“Manforce Condoms has been a pioneer in communicating the female side of the story”
Manforce Condoms from Mankind Pharma, today is one of the largest selling condom brands in India.The brand has been successfully leveraging social media and moment marketing to increase traction and engagement. The association with brand ambassador Sunny Leone has also given the brand the additional edge.
This apart, Manforce has been actively associated with some of the high profile on-ground sporting events. In 2016, the brand became the title sponsor for the Patna Pirates team in the 3rd season of Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi League. It has also been associated with Indian Premier League (IPL) teams like Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Capitals.
Manforce’s campaigns have been focussing on not just birth control and safe sex, but also actively communicating with women and highlighting issues like protecting childhood.
In this interaction with Adgully, Joy Chatterjee, DGM, Mankind Pharma, speaks about Manforce Condoms’ advertising and marketing strategies over the years, business operations during the lockdown period and more.
Manforce Condoms witnessed steady growth in sales in August unlike most other categories. What was the strategy behind the successful campaigns?
Manforce Condoms, being one of the largest selling brands in India, has seen its due share of fluctuations in sales during the pandemic like any other brands in the industry. While initially the unprecedented situation had triggered large-scale anxiety amongst individuals, but eventually with things settling it led to an increased intimacy among couples. With the initial lockdown that was announced by the Government, 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. With life coming back to normal and the government easing the lockdown, the sale of condoms is witnessing a steady sales trend. In the month of August, Manforce was the only the brand in the category showing positive growth trend.
Could you share some insights about the condom industry, what behavioural changes were noticed and what has been the impact of COVID-19 on the industry?
The Coronavirus outbreak triggered fear amongst people, leading to a consumer behaviour shift. However, a different kind of trend was noticed with condom sales going through the roof when it comes to stocking up after the lockdown announcement. There was a noticeable increase in the sale of condoms since the time of the shutting down of offices and markets from the e-commerce sites as well.
How has Manforce Condoms changed its communication and marketing strategy over the years?
Manforce Condoms has been a pioneer in communicating the female side of the story. Our communication has been a game changer in this category. During the initial launch years, we were active across all major media, be it TV, Magazines, Newspapers, Hoardings and other Transit Media. Campaigns with Sunny Leone as the brand endorser have been a huge success and very successfully Manforce has established itself as the India’s No. 1 brand in the category consistently over the years. We have been pivotal in adding a pleasure angle along with protection and have been the undisputed kings of flavour in the category.
With each passing year, we have evolved with the changing scenario. Social Media has become critical in recent times. Content has to be specific platform wise – audiences on Instagram differ from Facebook. To reach our right audience, we are curating platform wise specific content and special campaigns which are meant for digital audiences only. We have worked on projecting ourselves as socially responsible with our award winning #ShutThePhoneUp Series. Our Instagram creatives are quite quirky, with a lot of focus on moment marketing – thus making the brand more relevant for the audiences. Our creatives get listed on major marketing portals time and again. With such narrow targeting options and other advertising possibilities in the digital space like OTT and Influencer Marketing, definitely the orientation with which you connect with your audiences has evolved for good.
What has been your media mix for marketing? How does social media impact your marketing?
There are a few platforms that have helped us a lot in connecting with our consumers, especially the youth. The platforms are social media, in-film integration and airport branding.
The trending things on social media are leveraged through moment marketing by the brand and we have been actively engaging with our consumer through moment marketing on social media. From the cricket updates to the Mumbai power cut, we have leveraged every small and big moment that was breaking the Internet, we still continue to thrive on this model.
Also, 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 and interests.
Our award winning campaign, ‘#ShutThePhoneUp’, gave out a strong message of having safe sex in the light of technology, urging people to ‘shut their phone’ during their intimate moments and how filming sexual activities, especially with a partner, can spark future repercussions.
Airport branding in the major metros have high traffic influx, thus giving us required eyeballs. This media choice has worked positively for the brand.
Another is in-film integration as a content peg for communications and we had officially collaborated with many movies lately. One of the most noticed was in the movie ‘Luka Chuppi’, that has resulted in embedded marketing as well as social media promotions, we got a chance to break the stereotypes, weave narratives and put forth content that is rich in quality.
Being an affordable brand, how do you manage to reach the remotest parts of the country? Does the communication strategy change?
The strong distribution has helped us reach people in almost all the regions across the country at a price range of Rs 5 to Rs 10 that fits every pocket. We primarily target men SEC A, B & C (18-34 years old). We have been actively communicating with women too. Mainly because they are now becoming vocal in expressing their preferences and act as the prime influencers when it comes to choosing the product/ flavour.
The rural market is still small in India and contributes to about 28% of the 1,500 crore condom market in India as per the Nielsen report. Usage of condoms in smaller pockets has increased in the last few years.
Smaller SKUs, different flavour range and heavy POS spread have been instrumental for rural penetration.