The Indian male underwear market is one strange place. We instantly hook on to the sexual undertones of it with the likes of “yeh to bada toing hai” but refuse to play it out and loud.
The market is cluttered with bollywood stars pretending to don a Amul macho “badey araam se” to pretending to “suno bas apne dil ki” with Lux Cozi. Most of it is unbelievable to an evolved audience with the communication that has a strong focus on lower middle class to mass which still looks up to bollywood stars for credibility and style indications. However, in this entire circus of a market, the most recent Lux Cozi campaign has managed to do what no other brand in recent memory has been able to – get the pants off a bonafide bollywood star!
Check out the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYtzO2IxqIk
Towards the end of the commercial a very confident Varun Dhawan is left in his boxer briefs, all set to be driven away by a lady clearly impressed by what she sees. While the commercial in itself is not entirely path breaking, Varun Dhawan is! So far bollywood men have earned crores out of advertising men’s undergarments by just walking around in a white vest and leaving what’s under the pants to interpretation. A very shy desi male version of “choli ke peeche kya hai” – sorry had to be said.
But along comes Varun Dhawan, takes his pants off and literally shows off a potential to reshape this market. Jockey has been a leader in the men’s undergarment segment for the longest time. A brand very smartly built without a celebrity quotient. A parallel trend has been the premiumisation and urbanization of men’s underwear designs. Most recently, apparel brands such as Van Heusen made a sharp entry into the segment.
What Lux Cozi has got here is a potential mass disrupter in the form of Varun Dhawan. While most bollywood celebs are busy playing coy, Varun Dhawan going the extra mile could pull off a coup. How?
Think about it. Internationally, most iconic male sport celebrities have their own line of underwear; from Ronaldo to Beckham. Hell even Brett Lee experimented with it. In India however, the male celebrity quotient is limited to bollywood and cricket. I do not see Virat Kohli dropping is trousers for a risque underwear campaign. He seems content diluting his brand from an aggressive, sexy, alpha man to a loveable family man. That Wrogn brand is all WRONG.
Varun Dhawan could potentially be India’s first iconic imagery of men’s undergarments – think Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Kleins. If I was at the helm of Lux Cozi, I would have Varun Dhawan strip to 50 different types of underwear styles and use it as packaging creative. Massive billboards across all cities under a new sub brand, and voila Jockey might just be under threat.
Question is, will Lux realize the dynamite potential Varun Dhawan has as a brand ambassador or will it be another case of a tick mark bollywood brand ambassador taken on board for “just another campaign”.