A German condom brand is promising to bring ‘fun and functionality’ to the £46m UK market when it launches into grocery later this year.

The Billy Boy brand, which holds a 25% share of the German market according to owner Mapa Spontex, is set to roll out to UK supermarkets this spring. The UK Billy Boy line-up will comprise a range of eight condoms that come in a variety of colours, textures and flavours (rsp: £2.99/three-pack and £7.99/10-pack), plus a lubricant Fun Gel (rsp: £5.99).

“There is an opportunity to give condoms a fun edge rather than it all being about functionality,” said Mapa Spontex UK MD Chris Clarke, who added that the brand would target 16 to 24-year-olds.

“We offer all the protection and promote safe sex, but research has revealed that preaching to the younger generation does not necessarily translate into safe behaviour,” he said. Clarke admitted that Brits’ attitude to sex presented a challenge, adding that the brand was “excited to tackle the embarrassment and shake up the stagnant category”.

Launched in Germany in 1990, Billy Boy is sold in several European countries and has just secured listings with Walmart and Walgreens after expanding into the US two years ago.

Mapa Spontex, which has a UK office in Worcester and will sell Billy Boy directly to retailers through a distribution partnership with DHL, soft-launched the brand in UK pharmacies late last year . It was now gearing up for a mainstream launch with marketing through festivals and social media under the strapline ‘Bang on with Billy Boy’.

It will be squaring up to Reckitt Benckiser’s Durex, which accounts for £38m (83%) of the £45.8m condoms market, followed by Ansell Consumer Healthcare’s £4.5m Mates [SymphonyIRI 52 w/e 1 Dec 2012].