Unlike the classic Hunters and Collectors song, Big Richard founder Lloyd Perry didn’t just wake up from a strange dream when he decided to embark on his crusade to create a successful new condom brand. In fact, when he began his journey, he wasn’t even thinking about condoms at all.
It all started back in 2005 with the name. Big Richard. Big Dick.
“Everyone always says to me, ‘Why did you start a condom brand?'” Perry laughs.”I actually bought the TradeMark back in 2005. I just had a flash of insight that “Big Richard” was a really cool brand name for a clothing brand. The very next day I secured the Trademark in Australia and then I used the Madrid protocol to get the trademark all around the world.
“Then, I literally went onto the IP Australia website, and I just had this thought – What about condoms?”, said Perry. “And I thought, ‘Big Richard condoms… Yeah, that’ll work too, I’ll just buy that too’. And so I bought the Trademark in condoms.”
With international Trademarks on the Big Richard names in place, the Big Richard company was all set to take off. But it wasn’t in condoms that the company would start its life. Instead, Perry decided to try his hand as an underwear brand.
“I started doing clothing because every man and his dog owns a little clothing brand – or that’s how it feels sometimes, anyway – and it was achievable for me with just my own little bit of savings,” Perry explains.
Needless to say, Big Richard underwear didn’t really take the highly competitive fashion market by storm. But the idea behind the name was good enough to entice providence to step in and take the Big Richard name to its natural playing ground – condoms.
“I was pitching my brand to a group of about 60 people, and there just happened to be an investor in the crowd who I found out later that he sold a business to Fairfax for 20 million bucks. And he said ‘Mate, I love what you’re doing, but forget about the clothing thing, just do the condoms.’ So that’s how we got to here,” Perry says.
And it’s a perfect fit. Perry told us that two key pieces of research proved that they were on the right track – firstly, that 16 to 24 year olds make up 53 per cent of all condom purchases Australia. Stretch that to the 16-30 age bracket, and that number jumps to about 80 per cent. Secondly, that this key demographic feels alienated by both the current condom offerings out there and the marketing. Knowing this, Big Richard set out to be a little different in its approach.
“Condoms is overwhelmingly a youth product category, yet all the other brands out their are very clinical, very boring. We spent a lot of time talking to our target market and the language that they used to describe current condom marketing was like ‘tacky’ or ‘cringeworthy'”, Perry tells us.
“People buy brands that they see a part of themselves in, and there was no brand out there that they associated with in the current condom landscape. And the Australian persona is a very larrikin idea, so that’s what we wanted to build with the brand – a fun, cheeky Australian condom brand, but at the same time really premium, really up-market. You know, if you’re a top Aussie shagger, then you shag with Big Richard condoms.”
Uniquely Australian and with a cheeky sense of humour, Big Richard is still relatively new to the Australian condom scene. But it’s evident that its approach is already gaining traction with its core audience. The Big Richard Facebook page currently has 3,043 fans, compared to 4,568 for Ansell and 2,749 for the Four Seasons brands. Given the brand only launched onto the condom scene last year, it’s a clear indication that it is doing something right.
Of course, it helps that the company actually sells condoms directly from its Facebook page, which is a nice way to deal with the fact that they currently only have limited retail ranging around Australia. Available in City Convenience store, Pulse pharmacies, On the run in Adelaide, plus a variety of independent retailers and sex shops around the country, Perry is hoping to break into the major supermarket chains soon.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum with the high disposable income youth market, but [supermarket chains] are not easy to get into. We certainly want to pitch to them soon, but they’re like Fort Knox…” Perry confesses
On the upside, Perry’s decision to get Trademarks around the world is already paying off, with the company about to begin distributing to Ghana in Africa.
“We’re going to be launching into Ghana in Africa very soon. It’s the strangest situation, but we’ve encountered a distributor over there who has fallen in love with the brand and who absolutely, absolutely want to launch the brand over there,” Perry confesses.
“We do have interest from the UK, USA, Japan, Sweden and New Zealand, but first we’re going to launch into Ghana. It’s very cool for us too, because Africa is the front line in the war against AIDS, so we can do some real good there as well.”
It’s still early days for Big Richard’s Great Condom Crusade, but the company certainly looks to have the longevity. There’s probably a bad joke in there somewhere, but we’ll leave that for you to come up with.