The Times of India edition for October 13, 2015 was one spoken about by everyone, and not for news, but the sheer number of ads. The point under contention was a multi-jacket cover with a full jacket ad by Flipkart, a cover ad by Snapdeal, another one by Videocon and yet another by Amazon.
So how much was it worth?
A source says that the Flipkart jacket was worth around Rs 4 crore. The deals with Snapdeal and Amazon were in the range of Rs 2.5-3 crore. This is big money, considering that normally a pan India jacket is worth around Rs 2 crore.
One had to flip some 8 ad pages to reach the actual newspaper. E-commerce players flexed their muscles this festive season and showed that the boom is far from over.
"Once advertising becomes intrusive to a consumer then it is over doing it and flipping through 3 or 4 cover pages before getting to the content is over doing it. What we have to understand is that this is the festive season and it is difficult to get media but brands want to be on the first page but there are limitations as space is limited so it becomes a time bound but I do feel that over doing will lead to consumer irritation," said Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia Dentsu Aegis Network, Chairman Posterscope and psLive - Asia Pacific.
On social media, there were some wry comments; as one user put it on Facebook; "News paper today TOI :Page 1 Flipkart Page 2 Videocon Page 3 Snap deal Page 4 Amazon Page 5 E diy (also some smattering on Sudhanshu kulkarni ink incident) Page 6 HP Pge 7 ( some clippets on "outrage over page 5 ink incident) Page 7 Hero ,Page 8 some more snippets as news, Page 9 Kuoni, Page 10 classifieds, Page 11 Obit on a Vittal Mallya ad, Page 12 obits ads, Page 13 IBM and another Obit ad finally from page 14 some news coverage ... And silly me I thought Bihar had gone to polls !"
Another was more tongue-in-cheek; "Damn TOI... There I was enjoying the ad supplement you sent to me, and you had to ruin it all by putting a few news items in there..!"
Bhasin agreed that e-commerce players have upped the ante and have become far more aggressive this festival season and he says that there are good reasons for it too. "In general this is a better year this year than last year for the economy and advertising. The second thing is that the e-commerce competitive than last year," opines Bhasin.
More importantly, according to him, this festive season is more important for a lot of industries, including advertising. "If this (season) goes well then a lot of industries will be back on track but if does not go well than a lot of industries will feel the stick, including the advertising industry. Therefore this year there is a lot more high stakes involved," he said.