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10+2 ad cap: Marketers want to make every bullet count

19-August-2013
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10+2 ad cap: Marketers want to make every bullet count

Whilst there have been numerous and more conversations on how the 10+2 ad cap impacts the media industry at large, media plans will undergo a major change once it is implemented. We ask industry experts about the expected changes...

It emerges that creative side may too come under pressure as advertisers may reduce ad duration. So will this give creative effectiveness a whole new meaning?

In the current scenario, a commercial is produced in various versions; the 40-seconders are used essentially when the commercial is freshly launched. This 40-seconder then builds thematic value and turns into an average 30-seconder.

For prime properties such as IPL or World Cup, where media is expensive, brands build in frequency and reach using shorter edits. 

“The norm has been 30 seconds in the past. But advertisers are now taking a closer look at durations. Cost depends on the duration the ad; you may be able to get the same amount of GRPs with an ad of a smaller duration. This is a call one has to take; it does not necessarily mean your message will be less powerful in less than 30 seconds. Long ads or 30-second ads may no longer be a luxury,” said Mayank Shah, Group Product Manager, Parle Products.

Ajay Kakkar, ‎Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Group echoes this sentiment in a way when he says, “Impact of the ad is the focus; the SuperBowl ad of IBM is still remembered by people years after it was done. I want to make every bullet count now. I am going to pay more for ads, so I am going to demand better ads; it is not about longer duration. Creative effectiveness takes on a whole new meaning. To give you an analogy, I no longer need AK47 any more, I need a sniper.”

This may also facilitate an increased usage of other media to supplement the brand message with 360-degree campaigns.

Will television’s loss be digital’s gain?
Unlike a few years ago, where digital media was very nascent, today with huge brands such as HUL getting into digital in a big way, digital is gaining momentum.

Whilst television has advantage of audio visual appeal as opposed to print, which is not often used for emotional advertising, brands may find it difficult to retain love and loyalty or may be forced to search for another medium. If they are indeed restricted by a reduced time limit, digital does seem like the plausible answer.

“What might happen is reduction in creative ad duration. This will have long-term implications, and is something creative agencies should be worried about. To save costs, clients will ask to cut a 30-seconder to 20. At the end of the day, clients are buying reach and GRP,” said Suresh Balakrishnan, CEO, Lintas Media Group.

“The duration of the ad will go down. Fact is marketers’ budgets are not increasing; he/she will have to cut corners, and in the process I think the message will suffer,” added Balakrishnan.

What seems quite clear is brands will have to prioritise how to optimise their usage on television to make best of the duration.

“It all depends on why you are using the commercial – what is the intent and purpose of using the commercial. If you are using the commercial to disseminate news or information, then shorter edits are fine. When you are using it to build an emotional connect, you need a longer duration. Or in some cases, you may have so many things to say, you will need a longer format,” explained KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett India and Sub Continent.

Emotional connect?

Though shorter versions can be used for commercials – which use humour to get their message across – how will agencies handle the emotional build-up and maintain creative continuum in communication?

“It all depends on how you want to build your brand. The role of the medium will keep changing. Less people are watching TV, while a high quotient of the audience is now on mobile and YouTube. You cannot say TV has become expensive, so cut the length. Media plans will have to be tinkered according to brand needs,” added Sridhar.

Kartik Sharma, Managing Partner, Maxus shares similar thoughts on media recalibration, he said, “10+2 is making marketers rethink their edit strategy. They will now have to think hard; there will have to be options outside television. Digital now becomes important. How much you use TV will come under the scanner. If you need 100 GRPs to do an activity, the benchmark will get revised. India will actually become media neutral now, with people looking for more platforms to balance and effectively deliver the brand message.”

Creative leaders agree that the context and content are of prime importance, and a commercial cannot be turned into 20-seconders or less without relevant context and brand message. A reduction in duration in this regard may result in loss of the core brand message.

Santosh Padhi, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Taproot India observed that a lot of times the nature of brand stories in India is emotional, which need a longer period of time to be told. “Consumer behaviour is reflected in our commercials, which needs to be appreciated and absorbed. Having said this, different categories may need different durations. In case of shorter durations, creative agencies will have to sit with clients and re-invent the campaigns.” 

10+2 regulation will certainly see more experimentation with other media. Agencies, along with clients, will try various permutations and combinations to arrive at the most cost effective solution. For example, shorter versions of ads on television at prime time of leading GECs may be supplemented with longer versions on regional channels. 

Whether the 10+2 regulation will give creative effectiveness a whole new meaning remains to be seen, but it has definitely forced marketers to recalibrate their media mix and optimise other options beyond television. At the same time, the creative fraternity will have to come to terms with the new realities – after all, as Mark Twain had said, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising”. 

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