Bigwigs from media, advertising and marketing in the panel discussion shared their views on making the advertising ‘industry’ worth Rs 50k crore in the next three to five years, as also make it worth one per cent of the GDP. In his capacity as moderator for three sessions encompassing the media, advertising and marketing perspectives, well-known marketing consultant Harish Bijoor rephrased the topic as “How should we make clients spend more on advertising?”
Painting a background of the opportunity available for the industry, he remarked that India has moved from ‘India Happens’ to ‘India Happening’, and cited examples of the retail boom and international business acquisitions as testimony. “However, the growth of the IT sector will not have an impact on advertising as this industry is B2B-based and is not end-user driven,” he said.
Bijoor made an interesting point that in developed countries, the advertising and marketing spends grow at a multiple of 1.8 to 2.2 per cent of GDP. Calling the advertising industry a “splintered cottage industry of sorts”, he remarked, “Advertising is not an industry as yet and it doest not even exhibit the qualities of an industry. If brands do not grow, advertising does not grow.”
Defining advertising, Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison Communications, asserted, “Advertising is not the end-product, it is an intermediate product; as it is actually the input for another industry.” He further added that many advertisers were wasting the medium by not using it judiciously. He said, “The belief that more exposure means more sales does not hold today as it increases wastage in advertising.”
V Shantakumar, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi, voiced his disagreement with the view that advertisers are the source of revenue for agencies. He said that he believed in consumer demand being the source of revenue, as greater demand from consumers will lead to more advertisements from advertisers.
Calling for a unified platform for the industry, he said, “Other advertising associations should be scrapped, and AAAI should be the only industry body, akin to NASSCOM.” He concluded his presentation by stressing that the context should not be about Rs 15k crore to 50k crore, but it should be about value addition.
Agreeing with Bijoor on calling the advertising industry a cottage-industry, B Saikumar, CEO, TV18 Media, said that the advertising industry is “just a four, or maximum eight, city-centric”. He further mentioned how the advertising industry was not tapping SMEs at all and called for a mindset change to drive forward the growth.
Questioning the pace of growth of the advertising industry, marketing consultant Shripad Nadkarni talked of how increasing the width of offerings could help in this growth and how even with the increase in the number of advertisers, the industry is not growing rapidly. He also talked of how the industry’s focus has now shifted towards communication and awards, which does not help in its growth. Concluding his view, he cited the example of Nandan Nilekani’s stepping down and the importance of young and fresh people taking over leadership roles in advertising.
Debating on the inclusion of BTL as a part of the industry, Meenakshi Madhvani of Spatial Access pointed out that even the industry is not clear about it. Voicing her disapproval of the industry not valuing its services and charging the right prices, she called for a need for minimum retail price in the industry. “Let us not be coy that we are here in the business to make money. In addition to that, let’s also add value to it.”
Mentioning about her lectures in educational institutions, she said, “Young students in college say that there are no inspiring leaders in this industry.” Ending her point of view, she remarked, “The three pillars that are supportive to the industry are advertisers, consumer and media. The fourth pillar that needs to be added is measurement.”