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Sunday, 7 April, 2002, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Brazil's passion for football condoms
Football condoms: A Brazilian success story
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By the BBC's Isabel Murray
In Sao Paulo

Football, one of the things Brazilians are most passionate about, has finally reached the world of condoms.

A new line of condoms, carrying the logos of the most important Brazilian teams, went on sale at the beginning of February this year - it has already become one of this year's commercial success stories.

One of its trump cards is a TV advertising campaign in which supporters wear caps with their teams' colours in the shape of a condom.

"We are using a different strategy to enter this market, which is a very static one here in Brazil," Renato Marson, general manager for the Dharman group, which owns the brand, told BBC News Online.

Sales strategy

"We combined condoms and football, and by doing so managed to attract young consumers, who were not previously in the habit of practising safe sex on a regular basis. And this strategy worked."

Advertisement for the condoms
Adverts show supporters wearing team caps in the shape of condoms
Just in February, the month of carnival, a total of three million football condoms were sold. The company's goal is to sell 35 million units this year.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, over 300 million condoms are sold per year in Brazil.

Health benefits

Another 200 million are given away as part of family planning programmes and initiatives aimed at preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and Aids.

The Ministry of Health is happy with the success of the football team condoms.

It is the first time that an advertising campaign encouraging safe sex, not financed by the government has appeared on Brazilian TV.

Flamengo club condoms
Flamengo Club condoms are the fastest sellers
"The level of success was more than we had expected," says Renato Marson.

"But we are selling the condoms in places not normally associated with this sort of product, such as news stands and bakeries."

Not surprisingly, the teams with the largest numbers of supporters are the top sellers.

Flamengo Club, in Rio de Janeiro, which claims to have the largest number of supporters in Brazil, leads the ranking with sales of 750,000 condoms.

Sao Paulo's Corinthians, the second largest in terms of supporters, is in runner-up position - with a total of 650,000 condoms sold to date.

See also:

27 Mar 02 | England
Record price for Pele's shirt
23 Aug 01 | World Club Championship
Football's new century begins
17 May 01 | Americas
Brazil facing football blackout
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