This year, 2017, marks hundred years of a very interesting event. Exactly hundred years ago in 1917 an advertisement was published in an American magazine, called Mccall’s. The ad featured a nude woman flashing large portions of skin, sunning poolside in her birthday suit. The product, advertised in that ad, was Woodbury facial soap and the tagline was ‘A Skin You Love To Touch’. The ‘Interesting’ part of the ad, apart from the nude woman, was that Mccall’s was a women’s magazine. And the creative director of this ad was Helen Resor, a woman !
The intention of this ad was to target the buying power of women. In it’s outlook the whole packaging was to empower women by exploring their gender role as a consumer. Today, hundred years later, as we are debating on the women imagery in marketing, the Woodbury ad is a good reference point.
There are loads of scholarly researches and articles on commodification and objectification of women by the market. But, Is there any change ? No. An absolute No…
Instead of checking the moral and ethical standards, the market is attaining a new level of absurdity everyday. And the latest antic product is Manforce Achaari, the Achaar (pickle) flavoured condoms for some ‘desi love-making’.
As a contraceptive, Condoms have become really popular in last decade. But this is mostly in urban societies. In rural societies, who have traditional attitudes towards sex, Men show an ill mentality for contraceptives. The real Desi men, in fact, don’t want to compromise on the sexual pleasures. They hate the idea of a barrier during the intercourse. They don’t want to undergo any medical treatment which could affect their masculinity. A report published in Indian Journal of Community Medicine in 2016 states- “ IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) is one of the factors associated with women not being able to use or access contraceptives”. Even if Desi men are concerned about family-planning, they dispose the responsibility on their females.
Flavoured condoms contain layers of suger coatings and flavouring agents, which can cause vaginal irritation and infections in women. Hence many sexologists advice to not use flavoured condoms during intercourse. Thus, flavoured condoms have real use only in oral sex. They prevent from Sexually Transmitted Infections during oral sex. Which I don’t think has much use with sexually unadventurous Indian society.
Then who are the targets of this product ? It sounds a mystery to me. According to a common Indian myth khatta (sour) is a taste identified with women. The product strategy of Manforce seems based upon this myth only. Somehow the company believes that they can attract women in the name of khatta. How ? Only they know. Because lavour of a condom has nothing to do with vaginal intercourse. And for oral sex, I don’t think women love the idea of putting latex in their mouth. Then, accept the marketing brains of Manforce, who needs this bizarre product ?! Okay, let me think…