This review is a part of our ‘Social Media Strategy Review’ series where we do a 360 degree analysis of a brand’s social media activity. You can read the reviews of more brands here.
Marketing condoms in general and in India, in particular, can be a tricky business. With continuous apprehensions about condom advertising in both broadcast and print, how does an international brand such as Durex present their product in the Indian market? Is there a localisation or hybridisation of content, or is majority of the content still picked from their global portals? Be it breaking myths and starting conversations around sex or using social media to create awareness, marketing condoms can extend to various domains. What is it that Durex India focuses on? We figure it out in this review.
Durex India’s social media strategy is to spread over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. With an approach that is heavily dependent on visuals and creatives, the brand shares similar content across all three platforms. The common threads comprise content around sex and the product, along with a visible logo of the brand.
Durex on Facebook
With a fan base of over 300k on Facebook, Durex caters to a huge audience in comparison to the figures displayed by its competitors. However, there is a repetitive pattern in the content posted on the page and a significant focus on a global positioning rather than sharing content that is India centric.
Moreover, the description of the fan page does not explain the brand or the product. Instead of the description given below all the brand needs to say is that Durex is an international brand of condoms. Even the website listed by the brand is not updated. The listed link leads you to a broken webpage and the current website is nowhere to be seen.
Moving to the content shared on the page, it exists only as images with no interactive elements in the content that is posted. While there are conversations around sex and relationships alongside the product and branding, no where in the picture does the brand use hashtags or content posted on their website. Despite having an online store, no links of the same are shared on the page.
Moreover, the content is reused in a cycle and is not exclusive to single use. Often the product is talked of directly, with visible packaging or conceptual additions being incorporated in the creatives. However, again, there is no link to convert it to a purchase.
In terms of responsiveness, Durex India does a decent job. In the middle of various sex facts that the brand keeps posting, a comment cropped up calling it rubbish. Durex India then responded to the comment with the source. The thread can be seen below:
Durex on Twitter
Unfortunately, even on Twitter, the strategy has ended up being similar to what is there on Facebook. The same creatives are tweeted with a small phrase; no hashtags and no conversations. Adding to the same, even the frequency of tweets is somewhat unacceptable with only 2-3 tweets being sent out in a week. The number is also seen going down to zero in some cases.
Durex on YouTube
Taking into account the low activity on YouTube, one can say that the idea of visuality in Durex’s online campaign has overall been restricted to images. Video, as a medium, is used only for television ads. No exclusive content for the web is seen, making the channel dated and redundant. The low number of subscribers also reiterate the same.
However, such a lax approach has not been a consistent occurrence with the brand. Initially, some interesting campaigns could be seen on the channel. For instance, an AIDS awareness campaign was carried around the country around World AIDS day in 2012. One of the videos from that campaign can be seen here:
This is interesting content. It is unfortunate that such original, region specific campaigns are no longer carried out or promoted by the brand.
Comparison with Competitor
While Durex is an international name, another competitor of the same is Manforce Condoms – an India centric condom brand. Because of the same, the marketing carried out by Manforce is seen to be highly local in nature unlike Durex’s international approach. In addition, unlike Durex, the brand uses ideas of brand ambassadors and sex symbols. The Indian brand has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
Manforce on Facebook
With a community size of around 40k, Manforce’s Facebook community is far behind Durex India. Similar to Durex, the approach is limited to creatives with no hashtags or conversations being weaved out by the brand. The only ‘variety’ in the type of content shared comes with the two to three video adverts that the brand has shared on their page.
Manforce on Twitter
Manforce does a lot more on Twitter than Durex India, and the result is evident in the followers of the two brands. Despite the international branding, low frequency and limited content has led to Durex settling for half of Manforce’s followers. Content ranges from creatives and videos to generic tweets calling for responses. The brand is also seen retweeting what others are saying about sex and uses hashtags to generate conversations.
The strategy is tailor made for Twitter. It might not have the perfect fitting, but well, it hasn’t been borrowed from Facebook.
Manforce on YouTube
On YouTube, apart from the existing television advertisements, there is also exclusive online content. With subscribers ranging between 250-300, Manforce is at par with Durex.
However, the brand positioning is quite different. In the case of Durex, the emphasis is on the product, while Manforce focuses more on the element of sex, with the use of sex symbols such as Sunny Leone. Moreover, even the description of the videos does not explain the what the ad is about but says, “View more naughty videos on the Manforce Condoms Official Channel.”
Manforce on Pinterest
Manforce’s pins are original and creative but inactive. By incorporating Bollywood-ised content, it is made exclusively for the Indian market. However, the low frequency followed by huge periods of inactivity is something that kills the zone. The fact that the names of the boards are not attractive/catchy enough is another thing that the brand needs to consider.
Both Durex and Manforce have a highly dated and redundant approach to social media. There is no experimentation in the strategy and the platforms are not being used to their full potential. Both brands rely heavily on creatives and do not use content from their own website. In terms of representation, while there is an emphasis on the experience of sex, health issues such as HIV protection are not something that is talked about. A huge problem in their strategy is also the lack of a well devised, long drawn campaign. While Manforce is using content meant exclusively for an Indian audience, Durex is still relying on standard global content.
It cannot be stressed enough that selling products related to traditionally taboo subjects can be an uphill struggle. However, I would like to believe that there is a path that these products can take, of the straight-faced informant. Considering that the subject is taboo, the brand is faced with a scope to be heroic and spark trends.
It comes as a surprise that a well-liked and popular brand like Durex would shy away from such an activity. Durex has never been the one to advertise as vehemently as Kama Sutra. And it also fails to grab the opportunity in its full potential, in times of such fast-pacing activities on social media. Recycled content shows a real lack in planning.
The very fact that a subject is kept under covers, could become the driving force for Durex to go all out on social media. For a condom producing company a broadcast effort could limit the creativity in advertising. Social media platforms on the other hand, offer scope for straight-faced humour, wise cracks and more. They leave an entire bouquet of possibilities sitting by a sunny window to wither.
Expert View by Rajiv Dingra Founder & CEO of WATConsult – An Award Winning Digital & Social Media Agency.