Digital advertising, though still considered to be at a nascent stage in India, has been creating enough buzz to make media planners notice it – be it as a support medium in times of ad budget cuts fueled by the economic slowdown, or a strategic initiative with well-defined and well-measured target audience.
Digital advertising, largely confined to display ads, social networking and mobile ads in India, is getting extensively used by advertisers to reach their TG. So far, online advertising has been treated as an add-on feature in a media plan, but gradually, quite a few advertisers are claiming to have made it a conscious and strategic choice.
Consequently, the medium has drawn the attention of more and more high-end brands in the cars, jewellery, watches, sectors, that are reaching out to their TG through this medium. The types of campaigns taken up by these brands vary from social networking to display to launching their own websites. One such new form of advertisement is gadget ad, which is increasingly being used by car majors, mainly because of its high scope for interactivity.
Recently, Ford came up with a gadget ad conceptualised by Mindshare Chennai that aims to communicate not just the brand message, but also serve as a two-way communication between the TG and the brand via information dissemination and interactive elements.
Explaining the campaign mechanism, Sanjeev Shukla, GM – Marketing, Ford India, said, “We used an interactive ad unit by Google on their network for this. The metrics moved from cost per click to cost per interaction, which improved ten times over the vanilla banner ads.”
He further said, “If it pays per click, then advertising has to go beyond banners on the Net as users ignore them or don’t click, given the layered interaction (too many windows or links to reach the main message).The gadgets was a key Ford initiative to ensure that our users arrive at a singular hub for interacting with the brand without having to move away from the content they are consuming.”
Not restricting itself to gadgets, Ford claims to have tasted success with its social networking and mobile campaigns as well.
Social networking sites, with a penetration of nearly 60 per cent in the country, are also being tapped by brands to build affinity and viral awareness around the brand positioning. One such recent campaign has been that of Tanishq jewellery’s latest collection. Tanishq is targeting the urban Indian Net savvy woman and is experimenting with the idea of selecting jewellery online and interacting on the site.
Luxury brands, too, are looking to tapping the urban Internet savvy audience through digital campaigns. According to a media planner for Ford, “With an Internet user base of 50 million, which largely comprises an affluent male base, there is no reason why the Indian passenger car market should not be chasing this medium, and more so in light of the time spent and usage by the core user group.”
He further explained, “The analog touchpoints are getting fragmented and blunt mass media does not help in connecting with the target audience. Putting a precise measurement on results from each of the touchpoints is much more critical, especially in light of the economic slowdown. Ford’s engagement with digital is strategic and is not just a support to mainstream options. It is not just as medium, but a long-term strategic initiative.”
Recently, TAG Heuer had launched their first display ad as an online initiative by handpicking a few Internet portals such a Business Standard, Google, Moneycontrol, MSN Lifestyle, and so on. TAG Heuer’s MD, Manmeet Vohra, admitted that the global meltdown had shifted the advertiser’s attention towards the considerably cheaper online medium. He added that being first timers in their online campaigns gave an edge to these high-end brands.
Ford India’s Shukla, while speaking on the overall usage of the digital medium, sums up well, “The onus is definitely on the media agencies to take up the initiative and educate the clients about its benefits. Digital needs to be treated not just as a cheaper medium, but the innovative possibilities that it offers.”