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Manforce Condoms aims to capture 50% market share by 2023
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A look at Manforce Condoms' communication journey

Manforce Condoms aims to capture 50% market share by 2023

A look at Manforce Condoms' communication journey
  • As Manforce Condoms launches its latest campaign, we take a look at the brand’s communication journey and dissect its marketing strategy on different mediums.
  • Rajeev Juneja, CEO, Mankind Pharma walks us through this journey and speaks about the challenges faced by a condom brand in India, its increasing focus on becoming a socially-responsible brand, goal to increase its market share to 50% and overall marketing strategy.
Commercial condom market has witnessed a huge change in its style of communication. From talking about birth control in late 90s to the act of lovemaking in early 2000 to engaging in safe sex, it has come quite far.

In the last three years, sexual wellness giant Manforce Condoms has shifted its communication strategy to try to position itself as a socially-responsible brand. It took the internet by storm in 2017 for its campaign #ShutThePhoneUp, which aimed at driving awareness about the risks associated with recording one’s private moments on the phone.

And now, Manforce Condoms has launched another campaign with a social message. This time, the sexual wellness brand is talking about curbing the rise in child pornography.

Titled #ProtectChildhood, the campaign wants to give a message to all parents to be vigilant, keep a check on their kids and try to look for truth beyond what they see.

According to India Child Protection Fund (ICPF), there has been an alarming rise in the demand of child pornography since the lockdown. A leading pornography website also revealed that traffic from India has increased by 95% as compared to the average traffic pre-COVID. As per another report submitted to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were more than 25,000 cases of suspected child pornography.

Speaking about why the brand decided to work on this campaign, Rajeev Juneja, CEO, Mankind Pharma, said, “Children are naive and vulnerable and they need to be monitored 24X7, it is the responsibility of the parents to keep their childhood intact. In the lockdown, children have started spending more time on the internet, especially with the new normal of online classes during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

After Manforce Condoms came across the research study, it wanted to reach out to as many parents as it can.

Juneja added, “For us, responsibility towards society comes first. So, we wanted to inform and make parents aware of the sharp rise in the content of child pornography and give a strong message to #ProtectChildhood. Through our campaign we request and urge parents to not leave their children unattended and have complete control over their online activities. They should have regular conversations and build a friendly relationship with their children, and keep them informed of the current situation. While the internet has many positives, it does have a dark side, and it's the responsibility of the parents to not leave their children unsupervised.”

Manforce Condoms’ marketing strategy

Most ads in the commercial condom category focus more on the sex appeal and pleasure of sexual attraction. But sex is still a taboo in India and condoms brands can start a conversation to bring about change and erase the stigma around it. There are so many topics that Indians feel uncomfortable discussing such as women enjoying sex, sex toys, social issues related to sex such as early pregnancy, abortion, etc.

With ShutThePhoneUp and #ProtectChildhood, Manforce Condoms did talk about something very important. However, Juneja says that the brand is just getting started and it intends to strengthen its position as a responsible condom brand.

He said, “As a responsible brand in the category, we believe in spreading the message of safe sex, safety can be from numerous things within this space. Our #ShutThePhoneUp series helps reach the right audience and give out a strong message on how to keep themselves protected and be aware of their surroundings. We intend to add more wings in this basket of communication and spread awareness.”

Manforce Condoms uses every opportunity it can to connect with its consumers. Last year, it even explored movie marketing with Luka Chuppi.

On why Luka Chuppi was the perfect fit for the brand, Juneja said, “Manforce indulges in movie marketing when the association is lucrative and the brand manages to garner significant engagement. The brand associated itself with Luka Chuppi as an official collaboration, resulting in embedded marketing as well as social media promotions and we got a chance to break the stereotypes, weave narratives and put forth content that is rich in quality. It was a seamless integration in the story line and yet served as a reminder to our audiences.”

It even played a prank on its consumers once by announcing a fake launch of an absurd desi Achari flavour and went viral. “Manforce Achari was a Prank launch meant to increase our page engagement and traction which it very well did. Our audience was left in splits after this post. Truly Indians prefer the desi twist in their flavours,” said Juneja.

When it comes to social media, Manforce Condoms is known for its moment marketing. Today, consumers are addicted to social media platforms and they live in the moment. Juneja said that it's very important for the brand to catch the attention in that time span and they never miss an opportunity to maintain regular engagement with its audience.

From cricket updates to Google changing its logo, Manforce Condoms has tried to latch onto every moment that breaks the internet. It continues to thrive on this model. “Social media has been a great platform for us to engage with our consumers, with the scope of narrow targeting we can connect with the right consumer with demographic, geographic & interests,” said Juneja.

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It's coming, FINALLY. #MirzapurSeason2

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Now redirect your shots the other way. #PUBGBanned

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Its brand endorser Sunny Leone has also helped the brand carve a niche in the market and increase brand recall rate.

“Almost all our Main Product Ads with Sunny Leone have always managed to give us a phenomenal response across all media,” said Juneja.

Challenges of communicating in the commercial condom market

It is not easy to operate in a market that needs more awareness but has the most restrictions. As a condom brand, you always have to find the thin line between sleazy and sensual. So, in a society, where there are numerous restrictions, Manforce Condoms has learnt to play safe over the years.

Speaking about the media restrictions, Juneja said, “Restrictions continue on traditional channels be it TV or OOH as well in digital space. However, there are few platforms that have helped us a lot to connect with our consumers, specially youth. The platforms are social media, in-film integration & Airport Branding. Airport Branding in the major metros have high traffic influx thus giving us required eyeballs. This media choice has worked positively for the brand.”

“Over the time, we have changed our creative look and feel by using subtle and sober images but yet suggestive in terms of their message. A lot of tweaking has been done in terms of film production. We try to ensure there is less ‘skin show’ and more focus on the message. Thin line between lovemaking and vulgarity is very sensitive, we are really cautious and critical of the creatives that go out in the media. The key is to keep the portfolio strong and be relevant to your audiences in terms of the communication strategy. We have learned to operate well in the given restrictions,” added Juneja.

Growth story of Manforce Condoms

During the lockdown, e-commerce platform Snapdeal saw a 30% increase in the sale of condoms driven by demand from non-metros. More people started ordering condoms online. As a result, Manforce Condoms also saw an uptick in the initial period.

“The sales of condoms did see a boom with everyone stocking up in advance. However, with the unanticipated nationwide lockdown that continued for the next two months, there was a drop in sales but not due to the decrease in demand, but mainly because of the temporary supply challenges,” shared Juneja.

With life coming back to normal, and the government easing the lockdown, condoms are witnessing a steady sale.

Adding on how the revival period has brought cheer for the brand, Juneja said, “The numbers have been fluctuating since the lockdown, however its temporary owing to basic restrictions and apprehensions that the pandemic has brought about amongst individuals. The nation had come to a standstill with the lockdown. Now each one of us is getting accustomed to the new normal and adapting ourselves back to routine and regular lifestyle, the brand is witnessing a steady growth in sales. In the month of August, unlike the category and rest of the brands, we have seen 2% positive growth and spike in Market Share going up to approximately 32%.”

Mankind Pharma’s Manforce Condoms is the largest seller in the category. As per IQVIA Consumer Health Retail Audit Data – MAT, Manforce Condoms had a 32% market share in August 2020, followed by Kamasutra at 9%, Skore and Durex at 7%, along with the local brands.

By closely engaging with its consumers and continuing to spread awareness around safe sex, Manforce Condoms intends to increase its market share.

“We intend to increase our MS and reach the 50% mark by 2022-23, all our strategies are aligned in this direction,” said Juneja.

Rural India contributes approximately 30% to the total Rs 1500 crore condom category and Manforce Condoms’ Pan, Banana, Jasmine flavors are a hit in rural areas.

“There is indeed a wide scope of expansion in rural India. Manforce has worked on the bottom to top pyramid approach with the strongest distribution network of stockiest and wholesalers. Our brand endorser, Sunny Leone also gives us better connect due to her popularity amongst the masses,” said Juneja.

However, with power comes responsibility and therefore, Manforce Condoms is trying to move towards becoming a more responsible brand everyday.

Juneja said, “Manforce being a leading brand in the category has a larger responsibility in addressing relevant issues related to safe sex with an appeal to enthusiastic lovers to have protected sex. It is very much important to educate the people about the benefits of using condoms while having sex, as it helps to protect them from having AIDS and other serious diseases and also it helps in controlling population.”