Manforce says ShutThePhoneUp yet again...

By Deepashree Banerjee , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital
Published : December 06, 2018 04:05 AM
The condom brand launched the first leg of this campaign a year back. A look at the new video.

Manforce Condoms, a subsidiary of Delhi-based pharma and wellness company Mankind Pharma, is back with a second instalment of its viral campaign "Shut The Phone Up 2.0" and like the previous one, this digital campaign also attempts to unearth yet another fact. The campaign tries its hand at taking the conversation forward by raking up the biggest myths around data security. Most smartphone users believe that all data is erased after formatting their phones. That's not entirely true; the data can be retrieved through software which is readily available on the internet. The lack of awareness around this subject poses a potential threat to every smartphone consumer.

The latest digital film showcases one such predicament - a couple has to negotiate a difficult deal for their old smartphone containing intimate moments which they thought were erased. The spot is not here to tell us about the premium quality of the product; it's here to enlighten us to the fact that even after your phone is formatted, the data can easily be retrieved and potentially used for nefarious purposes.

With brands increasingly warming up to cause-vertising, issues that plagued society and were not openly discussed, are coming under the spotlight.

Cyber-bullying has become the Achilles Heel of technological advancement and by showing a way to combat this menace, is Mankind successfuly positioning itself as a socially responsible brand? While one could argue that the brand has not been able to build on the earlier spot in terms of creativity, have they taken a step in the right direction by giving a call-to-action in the new spot?

Akashneel Dasgupta Akashneel Dasgupta

The brief from the brand was to take the conversation forward still keeping a married couple in mind, Akashneel Dasgupta, senior vice-president and executive creative director, ADK Fortune, tells us. "The last time, we had left the conclusion to the imagination. This time, it was to alarm people of the consequences that can arise if the phone falls into the wrong hands. Our objective was to highlight the irreversibility of an act like this," he states.

Manish Kinger, creative head, Liquid, an IPG agency (earlier known as Bushfire), admits that he loved the first instalment of 'ShutThePhoneUp'. According to him, how it delivered on the challenge of giving a new meaning to 'safe sex' was nothing short of path-breaking and it was definitely one of the few good shocking pieces to have come out last year.

Manish Kinger Manish Kinger

With regard to the latest film, he says, "I believe the big challenge was to take the idea (and element of shock) forward without being predictable. Did that happen? I don't think so. Within 10 seconds of the film, you know how it's going to end thanks to the dozen-and-more films that came before. The performances, much like the writing, are ordinary. And because the journey to the message is so un-engaging, the message loses its shock-steam. It is extremely difficult to create a sequel to something good; this film, unfortunately, is no exception to that," states Kinger and we certainly agree.

When asked what he would have done differently, Kinger promptly responds, "I would start with the story..."

But, is there an alternative? All thanks to our age-old cultural conditioning, from sex-education in school to drawing-room conversations, we, the 'sanskari Indians', have resisted addressing the elephant in the room for generations now. This rather 'controversial' category often finds itself in a soup between the advertisers and the regulatory authorities.

For Rayomand J Patell, executive creative director, Havas Mumbai, the first instalment of the series #ShutThePhoneUp seemed over the top in terms of just way too much drama and hammed performances.

Rayomand J Patell Rayomand J Patell

The second one continues where the first left off, with an almost DAVP (Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity); a 'Pay your taxes' sort of stern admonishment of not filming your private moments and/or storing them on your phone. "It's incredible that a brand of condoms should have such an archaic viewpoint," says a sardonic Patell.

In fact, he stresses on an interesting point, "Young people armed with cell phones aren't going to stop filming themselves any time soon; in this era of code being king, they could have done so much more with an app to actually protect your most intimate memories with industrial grade encryption. Instead, there seems to be a regressive point of view which is surely out of sync with present times," he explains adding, "The current digital leg of the films, such as it is, is merely a 'How To' litany of instructions, which anyone with a smartphone would know already."

The massively missed opportunity, in Patell's opinion, is embracing a valid behaviour in society and offering a solution to protect it, as condoms are supposed to do.

"Currently, the link between safe sex with a condom and keeping your cell phones safe, is somewhat tenuous at the wordplay level alone," he states.

ALSO READ: This video by Manforce Condoms has a chilling message...

But, keeping in mind the decreasing attention spans among viewers isn't it equally important for the advertisers to be able to define/shape their agenda sooner and with more clarity? Isn't using fear as a mechanism to get viewer attention a risky proposition and runs a chance of creating a negative impression of the brand?

Arvind Jain Arvind Jain

Arvind Jain, CEO, NetBiz, a digital performance-driven agency, seems to agree and responds, "Personally, I would have shot the spot in a fast-paced manner, indicating the urgency of the issue. The execution could have, therefore, been suggestive rather than persuasive."

As part of their thoroughly digital campaign (which includes a combination of a long-format film with digital activations), Manforce has created a dedicated page on their website which provides tips on how to thoroughly erase your smartphone's data.

Interestingly, other major rival brands (Durex, KamaSutra, Moods and Score), on the other hand, have traditionally maintained a safe distance with the rural consumers for years and so far, haven't undertaken any awareness campaigns.

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