#ProtectChildhood: Manforce takes a stand against child pornography

#ProtectChildhood: Manforce takes a stand against child pornography

The campaign warns parents to keep an eye on their children as they spend more time online.


MUMBAI: From losing your innocence to safeguarding it, Manforce Condoms has undergone a sea-change in its brand messaging. In its latest ad campaign, the sexual wellness giant has taken up cudgels against the spread of child pornography in the country.

Titled #ProtectChildhood, the video tells parents to be cautious, keep an eye on their kids and try to look for truth beyond what they see.

“If we don't keep an eye on our children, someone else will. Children spending more time online unsupervised, makes them vulnerable to grooming and sexual coercion,” the ad says in a stark warning.

According to India Child Protection Fund (ICPF), there has been an alarming rise in the demand for child pornography material since the Covid2019-induced lockdown was enforced in India. The largest pornography website in the world has registered 95 per cent growth in traffic from India compared to pre-Coronavirus times, the ICPF claimed.

At the same time, children are spending more time on the internet, especially with the new normal of online classes. Through this video campaign, Manforce aims to raise awareness about the rise in child pornography and shed light on the current situation.

In the last few years, Manforce has shifted its communication strategy to come across as more ‘socially-responsible’. It took the internet by storm in 2017 for its campaign #ShutThePhoneUp, which aimed to generate awareness about the risks associated with recording one’s private moments on the phone.

In the commercial condom category, most brands at a point of time focused their marketing on the theme of carnal pleasure and the messaging in their ads was heavy on sex appeal (think Sunny Leone on a beach). But now they have switched gears and are going for a ‘woke’ image by promoting safe sex or breaking the stigma around socially-sensitive issues.

According to Sowmya Iyer, founder and CEO DViO Digital, child pornography is a pressing social concern that is neither openly discussed nor covered by the media. “Manforce choosing the subject of a sharp rise in child pornography and bringing it to light is an example of cause marketing. Global data states that less than 12 per cent of the audience makes the correct association between a brand and its cause,” she said.

Iyer went on to add that if Manforce is intending to carve out long term impact in the consumer’s mind, it has to go above and beyond just an awareness building ad. “It has to be seen how consistently they will integrate this cause into their messaging and actions to drive it into the minds of the audience.”

Porus Jose chief creative officer IdeateLabs shared that he has not seen a message like this before, not in the Indian context. The attempt to present a new danger is fair and valid but it lacks nuance, in his view. “The point that parents should keep an eye on kids’ internet usage (a simple enough call-to-action) is laboured. While the topic of child pornography is present and real, the film itself lacks empathy and sensitivity,” he pointed out.

He believes as a condom manufacturer brand, Manforce’s conscious decision to move into the social responsibility area is not only commendable but also hitherto unseen in the local landscape. Films like #MoreOfAMan, #YouAreNotAlone, and the series on #ShutThePhoneUp are providing the much-needed x-ray glasses on society’s sexual deviance, and prodding us to stay alert.

 The brand is competing with the likes of global and local players such as Durex, Moods, Kamasutra and others. Manforce has been engaging with the audiences on social media with its witty creatives by playing strong on moment marketing.