) November 26, 2015
Durex plans to submit their request to the Unicode Consortium on World AIDS Day and will include the social support they received from their campaign, which found that nearly 80 percent welcomed the idea of a condom emoji being added to the list.
“Many young people have gained their sexual knowledge through their own sexual activity and searching the internet,” said Dr. Mark McCormack, the Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Co-Director, Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities at Durham University, UK. “While participants generally felt able to discuss safe sex within their romantic relationships, there was more uncertainty with new or potential partners. Eighty percent welcomed the idea of the emoji to make the discussion of safe sex easier and more fun.”
Durex Is Lobbying Very Hard for a Condom Emoji pic.twitter.com/oqWcGUbzbA
— Brilliant Ads (@Brilliant_Ads) November 25, 2015
“Durex believes in happier, healthier sex lives and World AIDS Day is a hugely significant reminder about the importance of safe sex,” Volker Sydow, the Global Director Durex, added. “Looking at how influential messaging is in the development of relationships today, an official safe sex emoji is a simple and empowering step towards better protection and sexual wellbeing.”
What do you think about Durex’s condom emoji idea? Do you think it will help promote safe sex? Leave your comments below.
[Photo via Twitter/Durex]