Friday, March 9, 2012



When you set sight on a potential companion, your brain releases a potion of chemicals which activates the brain’s pleasure centre. For long-term bonding this must further be followed by two more compounds, oxytocin and vasopressin. Lust, on the other hand, works on testosterone and oestrogen for men and women respectively. Apparently, the mind of the ‘millennium generation’ is irrigated more by the latter than the former. Love and lust are now interchangeable. But are marketers ready to factor in the new norm and cultural orientation?

The recent trends reveal quite some statistic. In a phase of transition, the 18- 25 age group remains quite confused on issues like falling in love, getting hitched, or rolling in hay. 55% respondents in a recent survey declared premarital sex to be no big issue. Yet, 62% wanted their future spouse to be chaste. For 41%, a ‘pragmatic’ youth family background (and possibly, family’s nod) is very important. And 51% had already savoured sex before they turned 25. No debate between having raging hormones vs. being financially correct.

Google Trends shows that the search volume index for the word ‘porn’ has doubled in India in the past two years. Seven Indian cities are among the top ten in the world on porn search. Apparently, nearly 50% students discuss porn everyday. The lifestyle of the new brat pack reflects the change. They date with a gusto with even tier-2 towns having campuses strewn with embracing couples. Discotheques in Mumbai, Delhi, Noida and even Chandigarh throb through the night. Nearly half the lot dates regularly. But they don’t have time for the attendant niceties.

In a poll commissioned by Debenhams, Marilyn Monroe beat Kim Kardashian, Kelly Brook, and Christina Hendricks in winning the crown for having the best beach body of all times, since most women voted for a fuller body so as to show it off in a figure hugging bikini and win the men over. The clothing company has already successfully launched the range based on the analytics collected in the poll.

In another international survey, a majority of the young women (18-25) commented that they would opt for large frontal assets than high IQ; a third were willing to swap intelligence for more ample assets, while a quarter felt bigger busts would make them feel happier. Nearly 60% respondents believed that men would be more interested in them if they were well endowed. Naturally, in your face women’s sexuality is ubiquitous – on ramps, big screen, idiot box, videos,even on the street.

Now, there are emergency contraceptive pills being advertised on mainstream TV channels, which are actually used as morning after regular contraceptives. Condoms have started giving tough competition to roses on Valentine’s Day in terms of sales. This February 14, one online portal revealed that it had sold over a lakh of condoms; incidentally it had hoped to sell nearly 20,000. Exciting Lives, a shopping portal, offered glow in the dark intimate wear and lingerie made of feather during this Valentine. Animal Planet presented a special programme titled ‘Love in the Wild’ capturing scenes of tenderness from the jungle.

Sex is no longer under wraps. The body has become a temple and a seat of power. Cosmetics, surgery, health foods and supplements, gymming – everything is tried. Beauty has become a big business today, with huge time and money being spent in parlours.

With earlier social mores and norms fading away, a bold & beautiful lifestyle – glamorous girls, handsome guys with multiple credit cards, fast bikes/cars, high flying society – inspires the urban middle and upper class youth. The gender divide is crumbling. The interaction has added dates to a teenager’s schedule and in many cases ushered in multiple relationships in life.

In essence, the mores and norms that the culture of yesterday embraced are changing – internationally faster, but the change in India too cannot be ignored by marketers. It is time that Indian marketers started creating positioning concepts that become iconic not just on the levity factor (on which Indian ads even currently qualify quite easily) but also the lust factor.