The digital medium has borne the slowdown well so far. While the overall advertising pie in the digital media stands at 3 per cent at present, PricewaterhouseCoopers has projected this figure to go up to 5.5 per cent in 2013.
What’s unique for the digital medium this Diwali is that a lot of brands have started to connect with their customers through Internet advertising. Brands like HCL, Cadbury, General Motors, Vodafone, Samsung, Nokia, etc., are becoming increasingly active in the medium. In fact, General Motors is said to have allocated an online budget of nearly Rs 1 crore for the launch of its new car.
Atul Hegde, CEO, Ignitee Digital Solutions, noted, “The opportunities for digital media are still the same, there are no special opportunities just for Diwali, but from the consumer point of view, this festive season provides great opportunity. The mood in the industry is also buoyant, which is coming at the right time. Brands, too, understand that this is a medium that they can leverage, hence the season brings a lot of opportunities from the consumer’s side and brands are leveraging it online, which one would mainly find offline.”
Saurabh Bhatia, Chief Business Officer, Vdopia Inc, said, “Yes, we are seeing an increase in spends on digital media. We at Vdopia have received campaigns that are targeted during the Diwali season. In fact, as compared to last month we have seen an increase of 70-100 per cent. This season, campaigns on digital mediums are specifically designed for Diwali, unlike in the last season. Therefore, there is an increased focus among brands to up their digital spends during the Diwali festival. This apart, the campaign size has also increased, earlier this used to happen only in traditional media.”
This Diwali, Contest2win.com ran a ‘Create a Rangoli’ contest, wherein consumers had to create a rangoli at their homes, take a picture of it and upload the same on the contest2win.com site. Users could then vote on each design on a scale of 11-10 and the best design won.
Raj Menon, COO, Contest2win.com, observed, “The focus of most brands is traditional media (as usual). There were 27 ads in today’s Mumbai edition of The Times of India, including seven full-page ads and one centrespread. The sad part is that all of them look similar – the brands could be interchanged and we wouldn’t notice. Digital media, on the other hands, gets the crumbs as usual, nevertheless brands are trying to do some new things by experimenting with social media.”
“We haven’t seen any dramatic improvement in terms of spends, this is possibly because sentiment has improved only in the last week or so. So, most marketers are playing it safe and sticking to their plans,” he added.
Praveen Meloth, Assistant Vice President - Marketing, Travelguru.com, added here, “Digital media has been expanding and more Indians are beginning to prefer online media. Even brands are now beginning to realise the potential of the digital medium. We have seen PSUs like IndianOil do an online campaign. Hotels have started increasing their online spends. There are good offers from hotels this season like 25 per cent cash back on Travelguru, book two nights and get the third night’s stay free – these are some of the offers that we have this festive season for customers.”
According to Ignitee’s Hegde, “The uniqueness this season is the use of social media, which brands are increasingly resorting to. Brands leveraging the use of social media is something that should definitely stand out.”
Contest2win’s Menon said, “The most innovative campaign that we have done this time is a virtual gifting application for Cadbury. The application allows one to gift a virtual Cadbury chocolate to one’s friends. Tech brands are also making a big splash. HCL is talking about Me, Wipro is talking about E.GO. Yahoo! is talking Y!ou. So, the consumer is now the center of attention for all these brands. These brands are trying to engage with the consumer by giving them control to express themselves like never before.”
Meloth of Travelguru.com highlighted, “There has been an increase in traffic coming through the digital medium. Customers have started getting comfortable booking online. We have seen an increase in online booking over the last year as compared to bookings through call centers.”
Unlike in previous festive seasons, this year brands are beginning to run campaigns online that one would typically find in offline or traditional media. While advertisers have increased their spends in the medium, nevertheless they are only beginning to move out of the experimental phase in the digital medium.
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