Challenges of marketing a taboo product in an emerging market that is also culturally conservative

On an early December morning in 2014, Mr Shabih Haider, Director of Biogenics, sipped his coffee as he stared absentmindedly out of his office window and looked at the traffic on the main Shahrah-e-Faisal road in Karachi. His forehead creased with concern as he thought about Hamdam, Biogenics’ contraceptive (condom) brand. He looked at the reports which reflected a falling sales trend over the past ten quarters as well as falling profitability figures. The reports made him uneasy. Ever since they had launched Hamdam, the sales were far from satisfactory. The entire Hamdam team had been concentrating their efforts on the branded contraceptive to drive up the sales, but the response had been less than desired.
The problems that Hamdam was facing were not easy to overcome. The general consumer perception towards the contraceptive market was not very accepting and the social rejections had made marketing for such brands a challenging task. Nonetheless, Pakistan still offered vast potential that was too significant to be ignored. 
Now is the time to develop the market, create awareness and find some effective solutions to communicate with the consumers,’ the diligent director thought to himself. Shabih Haider was not a man to give up easily. He believed in taking everything head-on as the key to dealing with challenging and formidable tasks. What lay ahead of him was a society which perceived the issue of family planning and use of contraceptives as a taboo topic and considered discussions regarding them as indecent and scandalous. In fact, anything related to sex was seen as unvirtuous in the society. Mr Shabih Haider, thus, was faced with the formidable task of establishing his condom brand Hamdam in the conservative Pakistani society.

Register now to read full case study on Marketing a Taboo Product and to know how Mr. Shabih Haider tackled the consumer mindset in Pakistan.

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