Naresh Gupta, CSO, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle speaks about events which made 2016 interesting and memorable and if 2017 will usher in some stability.
Year of dodgy campaigns:
This year saw two really dodgy campaigns, and how collectively the consumers defied the campaigns. Britain went for a referendum; they had to choose between stay and leave. The leave campaign ran a shrill partisan campaign, which for a long time was expected to not win the referendum. The stay campaign had more legs with the incumbent PM having a chance to become the head of EU. In the end Britain decided to leave EU, and the key leaders of leave campaign, Boris Johnson left the movement after winning. #Brexit became the new buzzword for 2016 at the start of the year. 2017 will see the implementation of #Brexit, may be this would be the time to see a new hashtag to take the centre stage.
#Brexit needed something bigger to knock the sheen off; Donald Trump did that with ease. He defied every norm and seemingly popular opinion to win the US Presidential Election. Of the three high voltage campaigns between Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, the Trump campaign was possibly the most insipid. The campaign though connected with Americans like no campaign ever did. Trump won hands down. 2017 will see Trump take over the White House with Britain starting #Brexit.
Though what we will remember the year is for November 8 and the day India declared war on cash. Will we celebrate November 8 in 2017? I guess we will have to wait and watch.
The evolution of formats
2015 saw many brands experiment with long format web films. Short films became a rage and the marriage between brands and filmmakers became stronger. 2016 saw this movement ebb a little. Many brands went back to focus on shorter, sharper commercials even on the web. The original pioneer of long format, BMW made a comeback with the original driver Clive Owen. BMW was not able to create the same magic as the earlier films. The war of long format though was won by Kenzo.
The exquisitely mounted eye popping commercial where the woman kills a man and flexes muscles became one of the most watched commercials of the year.
2017 may see lesser brands attempt longer formats. The attention span on the web is low and brands are experimenting with quicker, snappier way of getting the message across. The advent of newer formats like cinema graph, videos on Instagram etc. will aid the comeback of shorter format brand messages.
The evolution of measurement:
There is a well-established, transparent, third party driven measurement system for legacy media choices. This is not true of the new age digital mediums. This is the year when FB admitted that it is way behind in measuring how people consumer media on FB. The three-second-measurement matrix for video views did dent the platform. Even the engagement scores on FB came under question. Twitter has faced similar problems the whole year, and with trolls or influencers becoming more powerful than before, Twitter has been losing traction for brands.
In 2017, social media platforms will invest heavily in measurements that are transparent and platform agnostic. Twitter will need to reimagine itself if it wants to become a serious conversation tool for brands and not remain a one off place for brands to create stunts.
Rise of new celebrities:
2016 saw heads of states being used as brand endorsers by private sector brands. The President of India appeared in a bank ad. The PM of India appeared in ads for a telecom brand, a wallet brand and a real estate brand (though the real estate brand had to apologise and pull the ad out). There is a dearth of celebrities in India, and heads of state now carry far greater gravitas then many film stars. Though 2016 did not see any diminishing trend of brands signing on celebrities many categories that normally didn't have celebrity endorsers brought a celebrity on board. If a brand has to be intrusive then celebrities help it be one.
2017 may turn out to be Ranveer Singh’s year. With Thums Up signing him up, we will see a certain kind of antics and vibrancy in brand communication. Ranveer’s tone of voice will be the dominant tone of voice in 2017. He can be really intrusive with his antics; we may see a lot more of his brand of naughtiness. This despite the misadventure he had with one ad of a clothing brand.
Can 2017 usher in some stability?
2017 is arriving on back of an extremely uncertain and unpredictable 2016. This has been a year of churn. Categories like mobile wallets became the buzzword thanks to external factors. E-comm as a sector saw a big churn with many big spenders shutting shops. Cell phones saw a big churn with many brands reducing spends or pulling out completely. Demonetisation saw consumers look for survival, instead of many things they did.
2017 may want to be a calming force on all the chaos of 2016.
(The author is CSO, Managing Partner at Bang in the Middle)
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com