After a communication hiatus of four years, KamaSutra, condom brand from JK Ansell - a 50:50 JV between the Raymond Group and Ansell International, an Australian company - has launched a national campaign. At the heart of this campaign is a minute long ad film that features a dancing couple.
Interface Communications has created this campaign.
The TG comprises men between 18 and 35 years, from SEC A, B and C. Focus, of course, is on the younger lot or the "new entrants into the category" as the brand team puts it. Though the brand does have a fair amount of "residual awareness" in general, the team now feels the need to generate trials among younger consumers.
We asked Ranju Kumar Mohan, director and business head of JK Ansell, about the brand's absence from mainstream media and the timing of this marketing effort. "For the past four years, we were focused on regional campaigns, press and digital ads," he says, "The brand was doing well; the product extensions were doing well... but then we realised that we were losing a bit of the core mother brand. That's when we decided to launch a campaign around it."
Mohan adds that his market research revealed that consumers readily associate KamaSutra, the brand with Kamasutra, the literature. "That's when we thought of linking the two and launching a campaign around sex positions," he explains.
Besides the 60 seconder, 10 second edits will be aired as well; each will show one position. Besides YouTube and social media, the digital leg of the effort includes a QR code campaign across malls, retail outlets, outdoor hoardings, taxis and bus panels. At each touch-point, the line 'Learn KamaSutra In 60 Seconds' will be displayed along with a QR code, which, when scanned, will take people to the brand's website and eventually, the ad film. Each media platform will have a separate QR code; this way, the team will know which one generates maximum interest.
The first reaction of Krishna Padhye, managing partner, creative, Utopeia, a brand marketing consultancy, was: Is this a condom ad or a deodorant ad? "Today, communication for most deodorant brands falls within this kind of territory. So, that was a bit confusing for me," he says, adding about the execution, "The film has high production value and is aesthetically shot."
The brand, he infers, is clearly trying to appeal to the youth. Padhye, adds, though, "More than anything else, they seem to have focused on shooting it artistically and making it look crisp. Something's missing - perhaps more glamour."
"It's not a bad ad, but it has nothing that I will recall... nothing stands out. In fact, the film may not even tell me it's a condom ad," he says, but is quick to add, nevertheless, "It's certainly one of the better condom ads today. It has more class than Durex's Do The Rex film with Ranveer Singh and Manforce's ads with Sunny Leone. This one's definitely about quality over sleaze."
The ad, Roy opines, is more sensual than sexual, and the dance, he feels, is "very Western Salsa-isqué," something quite far from the Kamasutra heritage of India. "This ad," he reasons, "probably caters to the more intelligent, mature part of the audience."
Vinay Kanchan, independent brand consultant and creative thinking trainer, says, "If there's any brand that has shaken this otherwise silent category, it is KamaSutra," referring to the brand's famous launch film (1991), featuring Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson. The tagline then was 'For the pleasure of making love', a stance that made people think of the product in a context other than that of safety and protection.
About the current ad, he says, "Given the word 'Kamasutra', it would have been better to have an Indian dance instead of a Western one; there's a bit of a disconnect there."
Even so, Kanchan points out, "In most condom ads, the actual ritual of love making is understated. But this ad puts the ritual right the centre of things."
He cautions, "Just this ad is not enough. It could easily pass of as a film for Jaquar bathroom fittings! So the ad is just the starting point. The strategic opportunity lies in generating conversations around the art of love making."