Thursday, November 30, 2006

In Praise of Strawberry Condoms

December marks the start of thestrawberry season. So it is but apt that for December 1, which is theWorld AIDS Day, strawberry is still the tops.
According to Victor C. Bruan, Northern and Central Luzon franchise coordinator of DKT Philippines, the biggest producer of condoms in the Philippines, strawberry is the most preferred flavor."
Strawberry has a sweet scent and evokes good things," Bruan said. DKT produces the Trust and Frenzy condoms, which controls 70 percent ofthe national market.Bruan said that the 2nd most popular is unscented followed by chocolate."Actually, there's no flavor, it's just the scent," said JuliusMatabia, who works for the men having sex with men at the Social Hygiene Clinic in Baguio City."
People feel more comfortable with strawberry," Matabia added.
Other condom flavors here include chocolate, strawberry and unscented for Trust and orange, banana and mint for the Frenzy brand which DKTis marketing for the younger generation. Other condom brands like Okamoto, Sensation and Durex have either strawberry or unscented flavors.
In this very Catholic country, DKT is following the tact of most reproductive health nongovernment organizations by going for nichemarketing instead of tackling the whole population.
Frenzy, for example, is advertising in men's magazines and their advertisements come out in cable channels also targeting adult males like Jack TV, AXN and MTV but their spots also come out in the major Philippine channels in the late nights.
DKT is also selling condoms at selected supermarkets and gasoline stations.Bruan also said that they have started a novel marketing scheme which caters to remote barangays, where there is what demographers call"unmet need" for family management services.
Philippines has an unmet need of 17 percent in 2003, up from 20percent in 1997. But that is still high because it means that 17 out of 100 women can not find contraceptives if they wanted to.
DKT started "POP Shop" last year which gives franchises to barangayhealth units or even individuals so they can sell DKT's other products like contraceptive pills and injectables and lubricating jelly.Bruan said that in his area, he already has 89 POP Shops. He said that prospective business partners need no initial cash outlay and pay only P25,000 up to P50,000 for the seed stock.
In return, the franchisee get product modules and brochures and an outlet signage.There are also promotional materials given as well as uniforms and flyers for the franchisee.
All those who availed of the franchise in his area are local government units, after the national government has decided on promoting only natural family planning methods.
International aid organizations had also phased out their programs of donating contraceptives to the LGUs, leaving the latter to fend forthemselves. Bruan said that the more remote municipalities are more successful in handling their POP Shops. He cited Paracelis Municipality, which already had re-stocked their supplies.
"Other towns like Sagada and Bontoc have stores and pharmacies where they can buy their condoms. For Paracelis and other remote towns, we are the only source," he said."


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