Suraj Ramnath
Advertising

"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC

Skore Condoms' recently released ad film - which appears to ride on the clichéd lesbian fantasy - has begun grabbing attention. The brand has spent Rs 5 crore for this campaign. A condom is as much a woman's product as it is a man's, says the brand team. A look at the effort.

The three-year-old condom brand Skore Condoms, a product of TTK-PDL, has released an ad film that appears to ride on the clichéd lesbian fantasy. In the ad, a female security guard frisks a lady in a manner that is, presumably, designed to titillate.

The campaign has been created by McCann Chennai. The media agency is Mindshare Chennai.

"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
We asked Vishal Vyas, general manager, marketing, TTK-PDL, marketer of Skore Condoms, about the strategy. Do women drive brand preference in this category today? "We are not directly marketing to women. The woman is, definitely, a great influencer when it comes to condom purchase, but it is mainly the man who decides. We are just disrupting the notion that it is a man's product. It is targeted primarily towards the male partner and the secondary partner is female," he tells afaqs!.
"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
Vyas adds, "... the man is the decision maker in this category; women definitely have some influence on the brand preference because ultimately it is a couple's product. We want to disrupt the notion that it is only a 'male product'."
"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
The brand's core TG (target group) comprises men in the 18-25 years age bracket, from SEC AB. Psychographically, this consumer is fun-loving, unconventional, and open about his sexuality, we learn.
"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
About the media mix of the campaign, Vyas tells us, "Digital is where our audience is active. Also, we will be moving to print once we finish our TV campaign."

As regards the creative execution, Vyas goes on, "The ad is about the patting down of a girl by a female security officer; this is how they normally do it. We just slowed down (the video) to create viewer interest."

"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
The brand team has ear-marked Rs 5 crore for this campaign. "Skore is relatively new," explains Vyas, adding, "There are 30-40 year-old-brands in this category. We are in a phase of creating our own brand awareness. Our spends are quite high compared to the industry norm. This year, we are spending more or less the same amount of money that we spent last year. So, in terms of incremental growth, we are not increasing our ad spend, but overall, we are spending good amount of money."

In conversation with afaqs! about the ad, Sunil Thoppil, vice-president, creative, McCann Erickson Chennai, says, "The brief given to the agency was to present the product as 'bolder, better and naughtier'". This is the catchphrase used in the campaign. "It was decoded as 'be bad, be fearless'. We are re-defining the conventional notion of bad. Bad is the new good. Bad is daring, bad is being fearless, and bad is being bold," he adds.

"There is no explicit lesbianism we have shown," he insists, "It is implicit in the mind of the viewers. This is how security checks at international airports normally happen. We have only slowed down the film. If you sense any lesbianism in this ad, it is only because the film is slowed down. A condom is as much a woman's product as it is a man's. A condom is a gender neutral product. To my mind, it really doesn't raise any question about lesbianism. If at all, it raises a question about gender equality."

Titillated?

To Priti Nair, co-founder, Curry-Nation, an advertising agency, the strategy behind this campaign is not evident. She says, "There is no strategy. It has got no meaning. What is it trying to say? It is a funny ad. They could have done it in a better manner. If the security guard is lesbian and the lady who is using the condom isn't, then why 'Bolder, Better, Naughtier'? It is just to scandalise and make people talk about it. There is no strategy in this."

"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
"We want to disrupt the notion that a condom is a 'male product'": Vishal Vyas, Skore Condoms, on his new TVC
While Nair sees merit in targeting women, the creative execution has not gone down well with her. "The set-up shown is not okay; no woman is going to like being touched this way. This is an ad made just to tantalise men. I don't think there is a big philosophical strategy to this. The dialogues aren't good, nor is the black-and-white imagery. No woman will carry condom packed on her hips. Everything looks forced," she says.

According to Nair, Fastrack's lesbian-themed ad film had more "meaning."

Naresh Gupta, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Bang in the Middle, an advertising agency, on the other hand, feels targeting women is a smart move on the part of the brand. Involving women as the "source of buying condoms", and to get them to say, 'we also use the condom', is, according to Gupta, a "nice thing."

He says, "From a strategic point of view, moving from targeting men to targeting women is a great thing, but they should have gone deeper into understanding that argument."

Why so? It moves the conversation away from the typical "male conversations," one sees in condom ads. "There is a certain language that every condom brand uses, like flexing muscles, which is not happening here... that is good. There is a visual difference in the advertising," he explains.

However, about the creative execution, Gupta says, "It is terribly created. For instance, when the security guard carries out her search -- I don't know why they have done so. It takes away the entire impact the communication could have had. They are trying too hard. They are letting people take whatever they can out of this ad."