MPower condom wrappers

MPower condom wrappers

Oxide Design Co., Omaha, Nebraska, 2003


Design problem

The assignment was to design an informational condom package for MPower, a division of the Nebraska AIDS Project focused on HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs for gay and bisexual men.

Distributing free condoms is one of the HIV/AIDS prevention programs MPower has regularly engaged in. The problem has been that people are often hesitant to take condoms displayed in local venues, even if they’re free, because of embarrassment or worries about how the act might be perceived. So, in addition to MPower’s desire to convey specific information such as condom use and the AIDS hotline number, the paramount design problem was “How do we make it cool or hip or fun to take free condoms (and then hopefully use them)?”

Deisgn approach

A great deal of front-end brainstorming was involved until a viable solution was selected. Various members of the client team (who share many of the same demographic characteristics as the target market) were used as informal focus-group participants. Final design and copy were developed from the selected concept and tested in the same informal focus-group approach.

Design solution

The parameters of this project were somewhat strict in terms of size and functionality. The piece needed to contain a single condom without increasing its size dramatically; in addition, the budget did not allow for a great deal of custom package design. Size and shape were set in stone, so our solution had to be implemented through the content of the packaging.

The first step of our solution was to develop what was originally expected as a single package into a matching collectible series of six, to increase the interest and longevity of the finished product. Finally, our main design solution uses kitschy art and bad double entendres to make it hip for club goers to reach for the condom bowl.

Project impact

While objective or numeric criteria are difficult to set for a project of this nature, the end product exceeded all subjective expectations. The condoms created a buzz through the community, and people proudly took them from the clubs in handfuls, even collected them in multiple sets. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they were often seen in large numbers at personal house parties of the intended audience.

There is no way to measure the use or effectiveness of the condoms once they are taken, so Nebraska AIDS Project measures the impact of the project by gauging how quickly the free condoms are taken. This set of condoms was taken from the clubs significantly faster than any previous free condom distribution. The standard assumption is that the more condoms are distributed, the more are being used to stop the spread of HIV. The wrappers also contain vital information on effective condom use and a 24-hour AIDS hotline number, so there is value in their dissemination, even if the condoms inside them are not being used.

Budget was approximately $8,000 spent on concept, design, illustration, production and printing (4,000 units each of 6 wrappers, for a total of 24,000 wrappers).

Juror Notes

The tome and manner of this design is very good: makes you pick-up the package and hopefully helps start the necessary conversation before having sex.

Collections: AIGA 365: 25 (2004)
Discipline: Package design
Format: Package


Design firm
Oxide Design Co.
Creative director
Drew Davies
Art director
Drew Davies
Drew Davies
Drew Davies
Drew Davies
Elman & Co.
Printing method
Westvaco Tango 12 pt. coated 1 side
Avenir, New Century Schoolbook
Nebraska AIDS Project