• Kate Neilson

Have sex with Jonny and save the world

Did you know that you can engage in an A-grade bang fest whilst also doing your part to make the world a better place? How, you ask? By purchasing and using Jonny, the condom of the future.

With a percentage of each purchase going towards supporting women and children, paired with their eco-friendliness, Jonny is bound to give you a big old soul boner and will have you stripping down & bumpin' uglies faster than you can say, "Heeeerrre's Johnny!"

We had a chat with Co-Founder Bec Park (who created Jonny alongside Samantha Eades & Bec Villanti) who talked us through Jonny's mission, setting up the brand and her thoughts on the existing culture around contraception.

Describe Jonny’s vibe using three words.

Audacious, Witty, Humanist!

What lead you to co-found Jonny condoms?

It was a very organic process. In sharing our own stories around sex and partners, we got onto the topic of contraception, condoms, and all the chemicals and artificial hormones associated with these products.

Through this discussion we realised that there was an opportunity in the market and we started researching. At the same time it became really apparent how outdated the marketing of condoms is in the marketplace - as a mother of a then 13 year old daughter - I was appalled at how sexist the industry was, and how little it had evolved since I was a teenager. It's no wonder there is still so much shame and awkwardness attached to the purchase and use of condoms - for both men and women! We then became really motivated to change that perception and experience.

Jonny condoms don’t look like your regular run-of-the-mill condoms, talk us through your design choices.

Jonny is a humanist - gender neutral. We have been really protective and proud of this notion for Jonny. We always wanted a look that appealed to both genders.

It was really, really, really important to create a brand that stood out from what consumers typically expect from a condom brand. No pictures of naked men or women; nothing about how large they are; nothing that made you want to bury the pack to the bottom of your basket. We wanted to create a product that people would be proud to carry, or have sitting on their bathroom shelf.

So we went for the minimalist, almost cosmetic approach. Wrap that up with a bit of wit and the whole experience becomes that little more enjoyable. Our tone of voice sprinkled over all our packaging for Jonny is really important. Jonny wants you to have a laugh about it all, or at the very least make you smile!

$1 from every Jonny purchase goes towards a cause that supports women and girls, through i=Change. Why did you choose these particular charities?

The 3 pillars of Jonny have always been - Be Good to Self; Be Good to Others; Be Good to the planet.

Giving back/helping others, was an absolute priority for us when developing what Jonny stood for. This was a core part of our business planning.

We were introduced to I=Change through a mutual friend Cristina Re. We loved everything the organisation stood for. We had a really hard time choosing the 3 charities - we wanted to give to all! We also love that Jonny customers get a say in which charity they want the portion of their sale to go towards. It's a beautifully inclusive model.

Trafficking & Child Marriage are abhorrent activities that we can’t believe still exist in 2018. Anything we can do to help stop this, we will. That's why we chose our 3 organisations. We live in a privileged and protected society for the most part. No child should have to endure the atrocities these children have. At this stage we are donating money. In the future we hope to offer our time to these causes.

How long did the business take to set up; from concept to research stages and then launching?

Too long! We started working on Jonny a few years ago - we planned to launch summer of 2016/17 but we ended up launching January 1st 2018. The concept & product research stages were the fastest to develop; it was all the communication tools around it that took longer than we expected. Everything happens for a reason though.

When we started creating Jonny the #Metoo movement didn’t exist. Very quickly the landscape shifted a little. This was incredibly serendipitous. All of a sudden there was an willingness to talk about “tricky” subjects more openly than before. People are ready for more open and authentic conversations. Jonny is all for openness.

You’ve previously mentioned that you think the condom industry is degrading towards women. Can you tell us about Jonny’s part in changing this?

Checkout this controversial 2012 Durex campaign:

Like - seriously! How does Durex think this is OK?

I could give you many more examples. It is so unnecessary to communicate/advertise like this. I can guarantee there are a large number of men who also would feel uncomfortable with this connotation. Look at the subliminal (or not so subtle) messaging that is going on here! Why do the companies still communicate like this? It's irresponsible to say the least.

The key way we are trying to change this with Jonny is unabashedly reframing the way we talk about sex. Jonny is about establishing intimate equality. Consensual sex, with mutual respect at its core, can be a wonderful experience for all parties involved.

Jonny is about using open and witty conversations to reframe how young people perceive their role in their own sexual experiences. We want people to feel proud about insisting on the use of condoms during sex. If your partner doesn’t want to, then they aren’t respecting you. Is this the person you want to be intimate with?

What’s has been one of the best lessons that you’ve taken away since launching Jonny?

Patience and Persistence! Things take longer than you anticipate, so you need to be patient; but without persistence nothing would get done!

What has been one of the biggest challenges?

At this stage, it has been about staying true to what Jonny stands for and not wavering. We've had fantastic conversations with numerous people (men & women) of varying ages who blatantly state that buying and using condoms is a man's responsibility - full stop! And there are those who just believe that the conversation is just too sensitive to have openly and unashamedly.

"Jonny is about establishing intimate equality. Consensual sex, with mutual respect at its core, can be a wonderful experience for all parties involved."

In your opinion, how can we change people’s opinions that condoms aren’t sexy?

Respect is sexy.(Self respect and respect for others).

We can start to shift people's opinions by talking about it. If we can infuse a little fun and humour into the conversation then this helps break down feelings of shame and awkwardness. I am not sure that condoms will be perceived as sexy - but respectful, safe sex is very sexy!

Tell us about your Get Lucky Club.

Get Lucky Club is our subscription service which we have had an overwhelming response to. You can sign up to have Jonny delivered to your door every 4 or 8 weeks. You can opt in or out of this at any time. It's such a great service, just like Who Gives A Crap. We are looking at how we can make the delivery process even faster e.g. same day delivery in some states, so stay tuned!

Jonny condoms are vegan-friendly and come with their own individual (environmentally friendly) disposable bags. That, topped with your partnership with i=Change, leads us to believe that your customers are practically saving the world, one hump-a-thon at a time. Is this a fair assessment?

Totally! Love this! Yes, I suppose you are right!!

Images: Vlad Savin - @vladsavinphotography.

For more information, head to www.jonny.com.au and follow Jonny on IG @choose_jonny.

Kate Neilson is the Founding Editor of Twenty Something Humans. She likes to eat her toast in bed and feels awkward writing about herself in third person. Lurk her @katiepotatierose.

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