Saturday, August 19, 2006

Moods Condoms : My Man

Brand : Moods
Company: Hindustan Latex Ltd
Agency: Lowe
Brand Count : 115

Moods is a major player in India's Condoms market. Moods was the first major branding exercise to happen in this market. The Indian Condom market is estimated to be around 130 crores.

Moods was launched by Hind latex in 1987 with much fanfare . It was a bold initiative and the campaign was regarded as one of the marketing success stories. Indian condom market is divided in to
a. Free segment
b.Subsidised segment
c.Popular segment
d. Premium segment
Moods is a major player in the popular segment while brands like Kamasutra, Kohinoor and Durex are in the premium segment.

Condoms are considered to be a taboo product. Just like the sanitary napkins, People don't want to discuss these products in public let alone be seen buying it. Hence marketing of this product is a tough call for any marketer. Hence during the 80's the major challenge for HLL was to break the taboo. Moods did to the condom market what Whisper has done with the sanitary market. Now marketers are trying to market these taboo products with "Look good, feel good , do good" message strategy.

Moods was launched with classic ad featuring a hunk asking for " Moods Please" at a store where a shy person was struggling for asking for the same " Can I have a pack of ......mmm..". We as the audience were shocked and surprised at this blunt campaign. The words "Moods please" struck the consumer so hard that even small kids used to tell the shop keeper " Moods Please" much to the embarrassment of the parents.
The brand was positioned for taking this product category out of closet. The baseline " Act With Confidence" exhorted men to confidently ask for this brand at the shops. The campaign created by RK Swamy was a classic success story.
The success of Moods prompted many bold launches in the condom market. At that time Nirodh was the popular brand because of the support from the government. Moods created a category of branded condoms. Next to follow the Moods brand wagon was Kamasutra. KS created lot of talk with its bold ads featuring Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson. These efforts helped to a certain extend to take this category out of closet.

According to a report on the site, the condom use in India is only a mere 5%. The product is still perceived to be a Pregnancy prevention tool. Indians never have looked it as a tool for pleasure enhancement. Although the brands are now highlighting the pleasure aspect with the launch of Dotted and Scented variants, the market is yet to catch up.

The major factor being the cultural psyche of Indian consumer. Unlike in the west, couples seldom talks about sex. We are still a land of hypocrites. Hence it is difficult for a marketer of condom to talk openly about pleasure enhancement and sex without getting the wrath of the so called Culture Evangelists. Kamasutra brand faced lot of such problems when they tried to talk sex. The question is " Without talking sex, how can you sell condoms?" or should I say " Why should I sell condoms with out talking sex? ( debatable point !).

Even with these marketing efforts the product category is still not out of the closet. The product is still bought secretly and we can see the shopkeeper hurriedly packing the product so that others don't see it. Seldom do customers buy it from supermarket and the sale happen through medical shops. So more efforts are necessary to take this product out.

One of reasons why there is a sluggish growth in the condom market is the demand supply gap. Since there is lot of money and demand in the "Social marketing" initiatives of govt and UN sponsored agencies because of AIDS scare, the manufacturers are flush with orders hence where is the time left to create the market.

Moods brand after its success with the " Act with confidence " campaign is now back with the new campaign " My Man". The ads with the old song background " Ye Kya Hua" is interesting. But I have some reservations about the message of the ad ( frankly I don't know). The baseline " My Man" is also little confusing. But any way the ad execution is OK but with a poor message.



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