Sex time clashes with cricket time; Durex to the rescue

By Suraj Ramnath and Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | May 04, 2016
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The humour in Durex's latest digital ad films is hinged on naughty, cricket-related double entendres.

After entertaining netizens with its quirky #D20 Dictionary during the ICC T20 World Cup earlier this year, Durex, the condom brand from RB India, is back with the next leg of this campaign. This time, the condom brand has released three digital ad films that generate naughty double entendres for cricketing terms like 'full length', 'doosra' and 'obstructing the field'.

At the end of each ad, definitions of these cricketing terms appear on the screen, dictionary style:

Full length: Perfect length of the bat, perfect for stroke-making.

Doosra: When you've just done it, but want to do it again.

Obstructing the field: When someone causes interference during the match.

The campaign has been conceptualised by iContract.

So, how challenging was it for the team to craft communication for this product segment?

Prashanth Challapalli, executive vice-president and digital head, iContract, tells afaqs!, "The challenge is to not get carried away. Also, like any other brand, Durex has a code of conduct and a brand construct. We have to achieve a tonality that doesn't tip over into risqué or raunchy territory - that can backfire immensely. We need to be careful about how we portray women. We can't objectify them. The brand can easily be seen as sexist. The advertising guidelines from platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and ASCI are strict and pretty black and white - you can suggest and tease, but it shouldn't titillate or be vulgar. That is a huge challenge."

He adds, "One of the things we consciously did was to give the woman a greater and more aggressive role in the films. Usually men take the lead, but in this case, we wanted women to start the fire."

Prashanth Challapalli

Rohit Jindal

Going on about the brand problem the agency was tasked to solve, Challapalli says, "In T20, especially during the World Cup and the IPL tournament, games are played at night. That's prime passion time for couples. Cricket, a national unifier, is a villain when it comes to intimacy and sex. How can we champion sexual intimacy and also sell more condoms when cricket occupies all the mind space? That can be achieved by not making cricket the villain, but by making cricket your ally."

Cricketing terms, he finds, are "surprisingly pliable to sexual connotations." That's how his team cracked the idea of the #D20 Dictionary. Social media posts on various cricketing terms are also part of the campaign. Durex has also partnered with Grofers, an on-demand delivery service, to deliver condoms to consumers. Also, there was a dedicated page on Snapdeal to boost the sales of Durex condoms.

Rohit Jindal, marketing director, RB India, says, "While cricket as a sport unites the entire nation around major tournaments, Durex as a brand believes that nothing should get in the way of great sex. As the cricket fever sets in, we are encouraging couples to keep enjoying safe sex as well."


Navin Kansal

Hareesh Tibrewala

Navin Kansal, national creative director, Indigo Consulting, a digital agency that belongs to Leo Burnett, says, "The humour is pretty much on-the-ball. To have a relevant context to the content makes for easier dissemination. The videos seem to have been conceived with the intent of making them topical, and are therefore, getting noticed. Sex and cricket is a potent combination, so the formula and the intent were right. Viewers who will share it are the ones who think they stand to gain social currency in their network, with this kind of content."

Would a campaign like this work on TV? "If the targeting is precise, a case could be made for it to air on TV. However, the visual grammar of the videos - and opening slate and the glossary pun overlays - makes it better suited for digital," Kansal opines.

Hareesh Tibrewala, joint chief executive officer, Mirum India (formerly Social Wavelength), a digital agency from the WPP stable, says, "I think the script is clever and gets to point quickly."

Does it have what it takes to go viral? "I think so. The ad has humour value and rides on the current cricket fever. If this were to be received on WhatsApp, I am sure it will immediately get shared in various groups," he says.

Would the campaign fly on TV? "The ads are edgy, but not vulgar. The 'full length' ad is borderline and perhaps a bit unsuitable for a TV audience," Tibrewala says.

Following are the still ads of #D20 Dictionary Campaign.

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