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Noorings: Live from New York

19-December-2011
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Noorings: Live from New York

If there is slowdown, it is anywhere but in the advertising business or so is the sentiment in various agency headquarters in New York. As the countdown to Christmas, and then to New Year, begins, Adland is planning for a big party and advertisers are already in. But for Adlanders, the best part is that consumers are in.

New York streets are filled with two kinds of conversations – how December is not as chilly-to-the-bone as it should be and what the festive and holiday offers at Macys or Bloomingdales or just at the street-shops around the corner, are. When I overhear some of these comments, I am reminded of a statement Irwin Gotlieb, CEO, GroupM made when I met him in his office last week – the sales numbers of Black Friday and Black Monday are far higher than what was expected, an indicator that consumers are not holding back, irrespective of the mood of the economy.

Advertisers seem to be getting the drift too – promotional messages and festive campaigns are not missing to the degree that was expected three months back. The industry’s reactions are mixed but most say they don’t feel a sense of hold back right now.

I am almost reminded of how things were back home in India just before Diwali. Enough media reports from industry experts suggested that the festival season was not likely to be ad spends wise cheerful this year. But when the festivities began and advertisers such as Panasonic, LG, Sony, Pepsi, Coke and others began spending, the expert comments were proved quite incorrect.

Perhaps that is the nature of festive spending. I keep wondering how are consumers viewing discussions of recession and market crash - are they getting tired? For now, it appears they just want to enjoy the season with their families and friends. So why should advertisers not be a part of the party too.

In all this, sitting here in New York, what I think I am missing the most is the buzz back home around this time of the year. Mumbai and Delhi streets would be lit up again and the Christmas party planning in various homes and offices would have begun, many of which I am going to miss.

And for the industry, STAR India added quite a bit to the action with the launch of Life OK. Imagine that, consumers not just in India but in various other markets including New York are living that sentiment up – Life is indeed OK.

So far, the New York chill, despite what people here think about it, and the meetings with some of the global industry leaders have kept me occupied. And while I am missing home, I agree with anyone else right now, who says life is OK.

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