In troubled times? Well, read the fine print as print media emerges as the big saviour for brands facing troubled times for various reasons.
See for yourself: according to AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research, while television shows a clear decline, print advertising from the cola majors -- both Pepsi and Coca-Cola India show a gain of strength even during a time they claimed to be the lull season.
As per the data available, television shows a more robust record clocking 17,995 seconds of advertising volumes, between August 1-20, 2005.
While this year it's a different story where only 1,820 seconds of advertising volume have been recorded between August 1-20, 2006.
This informations gains significance as industry sources admit that typically August-September is lull seasons for the colas. Typically, they tend to finish with all advertising-related inventory by July, by when the peak summer seasons draws to a close.
However, when the pesticide controversy reared its ugly head early this month, both choose not just to communicate -- defying the end-of-season theory, but also their usual modus operandi, television.
Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have relied on print for communication. Again, AdEx data shows that print advertising (in terms of column centimetres) has risen from 2,886 cc in August 1-15, 2005 to 67,031cc in August 1-15 2006.
While both the cola majors were unavailable for comment, but industry sources admit that print media has proved to be more effective to counter controversy. And there are various reasons for this.
According to Meenakshi Madhvani, managing partner, Spatial Access Solutions, print is definitely more effective and useful as it permits a more specific dialogue to consumers in certain regions (i.e if the problem is restricted to only a certain city or a state) but also that it allows advetisers more opportunity to explain their stand.
Also, she stated that print has proved to be faster in times of crisis as it is able to deliver communication messages faster but also in evoking response, compared to television.
Meanwhile, Ravi Kiran, CEO, Starcom Mediavest Group, South Asia, feels that the use of print media is more tactical, especially for brands in troubled times as players can hit the message home quickly using print with specific announcements to clarify and inform specific audiences better.
Also, print in that sense typically reaches out to the more "opinion leading" consumer who not just watches television but also prefers to read and evaluate decisions, he said.
And here is further proof about the effectiveness of print. According to Cadbury India, which was plagued by the worm controversy in 2003, print media has proved to a more effective means of communication. Sanjay Purohit, director, marketing, Cadbury India, admits that "print works better to communicate the company's position."