Festive season gives ad industry much-needed shot in the arm against Covid slump
The quarter witnessed 20-30% spike in ad volumes, and around 2000+ new advertisers got active during the season, say industry watchers
After 18 months of socially distanced celebrations and pandemic scares, Indians finally got a chance to get together this festive season for a joyful time. This also called for an increase in spendings across categories, from gifts to personal care to home decor, giving the struggling businesses a big respite from the Covid-induced slump. The positive sentiment, therefore, reflected well on the ad-world as well, which according to industry experts, is now well-positioned to touch pre-Covid numbers for this quarter.
As per industry watchers, the quarter witnessed a 20-30% spike in ad volumes, as compared to the same quarter in 2019, and around 2000+ new advertisers got active during the season. Categories like FMCG, e-commerce, crypto, BFSI, and gaming led the troops.
Madison Media Group CEO Vikram Sakhuja notes, “It has been a great October with most clients firing. Actually, even October 2020 was very good, but 2021 was better than both 2019 and 2020. All mediums registered strong growth vs past two years, especially Print, OOH, and Digital. In some cases, we recorded our best-ever months. TV was held back by inventory shortage with broadcasters not carrying all inventory booked with them.”
He added that the agency had 60 clients active in the month of October, “While it may be a function of our client base, our top spending categories were CPG, auto, home improvement, luxury, durables, pharma, apparel, finance, food, e-commerce, real estate, and retail. Most grew compared to last and even previous years. To get a read of the entire market, we will need to wait for some more time for the full data.”
Leo Burnett CEO & Chief Strategy Officer-South Asia, Dheeraj Sinha shares similar sentiments as he says, “The Indian market is very hot currently especially in the consumer tech space with many brands gearing up towards an IPO. This year’s festive season also coincided with the frenzy of cricket - the second leg of IPL and T20 world cup-, giving brands and marketers a sustained platform to maintain visibility throughout the festive season. With the plateauing of the Covid scare, consumers celebrated the festive season with much more optimism and fanfare.
“The sum total of activity we saw this season has definitely been much more than the past festive season which is also reflected in how 2021 is looking better than 2020 for all brands, including our own revenues. Several of our brands, including Spotify, PhonePe, ACKO, PharmEasy and BoAt, participated in the IPL-led frenzy. In terms of spending, the consumer tech segment was the biggest spender for us."
Further, FoxyMoron National Strategy Director Nakul Dutt highlights that this festive season witnessed brands taking up a full-funnel approach towards digital marketing, “Earlier digital used to focus on a part of the funnel basis the objective defined for the campaign. Pandemic showed the true penetration and acceptance of digital till the last mile. Because of this, this year, most brands embraced a full-funnel approach, thus increasing spending considerably with a greater focus on business impact. Going with the trends where video supersedes all formats, this year, YouTube and OTT were among the top choices for advertisers. With more focus on delivering business impact, even other platforms beyond video, like new-age media, saw a steep increase in spending vis-a-vis last year.”
Creatively too, the season saw brands moving away from the Covid narrative and expanding the horizons of storytelling. Dentsu Creative Brands CEO Amit Wadhwa shares, “It’s heartening to see a bit more normalcy coming through in our lives and with that the economy bouncing back too. I hope all of us do show a little restraint so that we can celebrate Onam, Holi, etc with equal zeal and excitement. While last year most Diwali campaigns/creatives were hugely influenced by Covid, this time around the whole idea was to try and get back to normal as much as possible. Of course one had to be sensitive to not crossing the line as far as Covid behaviour is concerned, but one could see more normalcy coming in the briefs and executions.”
Sakhuja concludes that he is hopeful of the positive trend going further as well, “The sentiment seems strong and by and large business results seem moderate to strong. The biggest headwind at the moment for advertisers is the increased cost of production. If another wave of Covid doesn’t strike and raw material prices can be reigned-in, we can be looking at a very strong advertising climate for the rest of his fiscal year.”
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