Aishwarya Ramesh

Manforce Condoms targets non-metro markets with regional content on online mediums

Mankind Pharma’s condom brand has changed its communication stance, touched upon social issues and endorsed safe sex - all in a span of 15 years.

It’s been 15 years since Mankind Pharma entered the sexual wellness space with its brand Manforce Condoms. Manforce competes with TTK Healthcare’s condom brands Durex, Store and Kohinoor, as well as Raymond Consumer Care’s KamaSutra condoms.

Now, Manforce is shifting its communication strategy and looking beyond the metro and Tier-I cities. We learned that the rural population is still sceptical about using condoms and, so, Manforce ventured into regional content on social media in a bid to increase awareness on the topic. Most of the regional content on the brand's page targets Hindi speaking audiences in the country.

With its ad campaigns in the past, Manforce Condoms, as a brand, has tried to raise awareness on various topics. In 2017, it released a campaign titled #Shutthephoneup, which talked about the risks involved in shooting videos of intimate moments on personal smartphones. In 2020, the brand released a campaign titled ‘#ProtectChildhood’.

Actress Sunny Leone is the brand’s ambassador since 2017, and has starred in multiple ads for Manforce Condoms’ different variants over the years. During the 2020 COVID-induced national lockdowns, the company had released a series of ads about working from home - cautioning couples to use protection, while spending time together in lockdown.

In an interview with afaqs!, Joy Chatterjee, general manager, sales & marketing, Mankind Pharma, highlights the importance of vernacular language advertising, and talks about the changing attitudes of Indians towards condoms and contraception.

Edited excerpts:

Q: How have you developed your marketing strategy over the years? How has Indian’s attitudes towards sexual wellness products changed over the years?

A: Manforce has always strived to spread the message of safe sex. What’s most important to us is to normalise conversations around safe sex and condoms. To do this, in the last couple of years, we have shifted our communication strategy to position ourselves as a socially responsible brand.

We ventured into regional advertising, understanding the importance of vernacular language for establishing a better and personalised line of connection with the potential consumers residing beyond the ambit of metro cities.

With time, we have been leveraging various social media and marketing tools to increase our traction and engagement with the audience. Consumers, today, are aware and view any sponsored content with suspicion. So, we came up with influencer engagement activities and campaigns to tap into the trust and loyalty that the influencer shares with their audience.

Regional influencers have an impressive influence on, and a much deeper connection with, their audience. This helps the brand in initiating conversation with its audience at a much better pace. Along with this, we have kept a close watch on the trending topics on social media with the help of moment marketing. We actively engage with the consumers.

With consistent media exposure and evolution in society, contraceptive discussion/acceptance has drastically improved over the years. We now see very open conversations happening about some of the most unconventional topics.

Joy Chatterjee
Joy Chatterjee

Q: Considering that contraception is a sensitive topic in India, how is the brand spreading the message of safe sex beyond metros to Tier-II and III cities of India?

It takes lots of time, courage and dedication to be the largest selling condom brand in a country like India, where public talk of sex is still largely a taboo. We faced many challenges in the beginning and found it really difficult to sell a condom in India.

We, at Manforce, realise that contraception is a need across all strata of the society. At Manforce, we have different SKUs for different market segments. We believe in penetrating across all socio-economic classes and, hence, have relevant products for each of them.

Considering that the rural population is sceptical about the usage of condoms, we ventured into regional content to increase the awareness amongst the audience. Looking at their incessant consumption of online content, we intensified our activity across social media platforms to reach out to potential consumers beyond metropolitan cities. Social media also helped us personalise our messaging according to the requirement of the specific audiences.

Q: What's your take on moment marketing? How do you stay relevant in the world of social media that is largely cluttered with brands trying to make their presence felt there?

A: In this socially active era, moment marketing is that tool which helps us enhance our connection with the audience. It is also very resourceful in grabbing the attention of new audiences. The high shareability quotient of branded content provides the opportunity for instant and quick interaction with the audience.

We are not just focussed on promoting our product, but strive to normalise conversation around the sensitive issue of sex and, at the same time, strengthen awareness around the importance of sexual wellness.

Q: Tell us about your media mix spending for the new ongoing campaign #TravelWithManforce. How was it conceptualised and ideated? How did you pull it together?

A: Vacations are the ideal opportunity for couples to indulge in sex. With the approaching vacation season, Manforce, as a brand, felt it was a duty to encourage couples to add condoms in their travel kit to exercise safe sex during their vacation. Therefore, we came up with #TravelWithManforce campaign to spread the message.

To reach out to the large audience base, we leveraged diverse social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to maximise our visibility and give mileage to the campaign. To further amplify our reach, for the in-market audience who is actively looking to travel to our selected destinations, we are using Google Search and targeting specific travel websites through our display campaigns. We will also be driving contests through Facebook and Instagram, which will result in user-generated content to engage our audience more with the campaign.

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