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Five years after Ranveer Singh was roped in as brand ambassador for condom brand Durex, consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser, its parent company, has let its contract with the Bollywood actor lapse, with no plans to renew it, according to market sources.
While Reckitt Benckiser didn’t reply to an email sent by Forbes India, sources close to Singh confirmed the move. “Both agreed to part ways amicably,” said the source aware of the development. Though a steeper endorsement fee could be a potential reason for breakup, Singh’s marital status might have had a bearing on the decision to end the association, the source added.
Last November, Durex congratulated Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, the newlywed Bollywood celebrity couple, with a cheeky tweet: “We’ve got you covered. Congrats Deepika & Ranveer for officially putting a ring on it.”Durex India on Twitter
The first mainstream Bollywood actor to endorse a condom brand, Singh was largely responsible for boosting the sagging fortune of the condom brand, which has been struggling in India with low, single-digit market share. Last April, the premium condom maker entered into the flavoured condoms segment—which makes up 80 percent of the condom market in the country under the flagship of Durex Kohinoor, with flavours like 'meetha pan', 'kaala khatta', 'silky chocolate' and 'juicy strawberry’.
Singh, reckon marketing and branding experts, made the condom brand hugely popular among the youth with its ‘Do The Rex’ and ‘Durex Jeans’ campaigns, and helped Durex come out of its elite positioning. Though the move comes as a huge blow for Durex, the brand has the intrinsic strength to bounce back, they reckon.
“Condom brands have this perennial issue,” says Harish Bijoor, founder of an eponymous branding consultancy firm. When a brand-endorser endorses a condom in India, Bijoor lets on, he is not the boy next door. He is, instead, endorsing a category that is away and under the social radar of comfort and acceptance. “The condom category is a promiscuous category. It is not one hinged to loyalty of any kind, leave alone the loyalty of its endorsers,” he says.
Durex, Bijoor adds, will get the next star sooner than later. “No star is indispensable to brand. Even this shall pass on to an abler hand,” he says.