Durex Launches 'Rex Talk' With Ranveer

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | December 02, 2014
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Yesterday was World AIDS Day. On the occasion, Durex, condom brand from Reckitt Benckiser, launched a campaign that urges people to talk freely about sex. The campaign features brand ambassador Ranveer Singh, last seen gyrating, oops, we mean, doing the Rex on YouTube.

After getting people to 'Do The Rex', Ranveer Singh, brand ambassador for Reckitt Benckiser's condom brand Durex, now wants people to 'Talk The Rex'. On the occasion of World AIDS Day (December 1), the brand launched a campaign, crafted by Creativeland Asia, to promote safe sex, something that's possible only if people first take to talking about sex openly.

Durex India World AIDS Day Campaign

Campaign promotion on Snapdeal

Durex India Website

The MTV India campaign microsite

Sajan Raj Kurup

Nitish Kapoor

The message is - 'Make love without fear'. Singh conveys the message through a two and a half minute-long ad film (there's a shorter, teaser film as well), which is a monologue in which he talks about the perils of not talking openly about sex. The premise is, by conversing freely about the subject, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and sex crimes will reduce.

Durex is promoting the campaign on social media, through the hashtag #RexTalk. The brand has also invested in full page print ads across leading newspapers; the copy reads, 'Protect Yourself From Bad News'.

Sajan Raj Kurup, founder and creative chairman, Creativeland Asia, asks, "What better way to start (the campaign) than to take over the front page of newspapers and news portals with a powerful message like this?"

Interestingly, all through yesterday, Durex offered condoms at the price of Re. 1 per piece, on DuexIndia.com and on its partner portals Snapdeal and Flipkart. The brand has also partnered with MTV, popular youth entertainment channel, to launch a talk show called 'Rex Talk'. It's essentially a two week 'boot camp' that will have 16 contestants, divided into four teams, who will perform tasks that revolve around social problems - the kind of problems that typically arise because people are afraid to talk about sex/ask for condoms. The show will be hosted by VJ Anusha.

Nitish Kapoor, managing director, Reckitt Benckiser India, says, "As global category leader, Durex is passionate about sexual wellbeing and understands the importance of connecting with the youth in India. Through 'Rex Talk' we aim to encourage youngsters to engage in open conversation around safe sex, and consequently raise awareness around the subject. We want to demystify the stigma attached to it."

Partnering with MTV for this campaign was a "no-brainer", says Kapoor, as both Durex and MTV are youth brands; the association will help the brand get its message out to the right audience. Flipkart and Snapdeal, he adds, have a very high volume of daily transactions, each, making them great online partners for this sort of initiative.

As Creativeland Asia's Kurup shares, the brief from the brand team was to develop an integrated media approach to the campaign, that puts the message across to the entire nation, at once. Hence, the media plan includes website captures, newspaper front page takeovers, YouTube ads, and Twitter and Facebook promotions.

Recall that last year Durex had partnered with MTV Staying Alive Foundation on World AIDS Day. Titled 'Someone Like Me', the digital campaign was aimed at promoting better sex education, globally. As part of the effort, around 10 million condoms were distributed across 63 countries.

From Doing the Rex to Talking the Rex...

One can't help but compare the current film with the brand's high-decibel 'Do the Rex' video (created by digital agency Digitas Lbi) released earlier this year. Creativeland Asia's Kurup admits the dance video was present at the back of his mind while ideating on the current campaign. In fact, that necessitated "utmost honesty towards communicating the brand message clearly," he says.

Nimesh Shah

But does the current campaign cut it? According to Nimesh Shah, head, Windchimes Communications, a digital agency, the song and dance routine in the previous film shook people up and gave the brand the requisite attention.

"RexTalk is a logical extension as it follows up with 'actionability'," he says, "After all, any brand becomes more relevant once it has involved its users."

Shah however believes launching the campaign on World AIDS Day and offering condoms at Re.1 on e-commerce sites, is tactical alright, but "slightly lame."

"The campaign," he explains, "should quickly move away from merely suggesting that condoms will protect you from AIDS, to a larger debate on the subject of sex. That is the only way to increase chatter around, and longevity of, the campaign."

He also cautions the brand against straying too far from the "boldness" it exuded in its previous film, something he believes is the very "essence" of the brand. Durex, opines Shah, is in an interesting position (no pun intended, we're sure) to carry out several innovations in the digital and print space, in the days ahead.

It's an open secret that Indians hesitate when it comes to talking freely about sex. And the extent of this discomfort is evident on the brand's website for India; on the right side of the page, there's a tag that says, 'Hide Site'. When clicked, the images instantly change from condoms and sexual positions to those of cute, furry pets!

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