Relate Hornicultural Society: Time to wrap up granddad

relate.2Old people… you just keep ’em down; in more ways than one it seems. You see, while it is well documented that over 65s do love dilly-dallying in the dahlias and pottering in the polygonums, it transpires they also like to fornicate in the forsythia without adequate protection – and we are not talking gardening gloves either.

Enter – quite literally – relationships charity Relate which is launching a garden centre campaign to tackle the issue, with PHE research revealing STIs among the over 65s are at an all-time high.

Created by Ogilvy UK, the activity features a series of vegetable-themed condom packet designs, looking much like vegetable seeds, which will be displayed in garden centres.

With a nod to the most popular cheeky vegetable emojis, the range features aubergines, plums, courgettes, onions and avocados – forming a fully sustainable condom collection that can even be planted in a pot to biodegrade.

By bringing the sexual health debate to an unexpected environment like a garden centre, the campaign aims to break down taboos and get people talking about later life sex.

The campaign launches nationwide today across digital out of home screens in partnership with Clear Channel UK, featuring close-up shots of suggestive vegetable seed packets under the banner of ‘The Hornicultural Society’.

This is the third instalment in Relate’s ‘Let’s talk the joy of later life sex’ campaign which aims to tackle the stigma around this all-too-often unspoken subject. STI infection has more than doubled in the past ten years among UK adults aged 65 and older. The sustainable limited-edition condoms, supplied by HANX, are available through the Relate website.

Relate director of communications and engagement Sarah Milsom said: “Sex and intimacy can be important at any age so there mustn’t be a taboo around talking about safe sex in later life. Using the unexpected backdrop of a garden centre and focusing on gardening-themed innuendo helps to grab attention and engage people of all ages, encouraging important conversations and breaking down taboos.”

The campaign is a follow up to the 2021 campaign ‘Let’s Talk The Joy of Sex’. The original campaign saw British photographer Rankin shoot five older couples and one woman in their most intimate settings and explored everything from long-term love to new adventures, tender intimacy to the more risqué.

Ogilvy UK chief ECD Jules Chalkley commented: “The simple fact is it that many of us need intimacy now more than ever, and communication is the bedrock of healthy and happy relationships. As a society we are obsessed with love and affection, it can be easy to forget that simple authentic conversation is what defines connection, happiness and intensity.

“The audience we are talking to don’t realise they have this problem. They’re not looking for it. They’re not listening for it. And they are certainly not going into high street chemists to ask about it. So, partnering with Relate, we decided to crash the number two favourite weekend activity into the number one. We wanted to use the love of gardening to solve the problem of STIs.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, we must admit, we do love a bit gardening here at the Decision Marketing Nerve Centre, and we’re nowhere near 65 (honest) and have never been part of the “free love” movement. Some of us grew up in the Eighties, where condoms were the order of the day after the Government frightened everyone to death with “AIDS tombstones” pronouncing “Don’t die of ignorance”.

Some people never learn but this activity should certainly grab the attention of the oldies, who, after all, should really know better.

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “put a cloche on it” 8 out of 10


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