‘Humour in ad campaigns will make a comeback’

The CEO & CCO of McCann Worldgroup India Prasoon Joshi spoke to e4m about what worked for ad campaigns this festive season, and what lies ahead

e4m by Tanzila Shaikh
Published: Nov 10, 2022 8:11 AM  | 3 min read
Prasoon Joshi

The pandemic has left consumers increasingly sensitive and serious about the values they believe in. The general humour that people earlier chuckled at is now being frowned upon, said Prasoon Joshi, CEO & CCO of McCann Worldgroup India.

The adman spoke to e4m on the festive trends – what worked, what didn’t – and what lies ahead in 2023.

Excerpts from the conversation:

What major trends did you see in the advertising campaigns released this festive season?

The festive season saw a mixed bag of ad campaigns since we are coming out of the pandemic. One category was focused on how a particular offer was, and how it could benefit the consumers. The information was so useful that consumers would say that they never thought of this and they cannot miss the offer. So, one was a very offer-led, not-to-miss trend. The brands are trying to break the inertia because people are very cautiously-optimistic luring them into taking decisions. 

The second was celebratory in nature and celebration had a touch of purpose. People were talking about how Diwali could bring them together with a sense of purpose. Because the time we’re living in is more sanjeeda. When you talk to people like that, you have to have a sense of sensitivity and seriousness.

Talking about purpose-driven advertising, was it still the major trend this year?

Purpose-driven advertising happened last year, if you saw all the entries at Cannes most of them were purpose-driven. Last year people were bouncing back from the pandemic, and the societal purpose was very important for people. They have seen people helping each other, so having a sense of community was more important. This time the sense of family and relationships was there.

People are talking about sustainability, women empowerment diversity, and inclusion. There are certain global issues that the whole world is focusing on and these are going to be there for a long time. Even after a decade, we will be talking about these issues – equality, sustainability, diversity, inclusion and empowerment.

Due to the pandemic, people have lost connections, and this was well reflected in the campaigns this year.

What were the trends that didn’t work?

The ones that didn’t work were mainly those that were cold or transactional, with no touch of emotion.

What can we expect from 2023 with respect to the advertising industry?

I think and hope there will be a release. We saw people being very conscious. The use of humour will increase. In the times that we were living in, people are more sensitive, more vulnerable. Creators are very conscious too. There will be a release and light-heartedness will come back. 


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