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‘Digital advertising is just a substitute of mass media’

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‘Digital advertising is just a substitute of mass media’, Web18’s business and financial portal, celebrated its 10th year in Mumbai on November 12, 2009. To mark the occasion, Web18 held a panel discussion that highlighted the relevance of brands in digital media.

Digital medium is the only medium that allows the target audience to talk back to the brand, however, there are very few ideas made only for digital media and this medium is still under-leveraged. Digital media still has a long way to go before it can be widely used by advertisers. This was one of the outcomes from the panel discussion.

The panelists included, Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Universal; Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer – Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group; Prasanth Mohanachandran, Executive Director - Digital Services, Neo@Ogilvy; and Karl Gomes, former National Creative Director - Digital, Rediffusion Y&R. The session was moderated by Anuradha Sengupta of CNBC TV18.

Kakar noted, “As an advertiser, I would like to follow my audience, and television is a visually literate medium. In fact, predominance of my budget is on mass mediums, because it gives me the flexibility and is relevantly cost effective. I am not skeptical about the digital media, but it certainly needs some conviction from outside. While digital is a great product, the agencies have a role to pitch their product until then the buyer would not make the first move.”

Kakar further said, “Getting television on the Internet and getting Internet on mobile will certainly help, and once you get the numbers here, then you should look forward to keeping your customers engaged. While a customer may spend time on social media or checking emails, what needs to be done is to engage the customer with the brand.”

Gomes noted, “Brands are driven by brand manager, and if they take the responsibility of reaching consumers, take for instance the ‘Pink Chaddi campaign’, it showed how effective digital medium can be for certain events. It is also about reaching the right audience at the right time. Every brand needs evangelising, however, there are very few ideas made for the digital media. I believe that digital media is the only medium that allows your target audience to talk back to you.”

Sinha observed, “Digital advertising, I believe, is just a substitute of mass medium. Although this medium is very cost efficient, there are some fundamental roadblocks for the growth of this medium. While broadband penetration is still an issue, there are also language barriers that need to be dealt with, and the way advertising has been fragmented is also a concern. I believe the digital medium has to speak for itself as digital is still an under-leveraged medium in India.

According to Mohanachandran, “You need a sense of purpose when it comes to integration of the medium, and while some agencies have it, some agencies don’t. Digital medium still has a long way to go and a lot needs to be done for the growth of this medium.”

Sengupta concluded, “While I love watching television, the Internet now even allows me to watch television online. The Internet also allows me to know more about what people want more than what television tells me.”

What clients have to say

As celebrates a decade in the business, exchange4media spoke to some of Web18 clients on the significance of the 10th year of a financial portal to digital media and what it means for them.

Pradeep Gupta, Assistant General Manager, State Bank of India, pointed out, “While digital media is yet to establish itself in India, the 10th anniversary of in itself is a remarkable achievement. The Internet has developed as an important tool and more and more people are surfing the Internet to get more information, particularly on the financial sector.”

Michelle Vaidyanath, Chief Manager - Group Digital Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank, said, “The fact that has completed 10 years is in itself very encouraging. has become the first choice for advertisers and, of course, the consumers. The Internet in India is growing at a fast pace and is adding more advertisers to its fold, and the amount of usage of the digital medium is also growing rapidly, therefore, it is encouraging for advertisers as well. As a result, the medium will also see new categories coming on board.”


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