Forecast 2018: Digitally ahead agencies will thrive, legacy agencies will see the beginning of the end: Ashish Bhasin
As 2017 almost comes to a close, Ashish Bhasin of DAN crystal gazes at who will win and who will lose in 2018
The ad growth as a rule of thumb is about one and half times the Indian economy’s growth. So if the Indian economy grows at 8% then advertising will grow by 12%. It works the other way around as well. In a downturn, the first expense to be cut off is advertising.
Different Growth Rates: Earlier all media used to grow at similar rates. Now there is a big difference in growth rates. For example digital grows almost thrice as fast compared to the average of the other media put together. So if the market is growing at 10% then digital ad spends growth is about 30%.
Importance of Mobiles: Our Dentsu Aegis Network Digital study shows that by 2020 nearly one fourth of the entire ad spends will be digital. This is also being catalysed by some macro factors. For example because of the Jio launch the cost of data has fallen significantly, almost by 90%. More and more consumers will be consuming digital video because it is now more accessible to them. Secondly handset and smartphone prices have fallen significantly and continue to do so.
We are nearing a billion mobile phone connections. Once the smartphone penetration rises to 40% it will become attractive for mass brands trying to reach people. Earlier digital was seen as niche. I predict that in the next couple of years it will become integral to every single business and will no longer be niche because we will see some inflection points. When we have half a billion smart phones, which we will in 18-24 months, it will be one such massive inflection point.
Print: English print will grow much slower than regional print. People will get more interested in local news and literacy levels will increase and so more readers will come into the fold. However, India will remain a rare market where print will still continue to grow.
Television: India will be one of the few countries in the world where all media will grow albeit at different rates. This is unlike other parts of the world where TV and print are decelerating or even slowing negative growth. Television will hold its own as it is an impressive and an influential medium in India. It will continue to grow for a while. Distribution will increase further with things like Free Dish. With BARC now measuring rural, hopefully more and more information will come from that this will drive. TV will keep increasing for the next few years at least.
Outdoor: As a medium it will really do well because as we build infrastructure with new airports, bridges, metros etc, more opportunities will come up. I hope that outdoor becomes more standardised and professional. If it does then it can become a strong medium as we are a young country, on the move, with slow traffic. Digital OOH will start emerging as well.
Radio: It will not have spectacular jumps nor will it disappear. It will continue to occupy a niche place.
Cinema: Will be important. Tier II and Tier III towns will attract more single screens to upgrade to multiplexes.
Thinking Digital: Digital is no longer a medium. It is a way of doing business. It is how consumers interact with brands. e-commerce is gaining more prominence. A digital transformation has happened and is affecting every business. Agencies and marketers who don’t recognise this will be left behind, like dinosaurs.
Digital is a behavioural change not just a way of building a brand. This is a critical difference that a lot of agencies and marketers are not getting. Several of them are lagging behind. Some agencies will lead the digital curve and others will struggle to cover ground. The old legacy agencies will struggle as they operate in silos. Here is where the Dentsu Aegis Network’s ONE P&L philosophy scores over any other agency group
Rural: Penetrating deeper in rural will become very important for advertisers as will the Tier III and Tier IIII cities and towns. That is because in the Metros, brands have reached a high level of penetration. For their growth they will be forced to go further down. Luckily we have had a relatively good monsoon this year. With beneficial government policies also there should be more money in the hands of the rural consumer.
Measurement: It is key for any media to grow. You have two media - print and television - that are well measured with IRS and BARC. Some other media are unmeasured or poorly measured. Outdoor needs better accountability beyond what we at Dentsu Aegis Network do. An industry measure needs to evolve. Outdoor needs to get its act together. One medium that can gain the most by bringing in measurement is outdoor. A lot of people are on the move. Traffic is slow moving at least in the urban areas and the outdoor medium lends itself to that. As market leaders with dominant market share in OOH we have invested heavily in this area but it needs to become an industry-wide initiative.
Radio is poorly measured and digital has no consistent currency though it is the most measurable. There needs to be a cross media measurement system because a consumer is exposed to everything at once. We need to look at multi- media measurement rather than single media measurement. We are four to five years away from there.
The Challenge Of Talent: The big challenge for advertising and media is getting and retaining good quality talent. The talent going out is better than the talent coming in. Many years ago advertising used to be one of the preferred professions. Today it is not so, especially at the entry levels due to remuneration constraints. We are not able to attract top notch talent and if we do then we are not able to retain them. So poaching becomes a norm. All of us are guilty of it. We are not growing the talent pool the way it should be. The quality of talent pool needs to improve. This is the biggest challenge facing the industry in the next five years as I see it.
Overall I think 2018 will be a great year for advertising, but there will be clear winners and losers. Agile, digitally ahead agencies will thrive while several legacy agencies will see the beginning of the end.
Launched a digital campaign featuring Kiara Advani, directed by Mohit Suri
OPPO, The Selfie Expert, recently launched its Diwali Campaign ‘Your Best Diwali Gift’ starring the recently launched OPPO F9 Pro Starry Purple and highlighting the joy of sharing with the under privileged. The campaign aims to establish an emotional connect with its audience and encourage an alternative way of celebrating Diwali by sharing lights, colors and lots of love with a group of special children. It positions the F9 Pro Starry Purple with its charming design as the best Diwali gift this season of gifting.
Speaking on the campaign, Will Yang, Brand Director, OPPO India, said, “Festivals in India are an exciting time where families and friends reconnect and bond over gifts, lights and sweets. At OPPO, we want to make this experience joyous for all our consumers and are delighted to launch our Diwali campaign. With this campaign, we aim to do our bit and spread happiness amongst the community. We are thankful to Smile Foundation to be our partner in achieving the same. We are focused towards offering our consumers the best of technology, art and innovation this Diwali and believe the F9 Pro Starry Purple will become the best Diwali Gift this year.”
Under the campaign executed both offline and online, OPPO partnered with the Smile Foundation, a non-governmental organization that works for the welfare of children, their families, and the community and donated INR 10 lakh for a noble cause - providing support for underprivileged children’s health - with a special focus on the girl child. A beautiful product experience zone in the shape of a giant gift box was set up at Pacific Mall, Subhash Nagar, New Delhi, enabling consumers to experience the OPPO F9 Pro and light a lamp. Visitors who lit the lamp at the zone contributed towards the noble cause and did their bit in bringing a smile on an innocent child’s face.
In the second leg of the campaign, OPPO launched a digital campaign highlighting core competency of F9 Pro Starry Purple - “5-minute charge, 2-hour talk”. Directed by Mohit Suri, a seasoned Bollywood Director, and starring Kiara Advani, popular Bollywood actress, the video campaign celebrates the bond between a mother and an adopted daughter. It showcases how love connects people and is not defined by blood relations and positions the F9 Pro Starry Purple as the best gift to capture precious memories.
The digital campaign designed by Havas India showcases a young girl, played by Kiara, busy helping her mother prepare for Diwali festivities while the family discusses the tough decision of revealing the truth of her adoption. The TVC takes an emotional turn when the young girl goes back to the orphanage which her family would visit with gifts every Diwali, and where they found her. The emotional tone continues as the girl surprises her family by knowing all along, thanking them for being there for her by gifting them a brand a new OPPO F9 Pro.
- Agency: Havas India
- Creative Director - Shyam Samant
- Production house - Cutawayy Films
- Director (film) - Mohit Suri
- Producer - Gaurav Dharr and Monica Gambhir
In her 35-year-long career in advertising, Arnold spent three decades at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London where she rose to the position of Creative Director before joining AMV BBDO in 2016
AMV BBDO’s Head of Art Creative Partner, Rosie Arnold, will be stepping down after a 35-year career in advertising.
The creative legend spent three decades in advertising at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London where she rose to the position of Creative Director before taking up the Head of Art role at AMV BBDO in 2016.
AMV BBDO’s Executive Creative Directors, Adrian Rossi and Alex Grieve praised the impact she had on the company stating, “We will be hiring a hundred to replace the irreplaceable Rosie Arnold. They are big (high heeled) shoes to fill, too big for one person.”
Arnold said in a statement, “After 35 years in this amazing business I am leaving AMV to pursue my personal passions. I remain committed to helping more diversity into creative departments and will be working with several organisations developing masterclasses and mentoring.”
She added, “I love this business and consider myself immensely fortunate to have worked in it with the very best people in the very best agencies.”
Arnold will continue championing diversity through SheSays, D&AD and Creative Equals organisations.
This is the second senior departure at AMV, after Dame Cilla Snowball, Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive, announced her plans to leave at the end of 2018.
BoroPlus brand ambassador Kangana Ranaut features in the brand new TV commercial created on a differentiated animation platform
Championing the cause of #HealthySkinIsWow, FMCG major Emami Limited launches the all-new “BoroPlus Doodh Kesar Body Lotion” to beat winter dryness. Enriched with the richness of Milk (Doodh) and Pure Kashmiri Saffron (Kesar), BoroPlus Doodh Kesar body lotion is 100% ayurvedic and antiseptic. It gives 24-hour intense moisturisation to make skin healthy, soft and radiant naturally. It is suitable for all skin types and is recommended by dermatologists.
BoroPlus brand ambassador Kangana Ranaut features in the brand new TV commercial created on a differentiated animation platform. Targeted at young consumers, Kangana shakes a leg with an animated “singing and dancing cow” to a peppy jingle – completely breaking away from the typical body lotion approaches to advertising. Iconic Singer Usha Uthup lends her rich voice for the ‘cow’ character, while oted ad filmmaker and actor “Bugs” Bhargava Krishna has directed the TVC.
The campaign addresses the procrastinators and urges them to secure themselves with an appropriate Life Insurance cover, at an early age.
Aegon Life, the digital life insurance company, launches their #NoTension campaign. The intent of the campaign is to establish the need for millennials to become self-dependent when purchasing insurance, without postponing the act for yet another day. To embody the above Aegon Life has roped in Vicky Kaushal, who represents the youth of the country today.
India is home to the world’s youngest population which is predominantly tech savvy and self-reliant in all aspects of life. With this campaign, Aegon Life aims to reach out to its consumer base, coming across as a new-age, digital, e-commerce life insurer for the youth.
The campaign which was created by Brand Capital’s Brand Strategy team rolls out on TV, Print, Radio and Digital uses elements of humour with an iconic ‘shrug’ and a carefree protagonist, played by Vicky Kaushal. In the TVC, which begins with a peppy tone, Vicky remains tension-free in most of the situations in life, but hasn't really thought about how he would prepare against any uncertainties. He is then introduced to the world of Term plans wherein he opts for an easy, convenient and reliable online term plan from Aegon Life Insurance.
Speaking on the campaign, Vicky Kaushal said, “As an actor, I have always portrayed young, dynamic and relatable characters in my movies. Much similar to this, Aegon Life has made a mark in the insurance industry as a trusted and new age brand, with a fresh take on Insurance. The striking commercial aims to communicate the importance of buying Term life insurance at an early age, in a fun and quirky manner. This is the first time I have associated with a Life Insurance brand and I am delighted to be a part of this campaign."
On the launch of this campaign Vineet Arora, MD & CEO, Aegon Life Insurance said, “Our new campaign brings to the forefront that stress is a major concern in today’s time and while everything else remains uncertain, protecting your loved ones and their dreams should not be a reason to take tension. The campaign urges the new generation to not procrastinate and advises to act right away.”
He further adds, “We are delighted to welcome Vicky Kaushal to the Aegon Life family. He bears a close resemblance to the brand as a young, evolving, dynamic, confident and independent individual and is the best fit for the campaign.”
Adding to this, Sam Subramaniam, CEO, Brand Capital, shares, “Aegon Life has always approached marketing insurance products to the millennial audience in a unique and differentiated way. In many ways Aegon Life is the only “Millennials First” Insurance Company in India. We at Brand Capital are delighted to be a key shareholder in Aegon Life and to also provide marketing support through our Brand Strategy team”.
The campaign has been conceptualized and executed by Chapter Five.
The Himalaya Drug Company, India’s leading Wellness company, today launched its first Brand campaign, - ‘Khush Raho, Khushaal Raho’ bringing to life its vision of “Wellness in Every Home, Happiness in Every Heart”.
Having earned the equity and trust of millions of consumers for the last eight decades, Himalaya remains committed to solving consumer problems through its herbal products backed by science and research.
Philipe Haydon, CEO, The Himalaya Drug Company, said, “Herbal brands today are gaining preference, and consumers are increasingly considering herbal solutions as their first choice. With our range of over 500 herbal products, Himalaya continues to win hearts and offer well-being to consumers across all walks of life. We’re extremely proud to unveil the first-ever brand film bringing to life the vision of brand Himalaya.”
Speaking about the campaign, Mr. Rajesh Krishnamurthy, Business Director - Consumer Products Division, The Himalaya Drug Company, said, “The genesis of the brand film is based on the key consumer insight that small problems seem big when we don’t know how to solve them. The philosophy of our brand is to solve consumer problems through our wide range of herbal products and the campaign beautifully captures this. It’s a moment of great pride for all of us as we seek to be an integral part of consumers’ journey of Wellness and Happiness”.
The campaign has been conceptualized and executed by ad agency - Chapter Five.
Prateek Srivastava, Founder, Chapter Five, said, “As a team, we are extremely excited about this campaign that essentially establishes the problem-solution equity of Himalaya. The different incidences captured in the brand film communicate the message of happiness and showcase how different products bring joy to people’s lives and hearts. The film celebrates happiness through a happy song, happy situations, happy people, and a happy message.”
From applauding the recent SC verdict against Sec 377 to teaching boys to cook, here are few Children’s Day campaigns that caught our attention
November 14, the birthday of India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, is celebrated as Children’s Day across the country. Brands make the most of this day by rolling out inspiring campaigns that not only engage children but also evoke a rush of nostalgia among adults. Children, afterall, are increasingly becoming the decision-makers in households. So it only makes sense for brands to cater to them just right. Brands, this year, have evolved their communication game, creating mature conversations around gender roles and sexual orientation of children. Soaring imagination with a different outlook, here are some Children’s Day campaigns that caught our attention.
This Children’s Day, Godrej Appliances has released #LetsStartRight, a campaign questioning the prevalent mindsets in Indian society in terms of set gender roles and emphasizing the need to break free early. Gender stereotypes are often formed at an early age, in our everyday setups. Take the kitchen for example – the birthplace for some awesome food but awful stereotypes, one being - the kitchen is meant for girls. Conceptualized by CreativeLand Asia, the campaign is set up in the familiar construct of a home, capturing a simple moment between a grandmother and her grandchildren. It does not rely on histrionics and melodrama but nudges us subtly to rethink.
NBA and McDonald’s
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and McDonald’s today announced a partnership to introduce NBA-themed promotions and interactive NBA Experience Zones in select McDonald’s locations in 39 cities across India. From Nov. 14 till Dec. 12, McDonald’s will give away an NBA-branded basketball with every family meal purchase at any McDonald’s restaurant in the West and South region while stocks last. McDonald’s will also introduce NBA Zones in more than 30 outlets, providing fans the chance to experience the atmosphere of being at an NBA game through a range of interactive experiences.
This Children’s day BookMyShow has a special message for all parents. Conceptualized and executed by BBH India, this children’s day film beautifully addresses the stigma that many Indian parents continue to face regarding the sexual orientation of their children. In consonance with the recent Section 377 verdict, it strikes an emotional chord and urges parents to love their children for who they are, regardless of who they love.
exchange4media Group Service
New TVCs in Tamil and Telugu is for better audience connect
Stem cell bank, LifeCell has launched a new campaign on television to create awareness and promote umbilical cord stem cell banking.
The messaging of the TVC is created around the big benefit of preserving the baby’s umbilical cord stem cells at birth with a community stem cell bank. The TVC is aimed at to-be-parents and their families and themed around gifting of good health for the baby by the grandparents. While, traditionally, gold is considered as the most preferred cultural gift from the grandparents for the to-be-born baby, this TVC gives a new dimension of gifting good health for the baby through stem cell banking wherein the entire family benefits.
LifeCell has already done over three TV commercials in this category. The brand had earlier used celebrities such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to promote & endorse the concept and had gained substantial brand visibility and concept acceptance. This time, to add power to the messaging, LifeCell has used veteran actor Mr Vijayakumar, who is known for his impactful messaging.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells have been proven to treat over 100 medical conditions. These stem cells can be preserved at birth with a community stem cell bank and matching stem cells can be retrieved for any of the family members, when required for treatment. By preserving the baby’s cord blood stem cells at birth, the baby and the entire family gets the protection of stem cells.
Below is the link for the new TVC created in Tamil & Telugu:
V. Ravi Shankar, Chief Brand & Communication Officer, LifeCell, said, “Creating customer awareness and education is a continuous process in this category. We have a new set of audience entering the parenthood space continuously. So it is imperative that we continue to reach out to them and establish the concept to help them take an informed decision and not to miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The TVC’s theme is created around the cultural backgrounds of these markets to blend, connect and create a better engagement with the audience. It will be aired on general entertainment, news, lifestyle in regional Tamil & Telugu channels.
Mayur Abhaya, Managing Director, LifeCell said, “The launch of the new thematic TVC comes in at the time when the brand is going all out to amplify the concept of community banking. Through this campaign the brand goes a step further in establishing the benefit for the entire family by preserving the baby’s stem cells at birth.”
The objective is to highlight an everyday story, where consciously and very often unconsciously, we condition our children with the age-old gender biases
This Children’s Day, Godrej Appliances brings #LetsStartRight, a campaign questioning the prevalent mindsets in Indian society in terms of set gender roles and emphasizing the need to break free early.
The objective is to highlight an everyday story, where consciously and very often unconsciously, we condition our children with the age-old gender biases. Gender stereotypes are often formed at an early age, in our everyday setups. Take the kitchen for example – the birthplace for some awesome food but, awful stereotypes one being - the kitchen is meant for girls.
Conceptualized by CreativeLand Asia, the campaign is set up in the familiar construct of a home, capturing a simple moment between a grandmother and her grandchildren. It does not rely on histrionics and melodrama but nudges us subtly to rethink.
Speaking on the campaign Swati Rathi, Head-Marketing, Godrej Appliances said, "Being in the home appliances space allows us to observe behaviours at home including how we shape our children. As our society still grapples with gender stereotypes like women must do the cooking, we felt the problem is best tackled if we start young. Children’s day seemed like a good day to share this point of view. We hope this simple campaign makes people reflect on the small unconscious ways in which we display our biases, reevaluate our ‘soch’ and our actions, and take small corrective steps.“
Anu Joseph, Chief Creative Officer - CreativeLand Asia, further added “In this case, the brief made the film. The marketing team was ready with a bold and clear brief. We had to just write a little story around it. A strong insight is a great place to start. Gender inequality and biases are always passed down and a matter of nurture. The kitchen is a great place to start corrective action."
In the ad Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon represent a modern-day urban couple whose life and relationship are enriched by Whirlpool’s superior technology
With over 2 decades of building emotional equity with India’s home-makers, Whirlpool is all set for another big leap – a technology leap. The ethos of this leap is laid on the foundation that today’s urban lifestyles need the cutting-edge technology of tomorrow to flourish and thrive. In line with the communication, two films crafted by FCB Ulka for Whirlpool air conditioners and refrigerators have been launched recently.
The brand ambassadors, Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon represent a modern-day urban couple whose life and relationship are enriched by Whirlpool’s superior technology. Technology that transforms everyday chores into small acts of love and connection.
Air conditioner film:
The commercial is based on one magical moment between this modern couple, that brings out Whirlpool’s revolutionary 3D Cool Technology in a fun and impactful manner. It shows Sushant working out as his neighbors watch on in blatant admiration. A flustered Kriti cools down this unnecessary ‘heat’ with her Whirlpool AC. Its 40% faster cooling and 12m long air throw chills Sushant instantly, who is forced to wear his jacket leaving Kriti smugly satisfied.
This playful and flirtatious banter between the couple manages to bring out the role of the AC strongly, delivering cold technology credentials in a fun, warm and relatable manner.
In this commercial, we see Kriti getting things ready for a party at home with her friends while Sushant is away on a shoot.
A mishap in the kitchen leads to Kriti video-calling Sushant for advice. And while there is physical distance between them, we see that technology has found a way to keep their connection and chemistry fresh. It also builds in a progressive narrative of changing gender roles where men are true partners even as home-makers and cooks.
Shedding more light on the brand communications, K. G. Singh, VP Marketing, Whirlpool of India said, “Earlier this summer, Kriti Sanon and Sushant Singh Rajput, captured the playfulness of today's relationship between a couple with the launch of our AC campaign. We believe technology plays a very important role today to ensure that the relationship is always fresh even when extremely busy lives of today’s young generation act as a formidable challenge. Both of them understand and appreciate new-age technologies that are meaningful. And that’s what the new TVC portrays – a meaningful technology that helps to ensure long lasting freshness – enriching our customers' lives. We believe it’s a charming story that will be loved by the audience and captures brilliantly the benefits of our advance Adaptive Intelligence (AI) technology.”
Adding to this, John Thangaraj, National Planning Director, FCB Ulka said, “Whirlpool has always been a brand for the homemaker. However, we wanted to challenge the very notion of homemaking. We wanted to move away from the stereotypical portrayal of homemaking that the category has been built on, and instead move towards a younger, more contemporary, more progressive rendition of it- one built on shared responsibility and fluid gender roles”.
Speaking about the campaign, Surjo Dutt, NCD (North), FCB Ulka said, “This campaign marks a considerable leap in terms of execution as well as tonality for Whirlpool as a brand. It sets the brand in a new age home, where relationships are not about mushy love. It’s all about wicked romance, forever oscillating roles and technology that keeps pace with the life of this fiery couple which builds the narrative of the films to break the clutter that persists in the category. All in all, it signals a new era of advertising for brand Whirlpool that showcases the changing dynamics of today’s relationships.”
How does a brand remain authentic in its pursuit of purpose and how effective is purposeful advertising? Experts open up...
Look at ads today and you will notice that campaigns championing social causes are becoming commonplace. Majority of them explicitly use social causes to stir our hearts and activate our tear ducts. This festive season too witnessed ads by brands such as Ghadi Detergent to Bajaj Electricals making conversations about societal issues such as removing dirt from one's mind and making a difference to the society. This trend of cause-led ads triggers a thought: Do consumers actually buy it and does it really work in the favour of a brand? How does a brand remain authentic in its pursuit of purpose? And how does a brand establish where it has the right to play? We delve deeper into this discourse…
Take the recent Vicks #TouchofCare ad that has presented the story of Nisha, an orphaned girl with ichthyosis who was abandoned by her biological parents when she was just two weeks old. It captured Nisha’s story as she sails through the challenges and complexities of life. And it sure worked! The ad has made over 21 million views on YouTube. Ritu Mittal, Country Marketing Manager, Vicks India, acknowledges that it took courage to go ahead with a film that was minimal on branding. “Too much of the brand takes away the authenticity and credibility of story-telling. We wanted to bring the purpose of our brand to life, and we thought that the story of Nisha really deserved to be heard,” she explains.
Amer Jaleel, Group Chairman and CCO, MullenLoweLintas Group, says, “As a pure creative approach, I can see that if it’s well-timed, the social good video or even the caring message has huge resonance. I see a lot of these ads travel on WhatsApp and that is always a good indicator of whether they’re working or not. So that is settled. They have appeal and they are being forwarded. Some are even editing out the brand in the end and sending them as a piece of content.”
Vicks isn’t alone in adopting this advertising approach. Luggage manufacturer Samsonite recently launched a campaign focusing on reviving the tourism in Kerala after the devastating floods. It incepted an impactful video capturing the essence of every individual involved in the tourism sector, from taxi drivers and lodge managers, to elephant mahouts and others, who are eagerly waiting to welcome their guests. The ad has crossed over 2.5 million views and has fetched support and praises from a large number of people, including actors to politicians.
Talking about the campaign, Pradnya Popade, Marcom Head at Samsonite South Asia Pvt Ltd, shares that campaigning to bring tourists back to God’s Own Country was a great fit for a brand like Samsonite that is so closely tied to the tourism industry.
“Samsonite wanted to be sure that the ad would not just be riding a popular wave. We travelled to the badly affected areas and actually saw that despite Kerala being back on its feet, hotels, shops and tourist destinations, which are generally abuzz with tourists, were looking barren,” she reasons.
Raghu Bhat, Director, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi, shares that his experience is that consumers like authenticity and consistency. “We see a glut of videos trying to espouse a social cause. Many of them don't bother to integrate the product into the storyline. The intent is to engage rather than sell. The same brand manager who fights to increase branding in a 30-second ad speaks eloquently about not force-fitting the brand into the storyline of the 3-minute video,” he argues.
While experts applaud the ‘cause-vertising’ move, underlying this trend is a desire of brands to ultimately increase their market share. But are consumers really naïve to this? Rohit Ohri, Group Chairman & CEO, FCB India, notes that exploiting emotional spaces for commercial gain is something that consumers see through very easily and reject. “Authenticity is really key to how brands communicate with their consumers. If brands speak about change, it is imperative that this is done with searing honesty and with the brand genuinely committing to the cause.”
The message to brand-owners is clear: Words must follow actions. Agnello Dias, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot Dentsu India, advises that if the so-called cause is related in some way to the category or the brand, it tends to work better.
“Soul cleansing is the new brand building I suppose. The jury is still out on how much this directly impacts sales. But sometimes it becomes a CSR-ish tick box. But by and large, it’s just a fanciful way of doing old fashioned product placement. Find a heart tugging story and place the product somewhere in the vicinity,” says Dias.
Substance versus sainthood
With ‘cause-vertising’ or ‘good-vertising’ as it is termed, the lines between meaningful and maudlin, caring and cloying often run thin. How does a brand establish where it has the right to play? Rahul Jauhari, Joint President & Chief Creative Officer, Rediffusion India & Everest Brand Solutions, spells that advertisers and their agency partners need to stay focused on what the brand stands for, its real business needs and on being relevant to the consumer’s life. Jauhari establishes that unless there is a genuine connection with the brand, chances are that the consumer will remember the cause, not the brand. Which again is meaningless. “Sure you can pick a cause, as long as it has something real to do with the brand and with the consumer’s life. Consumers are not fools. Neither do they have time for shallow or pretentious work. This needs to look like a brand that cares,” he opines.
Jaleel asserts, “What I have an issue with is the cloying melodramatic execution. This really gets to me and soon it will to everyone else too. Melodrama is dying in Indian films and that is a clear message to our filmmakers as well. Brand custodians especially need to take note that for a film to be emotional, it need not be OTT.”
As to the market share bit, today’s clear view is that there’s a place for both kinds of work: the hardworking and the soft-working, he remarks. “Now if only we can find someone to keep an eye on the brand, that’ll be useful. Because opportunistic acts don’t allow you enough time to figure whether they’re on brand or not and they come with such a mouth-watering budget that it’s easy to give the go-ahead,” Jaleel adds.
Bhat, meanwhile, hints that while opting for this approach, a long term association with a cause backed with concrete action on ground is a better approach. “A 'story' that has a product-connect might be remembered more. A co-relation with product and cause might also help. Also, one-offs rarely work. Finally, the most important thing is to break through clutter. Communication that ticks the internal boxes and yet looks identical to everyone else's is not recommended,” he suggests.
Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Misbaah reports on advertising industry. Based in Mumbai, she interviews industry leaders in the creative, advertising and marketing space, reports news updates in the ad space. She drives the ‘Chillout’ section, and regularly reviews ad campaigns. In the past she has reported on mainline news, travel and lifestyle.