In 1991, the SOMARC project launched the Okey condom, the first nationally advertised condom brand, and a low-dose oral contraceptive that promoted a range of low-dose brands.The social marketing of these products did not rely on reducing prices compared with those of competing products. Rather, for condoms, the programme objectives were to desensitize the issue of condom promotion, to increase the distribution and availability of condoms and to sell 3.5 million condoms in the first year. For the contraceptive pill, the objectives were to increase overall pill use, to shift the largely high-dose pill market to low-dose products and to sell 1.6 million low-dose cycles in the first year.
For both products, the project used well-established private infrastructures to administer the project, undertake distribution and cover detailing costs. For the condom, the project partnered with the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in Turkey, Eczacibasi, which took responsibility for procuring and importing condoms, project administration, distribution, product cost and a portion of promotion costs. For OCs, the project partnered with three manufacturers, Schering, Wyeth and Organon, that together represented approximately 90 per cent of the commercial OC market in Turkey. Both Eczacibasi and the OC manufacturers had strong marketing skills, which allowed them to take the lead in promotional efforts. Overall, the project aimed at achieving self-sufficiency within three years by working directly with the private sector and having the private sector cover commodity costs and, in the long-term, promotional activities.