How Durex cleverly uses influencer marketing to trigger conversation around its new product launches
A closer look at Durex’s larger marketing strategy
Reckitt’s Dilen Gandhi, Regional Marketing Director shares Durex’s marketing mantra

How Durex cleverly uses influencer marketing to trigger conversation around its new product launches

Reckitt’s Dilen Gandhi, Regional Marketing Director shares Durex’s marketing mantra
  • Reckitt’s Durex has launched its first-ever product innovation for the Indian market, thin flavored condoms.
  • It got around 12 influencers to spark conversations on social media about bedroom distancing to create interest around the launch of its new product and advertisement.
  • The brand is trying to expand its reach in Tier II and III markets with its latest innovation.
  • Dilen Gandhi, Regional Marketing Director, South Asia – Health & Nutrition, Reckitt talks to us about the campaign, larger marketing strategy that has helped Durex become one of the category leaders in less than six years, focus areas for H2 2021, and larger vision for the brand.
When Reckitt’s Durex launches a new product in the market, it is hard to miss it because there’s a massive conversation on the social media universe involving multiple A-list influencers and celebrities. The brand knows how to build curiosity and hold consumers’ attention till the very end. Durex usually starts its campaign by giving its consumers a little sneak peek with a poster. To build on this buzz further, the brand shares some intriguing data points which encourage consumers to talk about their own stories. It is followed by a teaser, influencer collaboration, and finally the big reveal - the product advertisement.

In the past, Durex had used a similar strategy for its product Durex Mutual Climax Condoms and Invisible Condoms. For the former, it started by telling people on social media that nearly 70% of women in India don’t orgasm every time they have sex. It eventually announced the launch of its product with a campaign. It spoke on the issue of orgasm inequality by normalising conservations and providing product solutions for both men and women so that they #ComeTogether, thereby helping reduce the orgasm gap. For the second product launch, Durex’s Invisible Condoms, it used a counter-intuitive approach and asked consumers to forget condoms. The idea was to create interest around its thinnest condoms.

For the launch of Thin Flavoured Condoms that come in Chocolate, Strawberry and Bubble gum, Durex followed a similar route. It divided its campaign into three legs: get people talking on social media about #EndBedroomDistancing, launch the TV spot that employs a metaphor to demonstrate how Durex Extra Thin Flavoured condoms can help end it and the third act of the campaign continues the conversation with memes and influencer posts. The campaign is conceptualised by Havas Group India.

The first leg of the campaign saw participation from celebrities and influencers like Harshvardhan Rane, Badshah, Abhijeet, Prateek Babar, with posts on their profiles wondering what’s bedroom distancing. Two days later, Durex announced India’s thinnest condoms. The same influencers also posted a second set of videos on their respective profiles, revealing what the buzz was all about, and then came the final commercial unveiling the product.

According to Durex’s consumer survey, over 60% of condom sales in India are in the flavoured condoms category. However, it identified a gap: the focus in the category has primarily been on flavours and not on product innovation addressing intimacy issues faced by the consumers in this segment. And that’s how the idea of launching thin flavoured condoms was born. This is Durex’s first product which is primarily made for India.

Sharing the insight behind the campaign, Dilen Gandhi, Regional Marketing Director, South Asia – Health & Nutrition, Reckitt said, “The objective of the campaign was to get everyone talking about it. This is the first time we have created an innovation specifically for the Indian market. To make people aware of this innovation, we decided to take the ‘classic Durex route’ -- create a campaign that could actually lead to a lot of conversation. The difference between Durex’s advertising and many other brands is that we put consumers at the heart of our marketing. Our campaigns always have something intriguing, which pulls the consumer in and this time, this whole notion was bedroom distancing. We take something that is topical, this time, unfortunately, it is the notion of social distancing and combine it with something unexpected, which is what leads to conversation. Reduction of distancing here is in with the promise of the product to bring both partners, physically and emotionally, closer.”

Durex partnered with 12 influencers and celebrities to create buzz around its launch. It followed a simple filtering system: how popular is the influencer among its target audience, how well does their market image fit with Durex and how credibly will the influencer convey the message. It is due to the brand’s partnership with influencers that there’s a lot of chatter on social media around its campaign and Gandhi is hoping that this would translate into ROI and sales on the ground.

Becoming the second largest player in 6 years

Condoms are still a hush-hush concept in India and condom marketing is an equally tricky business. So it is important for condom brands to create conversations that are risque and yet tasteful, and Durex has mastered it over the years. It is because of its strong marketing strategy that the brand has grown from strength to strength. Six years ago, when Reckitt launched Durex, it was competing against Manforce with a 32.4% market share, followed by Moods, Skore, Kamasutra and Kohinoor. In 2017, it onboarded Ranveer Singh to cater to India’s youth. In 2019 came its revolutionary campaign, Orgasm Equality and Durex started working on building an inclusive conversation in the category. With its Bees and the Birds campaign in 2020, Durex upped its marketing strategy by catering to adolescents through art and literature. When most brands in the category objectified women, Durex spent huge marketing dollars changing the narrative, targeting them and establishing itself as a brand that cares about making a difference. Its active moment marketing has also helped Durex stay on top of the mind.

According to Neilsen, the condom category is dominated by Manforce with a 32.4% share in value, followed by Durex at 13.8%.

So we asked Gandhi about what worked for the brand, it's larger marketing strategy and success mantra. He said, “The most important metric for us is, obviously, business results. We are very focused on ensuring that every marketing dollar that we spend gives us a return in terms of business results. The leading indicator for us is driving conversations, sentiment, reach, and frequency. Ultimately, we are looking at equity.”

“Our marketing objective has always been to normalise talking about sex in India. Now, the challenge for us is how do we keep getting better,” added Gandhi.

For the rest of 2021, Durex would be focusing on making its Thinnest Flavoured condoms more available in our country and working on campaigns that redefine pleasure

“It is more than just a market share game for us. It is about shaping the category, we try to offer the unexpected to our consumers. While we are focused on business results, we believe results will come not just from market share but by redefining the category which is far more equal, inclusive and pleasurable. We want condoms to be something which is normal for everyone, something that is used for pleasure and not just for protection. Apart from that, making sure that our Thinnest flavoured condoms are available more and more is definitely a big focus area. The smaller towns are going to be a big focus area too. This innovation was created for the non-metros,” shared Gandhi.