"Now, the shopkeeper can store condoms next to candies..."

By Suraj Ramnath and Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 27, 2017
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... says Rohit Jindal, Marketing Director - RB India, marketer of Durex, about his new product 'Durex Jeans', available in packs of two.

Is Durex diversifying into apparel? Will Durex make jeans for girls too? Is Durex making condoms made of denim?

These were the kind of questions youngsters asked one another over the past 48 hours, after Durex, condom brand from the house of RB India, tricked people with a teaser ad film featuring Ranveer-DoTheRex-Singh.

In the teaser video, the actor says, "Hi guys! Durex is launching jeans, and I'm going to be the first one to wear it - (winks, goes into dressing room, takes jeans off) - hey guys it fits really well!"

Here's the truth: No, Durex is not planning to launch a range of denims. Durex has, in fact, launched a new line of condoms called 'Durex Jeans'.

Pack shot of the newly launched Durex Jeans

Positioned as a 'new age condom', Durex Jeans is being marketed on the back of its packaging - a 'slim pocket pack'. Durex Jeans will be available in packs of two, priced at Rs.25.

Rohit Jindal

At the retail level, the product will be displayed in a transparent jar. Rohit Jindal, Marketing Director - RB India, marketer of Durex, tells afaqs!, "Now, people can just go to the store and ask for a 'pair of jeans'... the shopkeeper can store these packs of two next to the candies... Also, this pack doesn't have the usual 'couple in an intimate position' image on it. It is a pack with a picture of jeans on it. It has been designed to reduce the awkwardness at the purchase level."

The target group comprises 'first timers' and youngsters in the 18-25 years age bracket.

The final ad (a 45-seconder that is being aired on TV) was released on Friday. The campaign has been created by Havas Worldwide.

Buzz Versus Creativity

The teaser, and consequent jeans-condom confusion, is being dubbed a 'gimmick'. RB India's Jindal responds cheerily, "They are welcome to say that. They might be right. Who am I to judge the experts?" adding, "It is a joke. No matter how serious we want to make our work, we have to play a relevant part in a consumer's life... and one of the concerns they have in life is sex. We have to be able to talk about it in a light-hearted manner. Otherwise it is a very serious conversation."

Going on to tell afaqs! that the campaign has already reached over 10 crore people, Jindal says, "We have got queries from world over asking us what we are trying to do... most people were 80 percent sure it's a condom brand, some were only 20 percent sure - hence the buzz."

About the new pack of two, Jindal tell afaqs!, "Currently, in India, we sell packs of three and packs of 10 condoms. In markets across the world, we have packs of three, five, 10 and 15. But a lot of our consumers here told us they're not comfortable buying packs of 10 and that they'd prefer buying only two condoms at a time."

Does the ad fly?

Is creating buzz the sole objective of a brand today? What about putting the right message out? All said and done, isn't it risky to let the consumer assume you are launching a certain type of product whereas actually you are not? We spoke to a few communication experts about this marketing gimmick.

Mark McDonald, head of creative, Mumbai, DigitasLBi, India, a digital agency from the house of Publicis, says, "Is it a pair of jeans? A new condom variant? Or an elaborate April Fool's joke? That is the question."

Mark McDonald

Carlton D'Silva

Rajiv Dingra

"While the teaser doesn't give anything away, it does do its job, which is to get people talking," he says, adding, "The flip side is - does it confuse consumers, and misdirect them to a product that doesn't exist? Perhaps it does."

McDonald adds, "While the teaser could come across as a bit cheesy - and the Twitterati are having a field day with jeans and condoms - what's heartening to note is that the brand hasn't just left it to the teaser to pique your interest. Their social media handles have enough surround content to keep you guessing, with influencers adding their two-bits to the excitement."

In the days ahead, the brand, he feels, has a lot of scope to do cool, interesting stuff using the jeans metaphor, "without getting too carried away down the whole denim route."

Carlton D'Silva, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, a WPP group company, calls the teaser "beautiful," because "It's meant to cause intrigue and it does just that. You make a trailer for a film to cause intrigue and curiosity so that you show interest in the same... this works on the same lines and it's great."

Any word of caution when executing marketing gimmicks of this sort? "Just be true to the tonality of the brand and you will be fine. A brand like Durex should be smart..." he answers.

So the teaser got everyone talking. Some newspapers even reported, erroneously, that Durex is all set to launch denims. Does the final ad live up to the hype? Or is it, well, one big anti-climax? - (no pun intended!) Rajiv Dingra, founder and chief executive officer, WATConsult, a digital agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, says, "For me, the final ad was not great. It seemed a bit confused as while Ranveer was shown taping things, which implied the obvious, it wasn't about the USP of the product... all they showed was the girl dropping Durex and a super on how it fits in a pair of super skinny jeans too. Somewhere, the key message got lost..."

In this ad, Durex, he feels, uses Ranveer, a potentially powerful brand ambassador, as "just a model." The brand's famous 'Do the Rex' ad "was much better." He adds, "In this case, the shock and awe factor (of Durex possibly launching jeans) was the bigger hero than the actual reveal ad."

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