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Durex faces flak on social media for tone-deaf ‘sex education’-themed moment marketing

The brand had used a scene from a Netflix series on sexual assault and misinterpreted it as the landmark moment of the show, one that represented power over abuse for women. However, after facing intense backlash, it pulled it down

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A latest creative of Durex India posted on Twitter has caused major embarrassment for the brand. Famous for its moment and topical marketing, the brand whilst creating another moment out of Netflix’s Sex Education Season 3 put out a promoted tweet, which faced hard criticism on social media and eventually had to be pulled down.

Netflix launched Season 3 of Sex Education on September 17. Taking on the ride of being topical, the brand’s creative featured a bus and a bus stop, with a text that said, “It’s just a stupid bus”, and then, “But it’s one memorable ride” below it.


This was in reference to the incident with Aimee in Sex Education, Season 3 when she is sexually assaulted on the bus by a pervert. After the traumatising incident, the bus scene marks the beginning of her healing process. Aimee sits with her friends, smiling at the back of the bus, sandwiched among her friends. This scene showcases the women companionship and solidarity.

Scene from the series:

The brand clarified that it wanted to refer to the later part of the incident when Maeve, Vivienne, Olivia and Lilly get on the bus with Aimee to help her overcome the trauma of the incident.

However, the reference did not come across as the way the Durex India team envisioned as it soon came under attack from netizens. Users felt selling condoms using this reference of one’s sexual assault wasn’t the brightest idea.

The criticism:

They called the creative insensitive, tone-deaf and completely in bad taste.

The brand otherwise is famous for getting social media buzzing for its rather quirky, conversational and contextual posts. Its social media strategy spreads over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and has an approach that is heavily dependent on visuals and creatives.

The out-of-the-box and sassy topical marketing posts and creative have positioned the brand as one of the favourites for many.

Although this time it fell flat on its face as it missed out the real context.

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