TATA Motors launches condoms for truck drivers with the message "Use Dipper at Night"
Finally, Indian truck drivers have got condoms they can relate to. India is famous for its truck art. Truck owners of India generally believe that a beautiful looking truck is good for business and hence trucks are decorated by owners with graffiti using vivid colours.
Apart from the ornamented designs, trucks in India also carry special messages which are expressive in nature. These messages convey religious, sentimental and emotional viewpoints of the driver, owner or people related to the truck industry. A few phrases are so common that you will find them on almost every truck in India. One such phrase is "Use Dipper at Night", which means that people should flash their high beams as they pass.
The simple idea of using this phrase is to warn the drivers that they need to make their presence as obvious as possible to avoid an accident.
Now, India's largest truck maker, Tata Motors has borrowed from this phrase to promote safer sex among the truck drivers of India. In April this year, Tata joined hands with TCI Foundation - the social wing of the logistics and supply chain company, Transport Corporation of India (TCI) and communications agency Rediffusion for a pilot project.
The project has launched a condom brand named "Dipper", especially for truck drivers. Reportedly, 45,000 condoms have already been sold at the foundation's health centres.
The packets of the condoms have been designed to appeal to the drivers by incorporating colorful graphics that are found painted on their trucks. This gives a sense of belongingness to the drivers.
Head of operation at Rediffusion, Uttio Majumdar says that it is difficult to reach truck drivers through traditional media as they are always on the move. Naming the condoms Dipper virtually turns every truck with the phrase "Use Dipper at Night" into a billboard advising safe sex.
He said, "We hit upon the idea that the truck itself is the media."
The project was launched to raise awareness about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and after initial success will be implemented across the entire country.
Truckers that travel long distances along with migrant workers are considered what is called "bridge populations" for HIV in India, as they pass along infection as they travel.
Head of TCI Foundation, Munish Chander says that truckers are more likely to have sex with high-risk workers because of their lonely life away from home. If the truckers get HIV infected, they are more likely to spread it by carrying it to others across the country including their spouses. As per Chander, HIV prevalence among truckers is 3.2 per cent, much higher than the 0.69 per cent national average.
In June this year, the Dipper condom campaign won a sliver lion at the Cannes Lions Festival.
According to Chander, the truckers also like the condom as it uses a few words of English that they understand and are acquainted with. He said, "Illiterate and literate truckers know this phrase. Truckers think: `It's for me.'"
Currently, the condoms are available at and around Khushi Clinics in Ludhiana (Punjab), Kanpur (UP) and Vashi (Maharashtra). The condoms are available at a subsidised price of Rs 2 for a pack of three. The initial target was to sell 45,000 condoms within 2 months, but the TCI Foundation workers managed to achieve the target within 1 month.
Birender Dubey, coordinator of the project in Vashi says, "The response was great. Normally, truckers feel shy about buying condoms. But Dipper appealed to their sensibilities. Everything worked in its favour ? the price, the packaging, the quality, and most of all, the message `Use Dipper at Night.'