Unbranded Diwali: Somber mood prevails this festive season

With consumers slashing their festive budgets and slowdown pushing brands to tighten purse strings for ad spends, this Diwali is not as radiant as it should be

e4m by Twishy
Published: Nov 1, 2013 9:11 AM  | 5 min read
Unbranded Diwali: Somber mood prevails this festive season

The slight winter chill, smell of fresh paint, radiating lamps and shopping extravaganza – all of this reminds us of the illuminating festival of Diwali. However, this Diwali is not as radiant as it should be.

With growth targets and profits slashed due to depreciating Rupee and slowdown, there has been a cut in the ad spends. Experts suggest that the ad budget for print, television and radio during the festive months have seen a cut of almost 50 per cent this year. Sectors such as electronics, consumer durables, banking, telecom, automobile and FMCG have spent less on brand promotions.

A survey by ASSOCHAM reveals that the middle and lower class families have slashed their festive budgets by over 40 per cent this Diwali season as they are struggling with soaring inflation and lesser job opportunities. Major sectors are witnessing product launches on a small scale and lesser advertising campaigns due to tighter purse strings this festive season.

But what has happened to the creative bombs this Diwali? Why couldn’t they explode?

Has it ‘e’gnited’?
All the phuljharis and the patakas were waiting to be clicked from Canon but sadly the brand has not launched any ad on TV this Diwali. Canon decided to place its bet on BTL activities this year because customer experience matters the most to them.

Nokia Lumia has rolled out a new campaign celebrating the festival of lights with Priyanka Chopra and is offering a new Lumia in exchange of an old phone. The campaign talks about the art of listening and how Nokia heard the voices of consumers wanting a better phone. The ad becomes glamorous due to Priyanka Chopra and gives out the message clearly with the grandeur of Diwali.

Dell kicked-off the new ‘Celebrate Dell Se’ campaign for the festive season with the ‘Hint a Gift’ television commercial for its Inspiron series to inspire youth to ‘Do Kuch Bhi’ to get a Dell Inspiron. But why would one go overboard on buying a laptop, especially when they are available in every range. Letting the neighbours know about a new car makes sense, but not necessarily a laptop.

However, our homegrown brand Micromax has pulled off a staggering move by signing one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, Hollywood superstar Hugh Jackman as its brand ambassador. It might have cost a bomb, but this move truly reflects the fearless persona of the brand and is considered as a very calculated move.

Sweet or sour?
Early rains, inflation and health-conscious consumers have already affected the beverage industry and the beverage giant, Coca-Cola is running last year’s campaign of ‘Do Diye’ inspiring people to share happiness with the messaging ‘Khushiyan Baatnein Se Hee Badhti Hain. Coca-Cola Pilao. Khushiyan Badhao’. Though we are sure that the brand must be having some strategy behind this move, we were all waiting to cheer some more positive stories from Coke this year.

Cadbury Celebrations came up with ‘Moments of Love – Diwali ad’ this year. They asked people how they would celebrate Diwali with their loved ones and this music video features the contest winners who came up with the best messages. It shows several families celebrating this happy festival with loved ones and is supported with a soothing song. However, the brand’s last year’s campaign on ‘Iss Diwali aap kise khush karenge?’ was far more engaging and emotional. The insight of spreading happiness to mere strangers by little acts of joy was a much larger idea which should have been leveraged this year as well. Hope to celebrate Diwali with Cadbury in a better way next year.

Did it sparkle?
Though experts may suggest that the jewellery segment has also been hit badly by the slowdown, but at least for Tanishq this may not hold true. The chemistry between a serious wife and a cool husband has been portrayed in an efficient manner through the brand’s latest campaign. It will surely bring smiles to many this Diwali because the execution is very neat and relatable.

The wedding season is also approaching and jewellery brands are targeting the consumers through their latest offerings and promotions. Tanishq broke the stereotypes and showed remarriage and a dusky bride in its wedding TVC, representing progressive thinking. It celebrates forgetting the past and starting a new life. Though some may argue that the Femina ad inspired Tanishq but Tanishq is believed to be braver because the former is an elite brand targeting a relatively higher strata but the latter is mass.

Azva, the bridal jewellery collection from World Gold Council, has launched an ad capturing the magic between a couple and how they make their own set of vows to solemnise the start of their relationship for a lifetime. The ad has been shot well but tries too hard to convey the message.

It’s a disappointment for consumers not to see some of the best ads from their favourite brands this Diwali. It was time to dress up ads with the most innovative ideas, it was an occasion to let hundreds throng to your stores, it was an opportunity to light up your brand with the right fuel.  But sadly, it is Diwali underutilised.

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