The Wingman, a new condom from the Netherlands, has won the iF Gold Award 2014. A price which is considered the highest international distinction, “the Oscar for product design.” Newcomer Wingman now joins a line of renowned winners such as Apple, Nokia, Philips and Porsche.
It’s the first time a condom wins an iF Award – and it’s an instant Gold one
The jury panel comprising 50 top designers and experts from around the world awarded the prize based on the quality of design, the degree of innovation, the safety, universality and particularly the user-friendliness of the product. It’s the first time in over 60 years of existence of the iF Design Awards that a condom has won such a price. On the one hand a condom is not a product people associate with a design award. On the other hand it is strange that we seem to accept the fact that condoms have been far from user-friendly for decades: Putting on a condom is far from sexy; it’s a lot of fiddling around at the wrong time and it tends to decrease sensation. And how can you be expected to keep your head cool in the heat of the moment and closely follow all kinds of instructions such as squeezing the air out of the tip, avoiding contact with nails and jewelry and checking whether it is the right way up. American research (Sanders et al, 2011) unfolded that ordinary condoms have a 15% failure rate with product defects accounting for only 2%, leaving a staggering 13% that is caused by common user errors. In other words: the biggest risks are imposed on the user.
The Wingman as the user-friendly alternative to the current condom
Wingman’s designers came up with one solution for all of these basic user issues: give a condom “wings” allowing it to be applied more easily, even with 1 hand and even in the dark, without actually touching the condom itself. Because not only would such a condom allow for easier and safer use of the product, it could also be made a lot thinner and softer for a more natural feel, without compromising on safety. A condom that does what it’s supposed to do but almost without you noticing it’s even there: both while putting it on as well as during sex. Recent large-scale consumer research showed the Wingman had succeeded in its mission: 78% of its users and even 89% of its “heavy users” rated Wingman as the best condom ever. In addition to this highest customer rating, the iF Product Design Award received in January rewarded Wingman with the highest rating by a professional jury within its product group. But as it turns out the best was yet to come as Wingman even received the iF “Gold” Award – the special recognition for the very best designs selected from all winners – at the iF Awards Ceremony 2014 on the 28th of February in Munich, making it one of the 50 best new product designs in the world, across all product categories. And that is the ultimate crowning glory of any professional product developer. Who would have thought it of a condom!
Worldwide patents and ambitions
The Wingman is available to consumers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the UK and France directly atwww.wingmancondoms.com, as well as in about 100 other online shops in 20 different countries throughout Europe. Wingman’s product and model have been internationally patented. Its ambition is to become the next generation condom and gain a significant market share taking safe sex to the next level. Meanwhile, demand from retail chains, supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies has increased significantly in recent months. To have the product internationally available through large well-known retail chains is indeed high on the agenda and is stimulated by so-called Wingman Brand Partner Bonuses. The iF Gold Award will certainly contribute to accelerate the realisation of that goal.