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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Condom ringtone rocks mobile users

By IANS, New Delhi, Aug 19 - Imagine the expression on the faces of those around you when your mobile suddenly starts buzzing with an unlikely ringtone: 'Condom, condom'.

The 'Condom a cappella' ringtone features in a new advertisement campaign launched earlier this year, as part of a two-year project of using the mass media to make condom use more acceptable.

The campaign has been produced by the BBC World Service Trust and funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The National AIDS Control Organisation - is also using the advertisement to support its condom promotion efforts.

The ringtone, which can be downloaded both via SMS or the website, has gained quite some popularity since its launch - with over 60,000 downloads in the last 12 days.

'Ringtones have become such personal statements that a specially created condom ringtone seemed just the right vehicle to define its user as a sensible person,' Radharani Mitra, creative director of the BBC World Service Trust, said.

'We have always had a strong interactive, response-oriented element in this ongoing campaign. This downloadable ringtone provides yet another opportunity for our target audience to translate the message into an action point.

'The very act of downloading and using this ringtone would have a counter effect on the inhibitions and taboos that can be associated with condoms. And it adds an element of fun and comfort to it,' Mitra added.

The ringtone phase is in five languages - Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi. It is the third instalment of the ongoing condom popularisation campaign.

Each phase has used the media in innovative and interactive ways to get people to talk about condoms and accept them as a sign of smart and responsible behaviour.

The campaign focuses on people who are sensible enough to appreciate and understand this. Not surprisingly, the tagline is: 'Jo Samjha Wohi Sikander -'.

'It is a remarkable initiative. I don't think there is anything wrong with the condom ringtone because condom signifies smart and responsible behaviour, a hallmark of any winner,' said a mobile user, Mohammad Mati, who has downloaded the ringtone and even suggested it to his friends.

According to an official of the BBC World Service Trust, 'The strategy is to show social support for condoms, as this has a positive effect on use, and position condoms as a product that men use to show they are responsible and care about themselves and their families. The objective is to connect with all age groups and across the socio-economic strata.'

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