With Onam right around the corner, experts believe that brands in Kerala are keeping 40% of their annual budget aside for advertisements. With the GST entering the scene, marketers and advertisers are planning their expenditure accordingly.
According to Varghese Chandy, Vice President – Marketing, MalayalaManorama, 50–60% durables get sold during this season and it becomes critical for marketers to get the message right. “Brands and companies spend the maximum during Onam. The maximum number of TVs, washing machines and refrigerators are sold during this time. While traditional advertisers such as textiles and jewellers continue with their set patterns, mobile phones companies are gaining more importance,” he said. He added that GST will help jewellery clients since purchase tax will be removed and jewellers will exploit this factor to the fullest this season.
There has been a considerable change in people’s spending habits as observed by SandeepNayar, CEO of Ad India Advertising. He said that the audience has moved away from the old excitement of sales and discounts on Onam as these are readily available online and in shopping malls every other day. “This has resulted in advertising spends of companies consistently increasing every Onam. Since it is also the first big festival in the country, many brands experiment various offers on their products here. If the response in Kerala is not satisfactory, it might not do well in other places either. Thus, all the planning and execution for advertisers start here,” he said.
This was corroborated by RajuMenon, Director – Operations, Maitri Advertising, who said that the two main reasons for this being the key purchase time was that schools are closed for holidays and NRI Malayalis return home to celebrate with families. “Onam is the first big festival across India. A lot of offers and new product launches happen during this season. Companies spend about 40% of their overall budget at this time,” he said. He added that the GST will work well for advertisers as people who possess black money will look for ways to shell it out. “They will spend on advertising which will help market the brand better,” he said.
Unnikrishnan B K, Vice President (Sales) of Asianet News, isn’t so optimistic though. With Onam arriving early, it has cut into September’s programming for news channels. “Markets are bright in August and as news channels, we start producing special programmes for Onam that time. We will lose 10–15 days of programming as the festival is early and there won’t be time left to encash on September ratings. We got around one-and-a-half months of time last year and it is not as fortunate this year,” he said.
George Sebastian, Senior General Manager – Marketing, Mathrubhumi, said, “A lot of brands introduce new schemes like games and more during Onam. During this season, NRIs come down for Onam and Ramzan. The festive season goes on till Christmas. It is a crucial time for marketing in Kerala,” he said. He added that GST might not affect the FMCG sector much but companies are trying to give more spending power to their employees during such a time. “Bonus advance is given to employees so that they are able to make major purchase decisions. I think the deals will make for any slight increase due to GST, if it happens,”he said.