According to the recent Guinness ads, the average male thinks about
sex every six seconds. Not Patrick Legrand. He thinks about it every
second of the day - and he gets paid for it.
The 46-year-old Frenchman has just been appointed divisional managing
director of Durex condoms by London International Group, and as such is
responsible for arousing a global interest in condoms, from Malaysia to
’It’s going to be very challenging as you have to take into account the
barriers and taboos in each local market. It’s an embarrassing subject
for many cultures and in some countries you can’t advertise on TV or in
the press,’ he says.
He is, however, well used to dealing with sensitive subjects. As
vice-president sales and marketing Tambrands Southern Europe, Legrand
was responsible for launching and promoting Tampax worldwide, in
countries as diverse as China, India, Russia and South Africa.
’The issues you have to take into account when marketing tampons and
condoms are basically the same. You have to listen closely to local
markets and understand local issues.
Education is key to both - particularly in developing countries.’
Obviously, Legrand does not embarrass easily, but wouldn’t it be easier
to stick to products with a lower blush factor, say, bread or baked
’I’ve absolutely no problem discussing delicate topics and I enjoy
working in more demanding areas, although this job will be easier than
the last in that at least I can experience the product for myself.’
Legrand first dealt with feminine hygiene products at Tambrands, where
he was responsible for launching First Response, a pregnancy test.
Legrand’s marketing plan for Durex is to build the brand into a global
This means that local brands with such titillating names as Ramses and
Kingtex will eventually be phased out to create a single brand identity
under the Durex name.
However, different external designs will remain to take local
sensitivities into account. In Middle Eastern markets, for example, it’s
forbidden to show a woman on pack.
’The ultimate goal is to have the Durex name on all packs and to have a
unified strategy in each market. This will have to take place gradually
to avoid losing customers loyal to any brand with a much older heritage
than Durex,’ he says.
While health issues and education are a priority for the brand, Legrand
says it is important to emphasise the more pleasurable aspects.
He intends to continue the ’Feeling is Everything’ campaign currently
running on MTV. ’The problem is, people don’t believe you can have the
same quality of sex when using condoms. We need to reinforce the fact
that, as well as providing quality and protection, we can provide the
Legrand will also be studying the latest Durex Global Sex Survey,
published last week, which reveals everything from which nation is the
most faithful to which has the most stamina.
Legrand found the report on the sexual habits of 10,000 sexually-active
adults in 14 countries ’fascinating,’ and enjoys the fact that it
surprises many, including his Italian colleagues who were horrified to
discover they were not in the top three of the ’most sexually-active
He was not so amused to find that one in four people are now sexually
active before the age of 16, perhaps thinking about his teenage children
living in Paris. He is keen to relocate his children to London, a city
which Legrand thinks is the most interesting in the world.
’Because of his travelling experience, Patrick is able to pick up on
different cultures and their mannerisms and adapt to them very quickly,’
says Steve Carrigan, account director at FCB, which ran the Tambrands
campaign. ’This was invaluable during his time at Tambrands, where he
successfully handled the difficult task of applying a global strategy to
very different local markets.’
One of Legrand’s most exotic trips was to Jamaica, where he was based
while on military service. It was the late 70s, the height of reggae,
Legrand’s favourite style of music. ’I love music. In fact, I should be
at the MTV Music Awards right now, but unfortunately I’m too busy
talking about condoms.’
He’d better get used to it. With the latest figures showing that people
of all ages across the world are having more sex than ever before,
Legrand’s brand has plenty of room for growth.
Born in Algeria
MBA from ESSEC Paris
Product manager, Unilever, Elida Gibbs,
Product group manager, Johnson & Johnson,
Vice-president sales & marketing, Tambrands Southern Europe,
London International Group, Division managing director.