Pitch Exclusive: In a liquid state

With low product differentiation and price sensitivity in the packaged water category, brands are focusing on getting the distribution right, while brand building has taken a backseat.

e4m by Pallavi Srivastava
Published: Jul 29, 2011 9:06 AM  | 9 min read
Pitch Exclusive: In a liquid state

The bottled water industry is one of the country’s fastest-growing industries. It is worth Rs 2,200 crore and is growing at 40 per cent year on year. Currently, it constitutes 15 per cent of the overall packaged beverage industry. And that’s the reason, the category is witnessing huge action from marketers (both from organised and unorganised space).

Ajay Konale, Sr. Brand Manager, Still Beverages, Coca-Cola India says, “There’s a lot of latent potential in the India bottled water market and as an industry we have just about started to unlock the potential. The key to growth in this industry is to be able to provide the consumers with the product of their choice at the right place at the right time and at the right price.”

The packaged water business is divided broadly into two segments in terms of cost: premium natural mineral water and Packaged Drinking Water (also called table water). Premium natural mineral water is bottled at source, capturing all the natural minerals while Packaged Drinking Water is nothing but purified water. Booming Indian middle class characterized by disposable incomes and additional purchasing power has spurred consumption of this industry.

Place: the most important P
Consumers today have ‘on-the-go lifestyle’ and they look for hygienic drinking water. Thus, distribution of the product is the most important P for this category. The key to success is to make the roduct available at every distribution point right from high end malls to railway stations, bus stations, grocery stores and even local Paan kiosks. Availability is the key factor in the water segment since most retailers stock a single brand in their outlets. Abraham Koshy, Professor Marketing, IIM Ahmedabad, says, “The category survives on strong distribution network. If there is visibility, then a brand sells. There has to be availability of the product for it to win consumer’s confidence. Consumer is confident about a brand when there is visibility of the brand.”

However, the biggest challenge is that being a very heavy product, reaching every consumer when he demands the product is not an easy task. Anjana Ghosh, Director, Business Development, Bisleri International says, “Bisleri works on a model of putting up manufacturing plants closer to the market, so that the product can be placed on every shelf in that locality. We have 52 plants all over India, 3,000 vehicles, and around 2,500 strong sales force working in the market.” Apart from ensuring availability, this strategy also helps in bringing down high logistic costs and operations. A similar strategy is adopted by Bailley from Parle Agro. And while Bailley targets consumers across India, it has a stronger focus on Tier II and Tier III cities. Nadia Chauhan, Joint Managing Director & CMO, Parle Agro, says, “National players have plants in major towns and cities only where they have their bottling units. Bailley has plants in Tier II and Tier III cities as well. Consumers in these cities don’t have much of a choice and they have to compromise by consuming local brands.”

To capture a larger share of the market, Coca-Cola is distributing two packaged water brands: Kinley and BonAqua, both priced at par at Rs 15 per litre. Coca-Cola’s Konale explains, “Our flagship packaged water brand in India, Kinley, has done well in an extremely competitive segment. With the increase in on-the-go lifestyle, the market for packaged water category is growing extremely fast and there exists huge untapped potential. Hence, we have rolled out Bonaqua in select channels- convenience and organized retail to strengthen our leadership in the category.”

Low on advertising
The Table Water Category is very aggressive on price and thus the focus is less on advertising. Sample this: According to TAM Adex, in the year 2010, the total advertising hours on TV by this category was 280 hours which is a mere 0.1 per cent of the total TV advertising Volume of 2,26,506 in the same year. Ambi MG Parameswaran, Executive Director & CEO, DraftFCB+ Ulka says, “Bottled water brands have been caught in price wars that reduce their margins, as a result they have not had the money to do serious brand building like advertising. If they succeed in moving consumers up to premium water, or spring water, then they will have the margins to invest in advertising.”

The brands from Coca Cola and PepsiCo: Kinley and Aquafina are the two brands that advertise in the media as they focus on building brand value and brand recall. Kinley from Coca-Cola has positioned itself on trust and the campaign, “Boond Boond Mein Vishwas” focused on the same. “Kinley brand personifies trust, which is a key attribute in the packaged drinking water segment. Our product attribute matched with the brand positioning is a key reason that the brand has done so well in market despite aggressive and often low priced competitors,” says Konale.

Taking the same idea of trust to the next level, Kinley launched, the ‘Vishwas Karo’ campaign a few years back, which urged consumers to choose trust and give trust a chance to transform their lives. The campaign was very successful and had played a key role in establishing Kinley as a trustworthy brand in the consumer’s mind. PepsiCo’s Aquafina, on the other hand, has positioned itself as a modern and youthful product. A brand expert, requesting anonymity, doesn’t understand how a youthful imagery can help a brand operating the packaged water category. “Maybe, Pepsico has done it, because, as group it has a youth focus. But I don’t see that helping them in this category,” he says.

Himalayan, from Tata Global Bevereges has positioned itself as a lifestyle brand has adopted the premium pricing strategy. Bisleri, which is the leader in the category with a market share of 60 per cent, does not believe in advertising as it has the first movers’ advantage. As Koshy says, Bisleri, which has been in the industry for a long time now and probably is the first player in the category, has won the consumer’s confidence and hence doesn’t advertise. Bisleri’s Ghosh believes that Bisleri has become a generic word for packaging water. “Every bottled water in India is sold as Bisleri. And that’s our target market - every consumer, who want to drink pure and safe water,” she says.

Experts feel that water is a category where there is very low scope of differentiation in terms of product, yet brands have managed to segment the category. And so we have: Premium Natural Mineral Water and Packaged Drinking Water. However, the packaged Drinking Water still dominates this category with 90 per cent share, while the mineral water segment contributes 10 per cent. There have been a few players getting into the tonic water and flavoured water space too.

The natural mineral water brands are priced between Rs 30 and Rs 50 and key brands in this space are Qua, Bisleri Vedica, Himalayan and Catch. Parmeswaram feels, “The more exciting game is being played out in the spring water space. Here, marketers have the option of charging a premium and make sure that sufficient investment is made on brand building. Himalayan is a brand that has a good chance of taking early lead in this space. It remains to be seen if they can justify the premium to Indian consumers who are intrinsically value driven.”

Ghosh too believes that Natural Mineral water is an emerging/evolving product. “It’s an aspirational product. Like a consumer aspires to move from a medium sized and low priced vehicle to a bigger car and more expensive car, it’s the same in Natural Mineral water. Consumers want to move from a bottled water to a more premium water, and we are observing a natural shift,” she adds.

However, there are certain challenges in marketing the premium natural mineral water. Retailers are not very keen on stocking these brands as the volumes are low. Also, freight costs are high in this segment as the water is sourced from the mountains. Ghosh says, “There is no major challenge in marketing Vedica, except for transporting it from the Himalayas (Uttarakhand) to various part of the country. Vedica is growing at a pace of 50 to 60 per cent but the base is very small as yet.”

Some brands are using different distribution system for marketing premium natural mineral water. For instance, for Himalayan, the distribution is handled by Nourishco a joint venture between the Tata Global Beverages and Pepsico. Pepsi uses the Tropicana Juice distribution network to distribute Himalayan, which is different from the distribution network used for Aquafina, the mass brand. Similarly, Qua the Narang Group’s premium narural water is distributed through the network used for energy drink Red Bull (also distributed by the Naranag group).

Meanwhile, the key players in the tonic water are Dharmpal Satyapal Group (Catch) and Catch Coca-Cola India (Schweppes). In the flavoured water segment, Catch Clear is the only player. Catch Clear flavoured water is actually a combination of sparkling spring water and natural fruit flavor, which is low on calories. Catch Beverages is targetting the high end consumers and that’s why the focus on niche products like tonic and flavoured water. As Puesh Gupta, Director, Dharampal Satyapal, says, “Catch Beverages, bottled at the source in Himalayas, is meant for the niche and high end customers. The different flavours and the categories have been developed keeping in mind, the well travelled, health conscious niche customer.”

For Indian consumers to develop the taste and liking for tonic water or flavoured water, it may take some time. Key players like Bisleri, Pepsico, Parle Agro and Tata Global Beverages don’t have any product in the niche segment like tonic or flavoured water. Parle Agro’s Chauhan feels, “While the water industry is large in size and growing at a good rate, it is still at a nascent stage.”

However, the biggest challenge for the category is battling the unorganised players. As per Neilson data, almost 70 per cent of the entire bottled water industry is unorganised. As these unorganised players offer higher margins, the retailers also push these local brands. And this product being an impulse purchase, consumers also tend to take what is pushed by the retailer. Another challenge for this industry in the future may come from the debate on eco-friendliness or the eco-non-friendliness of bottled water as a category. But that movement is yet to rear its green head in India.

(With inputs from Purba Das)

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Kapil Sharma and Pooja Hegde in Meesho's festive sale campaign

The ad is centred on the brand's ‘Mega Blockbuster Sale 2023’ campaign

By e4m Staff | Sep 28, 2023 2:44 PM   |   2 min read


Meesho announced its festive ‘Mega Blockbuster Sale 2023’ campaign, conceptualized to highlight its core proposition of offering quality products at the best prices.

The ad campaign stars celebs Kapil Sharma and Pooja Hegde. "Through this campaign, Meesho aims to establish itself as the preferred choice for customers seeking the best prices and deals for their festive shopping needs. Meesho’s 0% commission model helps sellers provide the lowest prices on the platform. Meesho has recorded 140 million annual transacting users. This forms a sizable portion of India’s internet population and provides sellers with a wide customer base across the country. Enabling sellers to tap into a large and diverse customer base has boosted their earning potential," said the company. 

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Nilesh Gupta, General Manager, Growth, said, “As the season of Diwali approaches, people are eagerly awaiting festive sales which encompass the best deals of the year. Indian consumers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and compare pricing across platforms before making a purchase. Our messaging, ‘Meesho check karo’ reinforces that customers can avail of quality products at the ‘right’ prices on Meesho. With the adorable and quirky duo of Kapil Sharma and Pooja Hegde, we are enlisting humour to build a strong rapport with the audience and create a sense of relatability.” 

Commenting on his association with Meesho, Kapil Sharma, said, “Over the last couple of years, Meesho continues to be an ideal choice for customers looking at shopping from different geographies of the country. I am glad to be associated with a brand that takes diverse and ever-evolving customer needs very seriously and strives to provide them with the best shopping experience.” 

Pooja Hedge added, “As we embrace the festive spirit, I am delighted to partner with Meesho in bringing an extraordinary shopping experience for everyone. Meesho’s festive campaign is a testament to the joy of giving and receiving during this special time of the year. I'm excited to be part of a campaign that not only offers an incredible selection of products but also brings the magic of the festive season right to your doorstep.” 

The campaign will be amplified through television and social media platforms. With ~120 million product listings across 30 categories, Meesho aims to ensure that customers across India have a plethora of affordable options to choose from this festive season.

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Pak fan seeks 'mauka' for the 8th time in Star Sports' World Cup ad

The film aims to build anticipation and excitement for arch-rivals India and Pakistan's 8th faceoff during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup

By e4m Staff | Sep 28, 2023 1:32 PM   |   2 min read

mauka mauka

When India and Pakistan face off in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, it's more than just a sporting event – it's a blockbuster that captures the hearts of millions of passionate fans. As the official broadcaster of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, the Star Sports Network unveils a quirky and emotionally charged campaign film that aims to build anticipation and excitement for the match. With India maintaining a perfect record against Pakistan in the ODI Cricket World Cup, having won all seven encounters between the two sides, the upcoming clash set for October 14th, 2023, promises to be a mouth-watering battle that the world eagerly awaits.

The campaign highlights India’s ‘Wait for Eight,’ as they look to maintain their unblemished record against Pakistan in the ODI World Cup, while acknowledging the fervent hopes of Pakistani fans for their team's elusive victory. The film also encapsulates the emotions of Indian cricket fans who vividly remember the World Cup victories against Pakistan and eagerly anticipate another triumph. It also introduces an endearing twist as the ghost of a familiar passionate Pakistani cricket fan, still waiting for his 'Mauka' (opportunity) to see his team win against India in the World Cup, meets the confident Indian ghosts, symbolizing the unbroken streak of victories India holds against Pakistan in ODI World Cups. The film stars none other than iconic Team India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, popular Bollywood sensation Shehnaz Gill, and renowned stand-up comedian Akash Gupta. This exceptional ensemble cast seamlessly blends cricket and entertainment to deliver a campaign that is bound to strike a chord with fans across the globe.

The last game between the ‘Greatest Rivals’ (India & Pakistan) in Asia Cup 2023 was the highest-rated ODI match ever, outside of World Cups. The fervour and enthusiasm surrounding the encounter between these two nations will be at all-time high as they clash at the biggest ICC event in India after more than a decade.

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Why Ranbir Kapoor is the rockstar for brands

As the actor celebrates his 41st birthday today, we take a look at his journey in the endorsements world 

By e4m Staff | Sep 28, 2023 11:46 AM   |   2 min read


From his debut in 'Saawariya' to performances over the years in movies like 'Rockstar', 'Barfi!', and 'Sanju', Kapoor showcased his versatility as an actor time and again. Kapoor and Alia Bhatt-starrer Brahmastra was one of the most widely talked about movies of 2022. 

But beyond the realm of cinema, his appeal extends to the world of advertising, where he has become a sought-after face for various brands. Brands like PepsiCo's Lays, Oreo-Cadbury, Renault, Flipkart have associated themselves with the Rockstar actor in the past. 

Even though Kapoor is not officially present on social media, he is still preferred by a range of brands to become their face. According to a Duff and Phelps report, Kapoor has a net worth of Rs 322 crore. The combined net worth of Kapoor and Bhatt stands around Rs 839 crore. 


Garnering around 136 million views on YouTube, Kapoor was featured in Myntra's 'Be Extraordinary Everyday' campaign. He was onboarded as the brand ambassador in February 2023, for the fashion e-commerce brand. 

Rungta Steel

He also featured in Rungta Steel's 'Life Partner' as film, alongside his wife, Alia Bhatt. 

The actors were seen in an exchange where Kapoor is seen discussing the standout features of what Bhatt assumes to be about their relationship but turns out it was Rungta Steel TMT Bar that Kapoor talks about- one that is long-lasting, strong, shock-absorbent and stays by your side. 


Storia Foods

Storia Foods also joined hands with Kapoor for a fun digital film in 2022. The brand association kick-started with the launch of the film, conceptualized by The Script Room, that captured a quirky interaction between Kapoor and his new friend, a chimpanzee.

Asian Paints

Asian Paints featured Kapoor in its new ad for Apex Ultima Protek, earlier this year. 

Conceptualized by Ogilvy India and brought alive by director Abhinay Deo, the ad for Ultima Protek showcased Kapoor in never seen before roles - a master magician carrying out popular vanishing tricks and a confident Ultima Protek contractor. 

It was an ad featuring Ranbir vs Ranbir!



Fintech platform moneyview announced in April 2023, that it has onboarded Kapoor as its new brand ambassador. The collaboration came at the back of moneyview scaling its presence across the country. 

Kapoor represents the new-age, wise and versatile qualities of the current generation of individuals who work hard and like to experiment, the company said in a press statement. 


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Consumers want value, not price: Deepali Agarwal, Philips

In a conversation with e4m, Deepali Agarwal, Business Head- Personal Health, Philips Indian Subcontinent, talks about the upcoming festive season, consumer behaviour shifts, challenges and more

By Chehneet Kaur | Sep 28, 2023 8:48 AM   |   5 min read

Deepali Agarwal

As the festive season nears, every category is geared up to witness a splurge in consumer purchases, marketing and advertising spends, new product launches and more.
In a conversation with e4m, Deepali Agarwal, Business Head, Personal Health, Philips Indian Subcontinent, shared how this festive season is going to be special for the brand because they’re looking forward to doing three new campaigns.

“We were doing a lot of work with gaming communities and flagship stores etc., but for the first time we are going to bring out a campaign for teenagers and that's on our flagship teenage proposition One Blade. We started to activate it sometime around July-August,” she said.

According to the executive, this campaign is a fresh take on a teenager’s life and how they want to make bold and unconventional moves. It also highlights the brand as someone that supports them to move fearlessly.

With not much liberty to let out all the details, Agarwal shared that the other one is going to go live for Facetrim. Third one is likely to be on beauty with a never seen before innovation in the market.

For a well-established brand like Philips, Agarwal believes the only challenge in order to grow is to stay relevant to the consumers.

“We are fortunate to have the heritage that we have, but we are also mindful that we need to build on top of that heritage to continue to stay relevant and loved.”
Another challenge for conglomerates is that today, D2C brands are challenging their price points and quality of product offered. So, how do well-established brands like Philips stay relevant?

Agarwal shared, “Consumers want value; they don't want price. Value is a combination of what you offer and the price you command for it. And to do that, the most important for us is to be very true to consumer insights and not be true to it generically but very locally and viscerally.”

The best way is to create a connected experience that wows the consumer. This means how they discover the brand, how they purchase the product and how they have the opportunity to talk about the brand to share the experience. All of this together forms the connected experience of the consumer.

The past 24 months of Philips have also been focussed on making the consumer experience richer and richer, shared the Philips executive. “When it comes to advertising, we put in a lot of effort with real life creators and real communities. For example, with Avent we interact with mothers where they express themselves and talk about their needs and challenges and get support from fellow mothers in their journey. This helps us make meaningful connections with consumers, which is beyond advertising.”
Speaking of consumer behaviour changes in the personal care category, Agarwal has observed that in the last decade consumers in India have evolved by many folds. This is not only in beauty and grooming but also mother and child care.

For electrical babycare products like a steriliser or a breast pump, the penetration is just five percent but research shows that almost 74 percent of Indian parents want to adopt technologies to take care of their babies.

If you put these two facts together, you realise there lies a massive opportunity for brands to create meaningful innovations and also have meaningful conversations and that's really the growth journey that we want to entertain, expressed Agarwal.

Another example is, almost 75 percent of women in India style their hair but less than a quarter of them own a device.

“There is more and more aspiration and more need for consumers to be in control of their own grooming and healthcare choices. That is where Philips is working very consciously to reignite the brand love and the heritage that it has inherited.”

Coming to the martech aspect, a big focus of the organisation is to understand real time consumer behaviour in a combination of data connectivity. “We now have the technology to understand real time consumer behaviour, right from the product discovery to the point of post purchase and we will continue to learn around that.”
Next is how the brand can get deeper into contextual and moment marketing in a combination of consumer insights but also using the latest technologies to make very relatable and real time content and conversations, according to Agarwal.

She added, “Third aspect is how the brand connects the experience in-store and for quite some time, organisations have tried to do that. There is one aspect of consuming the content and another of experiencing the brand for which technology can be a great lever to connect the two.”

Looking at the future of the personal health and care category, Philips believes consumers are becoming more conscious about health post covid. There is a lot more openness in adopting technology particularly for individual health and well being.

A lot of categories particularly where Philips plays are nascent in their penetration but growing rapidly. There is a revelation where 90 percent women remove their body hair, but only seven percent use a device today and this number is rapidly growing.

Agarwal concluded, “So, we see there is an inclination to adopt technology for a better life. Because of this the future for brands like Philips is very bright and we see India as a massive opportunity.”

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Skoda Auto Volkswagen India ad expenses down by 31%

Promotional expenses came down from Rs 866.6 crores in FY22 to Rs 597.8 crores in FY23

By e4m Staff | Sep 27, 2023 5:13 PM   |   1 min read


Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd, owned by the Indian subsidiary of German automotive manufacturing company Volkswagen Group, reported a 34% jump in its revenues for the financial year 2022-23.

However, its advertising promotional expenses came down from Rs 866.6 crores in FY22 to Rs 597.8 crores in FY23.

According to the company's financial data accessed by business intelligence platform Tofler, its revenue stood at Rs 18,510 crore in FY23 with a net profit of Rs 309 crore during the same fiscal. This is a 49 % increase from the last financial year.

Its revenue from operations was up from Rs 12,410 crore in FY22 to Rs 17,041 crore in FY23.

The company’s total expenses for the fiscal were reported as Rs 17,747 crore. Its depreciation and amortization expenses stood at Rs 894 crore, up from Rs 713 crore in FY22.

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Sting Blue launched with an 'electrifying' ad

The quirky brand campaign is accompanied by the tagline 'Sting Blue Current, Kamaal ka Current’

By e4m Staff | Sep 27, 2023 4:28 PM   |   2 min read


PepsiCo India’s brand, Sting® has announced the launch of its limited-edition flavour, Sting® Blue Current. The launch is accompanied by a quirky new brand campaign that reiterates Sting®'s proposition of "electrifying energy" with, 'Sting® Blue Current, Kamaal ka Current’ tagline.

The film starts with a young couple sitting under a star - lit sky. The girl hopes to see a shooting star to share her secret wish. The boy, in his quirky Sting® style, decides to jolt himself up by getting a bolt of energy as he takes a sip of the new Sting® Blue Current. He creatively turns himself into a shooting star as the girl closes her eyes to make her wish.  The film concludes with an electrifying note, echoing the brand's tagline ‘Sting® Blue Current, Kamaal ka Current’, igniting a sense of possibilities through Sting® Blue Current’s ‘Can-Do’ energy. 

Speaking about the launch of Sting® Blue Current and the new campaign, Ankit Agarwal, Associate Director, Energy & Hydration, PepsiCo India said, “Over the past few years, Sting has carved a special place in the hearts of consumers across India. Building on the love we have received in the Indian market, we're adding Sting Blue Current to the line-up, a new variant that gives consumers the choice to experience Sting energy with a refreshing new flavour. Sting Blue Current embodies our brand's core of energizing consumers and represents our commitment to giving our audiences an electrifying boost, all while staying faithful to the brand they've grown to adore."

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World Cup in the festive months: A win-win for brands?

With the ICC Men's World Cup set to coincide with the festive season in India, experts opine whether advertisers will have to rework their budgets or dip into their coffers

By Tanzila Shaikh | Sep 28, 2023 8:40 AM   |   6 min read


Every year, brands set aside hefty budgets for the "festive season" that marks the months between August and December in India. This year, the festive season is particularly celebratory since it coincides with the ICC Men's World Cup 2023, which starts on October 5.

Most of the marketing communication will be centred on the festive season. It stands to see how the coinciding World Cup will impact their endeavours to get their year's best ROI.

Experts say that the World Cup would be the best media vehicle to reach a worldwide audience. Even if it does cut into festive budgets, it would only enhance the impact.

Big one for the advertisers!

Harking back to IPL in 2020 and 2021 and the T20 World Cup in 2022, R. Venkatasubramanian, President - Investments at Havas Media India and Managing Director - Havas Play, pointed out that it's not the first time a sports event has coincided with the festive season.

"Certain categories that associate with cricket or ICC tournaments regularly like automobile, finance, beverages, mobile, consumer durables, gaming, e-commerce, etc. will continue to spend on sports. In addition, we expect categories like FMCG, consumer durables, etc. will spend in other networks too.

“Every brand will create festive communication campaigns which they can use riding on Cricket or any other network depending on the objective of the campaign. ICC WC will also create an impact in India as it’s the host country," he noted.

"Personally, I am extremely bullish this festive season,” said Vishal Chinchankar, CEO - Madison Digital & Madison Media Alpha. It’s a big one for the advertisers. With regular media both TV and Digital, already expecting a spike in spends during festive & with WC’23 kicking in."

"When we have a sporting event like the World Cup being available during the festive season, it gives additional options for brands to build reach and deliver on their media objective," chimed in Srinivas Rao, Chief Investment Officer, Wavemaker India.

"If a brand wants to highlight its brand proposition by showcasing the brand usage, there can’t be a better fitment than a non-fiction property during the festive season," he added.

Money matters

Given that a chunk of the yearly ad monies is earmarked for the festive season, will advertisers have to rework their budgets and dip into their coffers for the World Cup?

Budget, Venkatasubramanian noted, will grow on the back of the World Cup: “Every brand has only one set budget for the festive season. Depending on their campaign objective, brands will decide whether they want to invest in sports or other marketing and advertising genres. Traditionally, advertisers spend Rs 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 Cr (approx.) during the festive period and this year we expect it to grow by an additional 6-8 % on the back of the ICC WC tournament. A massive 42-day tournament and India being the host nation will certainly give an extra boost for brands.”

Association with the tournament will depend entirely on the brand objectives, said Rao. "There are brands who would want to put in their entire budget, some would want to associate themselves only with some impact properties during festive and avoid sports altogether. Others would want to come in for the initial stages of World Cup, establish the brand proposition and build sustenance through a follow-up campaign outside," he noted.

According to Jyothi Jadhav, Vice President – Strategy & Insights, dentsu X India, big brands will bank on the World Cup, she said, “Most brands park monies for the second half of the year, for various reasons – expecting festive shopping to pick up or new launches lined up. This year’s World Cup is like a top-up to such brands. There is no fixed split to call out, but big pockets will definitely opt for a larger share in cricket while smaller brands will prefer digital for the World Cup and maintain their regular presence. It’s all about finding the right balance. Also, with India and knockout matches falling largely on weekends, skillfully scheduling the regular inventory around them will remain crucial.”

Power of global events

Festive season aside, a global event like the World Cup should be leveraged by brands to tell their stories, using the power of sports and sportsfans, Vidur Naik, Managing Partner – TCM Platform, noted.

“World Cup in India is an incredible opportunity for brands to piggyback on a global celebration of sport," he said.
It also presents a golden opportunity for brands to use innovations, even in terms of media. "New age generative AI and Metaverse opportunities can be used to break the clutter in unique ways," he said.

In IPL's shadow?

In June, e4m editor Naziya Alvi Rahman in her column Naziyanomics posed a question to brands, asking why they didn't rush in to capitalise on this year's IPL fever despite record-breaking viewership numbers.

IPL has always delivered positive results for advertisers, barring the 2022 season, which did not meet expectations, noted Venkatasubramanian. A couple of factors contributed to the 2022 edition turning out to be a damp squib: an increase in the number of teams from 8 to 10, the introduction of new players and captains, and the limited hosting of matches in select cities.

Will the World Cup meet the same fate? Venkatasubramanian shot down the concerns: "It's worth noting that the ICC World Cup is anticipated to be a significant event. Many brands have already signed up, and others are actively exploring opportunities to participate in various capacities, ranging from major to minor involvements.”

Jadhav says that due to the bifurcation of media rights, brands might be hesitant to invest. She said, “This year's IPL came with many firsts, and one of them was the bifurcation of media rights which led to a lot of uncertainty. In addition, startups opted out because of the funding crunch. But brands who wanted to ride this opportunity decided their routes between TV or Digital, as very few brands had the deep pockets needed to be on both. World Cup is different, it is a matter of national pride and moreover, it comes once in four years. Last time India lost in the WC finals, this time the expectations are high, and with the Asia Cup win they increased even further. It’s the best time to tap into consumers’ minds and create an impact.”

With 48 matches splayed across the entire festive period, experts are certain that this season will outshine last year's, especially since India is the host country this year.
"India's recent victory in the Asia Cup has set high hopes for team India’s performance in the ICC World Cup. With high expectations the matches are expected to garner impressive TV ratings, enabling brand messages to reach a vast Indian audience”, Venkatasubramanian concluded.

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