Virgin Territory

The 18 Again ad has kicked up much dust online. Is it snazzy or sleazy? Does it manage to strike a balance between prudishness and contemporaneity?

Campaign: Salsa in a Sari

Company: Ultratech

Brand: 18 Again

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Agency: Curry Nation

The Campaign

The advertisement opens with a middle-class sari-clad homemaker walking to the courtyard where her husband is ready to leave for work. She weans him away from a conversation with his parents and breaks into a salsa routine humming ‘Feel like a virgin’. The rest of the family, children and elders alike, are taken aback, but the couple, oblivious to their surroundings, are busy serenading each other. In the end as the voice-over announces the launch of a new product?18 Again?in the Indian market, the mother-in-law is shown logging onto the website as her elated husband looks over her shoulder.

Our Take

How do you announce the launch of a product which claims to tighten and rejuvenate a woman’s vagina in a society caught between prudishness and modernity, without making any of it sound sleazy? Well, Ultratech’s ’18 Again’ ad tells you how. The woman in the ad sways as she croons ?Ooh, I feel like a virgin?, getting close and personal with her husband. The dance sequence is catchy and, in a way, romantic, far removed from sex, skin show and sleaze. That?s where the ad scores and hits a chord with the young generation. But the product is targeted at housewives and we are not sure if a Spanish salsa with English lyrics will impress them.

Advertising taboo products (read, anything remotely connected to sex) in India market is like walking a tightrope. And here we are not talking about a routine contraceptive or sanitary napkins, but a vagina tightening gel. Earlier products such as pregnancy tests and emergency contraceptives have been advertised by various pharma companies on television in a conservative manner. Ultratech?s ad spot breaches the safe confines and comes out in a bolder fashion but at the same time, a joint family set-up, a sari-clad protagonist and an elderly couple are thrown in which saves the commercial from coming across as vulgar. It?s snazzy but not sleazy. The purpose of the ad is to announce the launch of the product and to tell its audience that such a product now exists in the market. And the mission has been accomplished as the ?18 Again? ad has had a high recall value, going by the dust it has kicked up online.

Earlier, Mankind Pharma had tried to bring humour and sassiness into its advertisements for traditionally taboo products such as sanitary napkins, emergency contraceptives and condoms. Ultratech too is breaking into the market with an advertisement that prefers to speak loud and clear, and not whisper.

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First published on: 28-08-2012 at 03:26 IST