Before I say anything about this ad, just watch it (if you haven’t already)
In this brand new commercial by Durex, Ranveer Singh dances and raps “When you have great sex, you Do the Rex.” Let me break that down. Ranveer Singh, a mainstream Bollywood actor; endorses a condom brand; and sings about great sex; to an Indian audience. (gasp!)
Durex and Ranveer Singh, with this 127 second commercial have done what no other brand in India has been able to do. They’ve openly celebrated sex in a country where it seems like most people like to believe NO ONE has sex, despite glaringly obvious proof to the contrary. Indians don’t talk about sex, they don’t laugh about sex, they most certainly do not sing and dance about it.
Durex decided it was time to normalise the conversation. But this ad isn’t just about condoms and sex. This ad is about premarital sex, consensual sex between young adults, this ad is about sex for pleasure, this ad isn’t just about protected sex, it’s about unapologetically great sex. We all know India has fairly messed up views on all of the above and is pretty vocal on how it’s all against our culture, and and so I can’t help but say to Durex and to Ranveer Singh, well done. Selling a product like condoms in India can’t be easy. Endorsing a condom brand can’t be an easy decision to make either. Which might explain why no other Bollywood star has done this before. (Pooja Bedi was in a Kamasutra ad in the 1990s that was instantly banned, but no present generation Bollywood actor has)
Durex has been brave. They’ve taken a huge step directing a condom advertisement to young Indians, something no other condom company seems to have done. Moods, Kamasutra, Kohinoor- All their ads feature married couples. The women are coy, dressed in sarees, sensuous in the most ‘Indian’ ways possible. (like the ad below) Durex did none of that. Their over the top Bollywood routine, complete with bikini clad foreign women (that part I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of) and pelvic thrusts galore seems to have clicked with Indian audiences. The statistics are enough to prove that this worked- DurexIndia’s YouTube channel has about 20 ads, most of which have garnered a few thousand views over the course of a few months. Do The Rex, currently has 163,100 views- in a little over 24 hours. We all know brands that have celebrities endorsing them have things a little easier, but Durex didn’t get lazy about it, they went all out.
Brands in India are growing up. The internet has enabled this (I’m not sure this would have worked on television) and they’re beginning to make the most of it. Over the past year, brands have started talking about homosexuality, about premarital sex, about re-marriage, about gender equality- They’ve started conversations without worrying about the backlash. That Ranveer Singh not only agreed to do this, but was a significant part of the creative process, speaks volumes for the kind of person he is- If his large fan following supports him and the product, it can only be a good thing.
The ad below is the kind of condom ad we’re all used to seeing. Wife bringing the husband tea? Check. Mangalsutra? Check. Dropped pallu? Check. Interestingly, the actress is Divya Parmeshwaran, a Kollywood model and actor who, from what I’ve read, got all sorts of flak for choosing to endorse the brand.