Print industry in Kerala gears up for Onam boom

Change in the government is likely to revive the economy and hence increase advertising spends, especially during Onam, although currently the market seems to be little sluggish

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Updated: Aug 18, 2014 8:14 AM
Print industry in Kerala gears up for Onam boom

As people of Kerala get ready to celebrate Onam, the print industry is all gung-ho about Onam this year. Experts state change in the government might revive the economy and hence increase in advertising spends are expected to take place during Onam, although currently the market seems to be little sluggish.

exchange4media spoke to cross section of print players from Kerala as well as national players, who have a presence in the market, to gauge their opinions.

Campaigns for Onam

Mathrubhumi has launched a print campaign around the festive season. The campaign has turned around the names of some popular brands into some of the most common names used in Kerala. The idea behind the campaign is based on few questions such as ‘Who owns a brand? - the people who create it or the consumer who buys it?' or 'Who takes pride in a brand? - the people who flash it or the ones who made it?' 'Can the pride be shared?' 'Can the belonging be common?'

Shreyams Kumar M V, Director- Marketing, Mathrubhumi said, “The theme is around the customer’s aspiration for owning a premium brand. The whole idea of the campaign is to show the pride that Malayalis have in owning brands that they think are close to their heart. Onida (washing machine), for instance, becomes Omana, Whirlpool (refrigerator) becomes Waheedamol, Sony (television) becomes Sofy, Voltas (air conditioner) becomes Varkey, Nissan (the car) becomes Nissar, Samsung becomes Saramma, Arrow becomes Andrew and so on.”

Mathrubhumi is fully active in the digital medium, as they feel digital is the way forward for any brand hereafter. The group has also increased their marketing spends by 10 percent this year.

Varghese Chandy, Chief General Manager- Marketing & Advertising Sales, Malayala Manorama laid out the plans the group has for Onam this year. It has planned lot of supplements, activations and consumer exhibitions. They are running campaigns in trade magazines and websites. Different verticals from the Manorama group are organizing various activations including Onam Payasam Contest, Best Chef Contest Ponnona Kazhcha, etc, which over years have become strong properties for advertisers to associate with. They will be publishing twin issues on select days leading up to Onam, which will enable them to provide more content to readers and accommodate increased advertising volumes. They also have a consumer exhibition called ‘Fiesta’ during the Onam period.

Chandy said, “Apart from regular trade campaigns Malayala Manorama is doing an exciting in-agency activation ‘Kerala Days’. It covers 40 agencies across Delhi, Mumbai, Banglore and Chennai. Through this activation we have contacted 3000 plus odd media professionals at the agency and client side. KD is an eclectic mix of fun and serious stuff in the form of contest, Onam Pookkalam, Mahabali visits and Manorama Wheel of Fortune.”

On the other hand, Manorama Online has created a mini site- ‘Days of fun and festivity:1 venue’ for readers, which provides a 360 degree experience and covers all aspects of Onam starting from wishing their loved ones to satisfying the hunger with traditional and experimental recipes. They want to ensure that the readers feel ‘at home’ celebrating Onam with exclusive editorial properties which enable them to create e-pookalam, be a maveli and a lot more.

Not only the regional players but also national players such as Deccan Chronicle and TOI have all been involved in activities, which will have their presence felt in the market. TOI in Kerala will have a special masthead created for 10 days during Onam. They have also planned pookkalam (flower rangoli) contest and reader interactivity where the readers are asked to share pictures of celebrating Onam and food items that they prepare, etc. with TOI. Deccan Chronicle is planning to do theme based editorial content and advertising, which will make readers have information on the offers that brands are providing in the market.

On top of all this, magazines from Kerala have also been associating themselves with interesting features if not campaigns. Dhanam, a Malayalam Business Magazine has been coming out with special issue for Onam every year. This issue is a collector’s edition issue with more than twice the number of pages compared to a regular issue. The theme of this year’s special issue is ‘Top & Emerging Brands of Kerala,’ featuring important categories of brands and services from Kerala. On the circulation front, they are running a two month subscription campaign discounted at 45 percent or free book. Also, apart from the regular OOH campaigns, Dhanam takes part in conferences and exhibitions to reach out to their consumers.

‘Women make Onam come alive’ is the theme of Vanitha, a magazine from the Malayala Manorama Group. The Onam special issue of Vanitha will have three volumes. Several activities have been planned across medium to celebrate Onam with the readers. Some of them include- Vanitha Ponnonakazhcha, a Pookalamatsaram (flower carpet competition) which will be conducted across 11 centres in Kerala; Vanitha Pachakarani,  annual cookery contest, which has gained popularity with their readers; Payasamatsaram, being introduced for the first time this Onam and Vanitha Max, a consumer fair which will be held in Kozhikode during Onam and is considered to be one of the biggest of its kind in Kerala. In addition to all this, Vanitha has planned mall activities to engage their readers.

Brands & trends for Onam

In Kerala, the print medium is favoured over TV for advertising during Onam and this time too it is the same.
With 60 percent of their annual sales taking place during Onam, consumer durables are the biggest advertisers followed by automobile, jewellery. Consumer Durables alone spend 50-60 percent during this season. Historically Consumer durables and retail ads have better share in the overall ad pie. But during Onam, national brands too become active.

Onam signifies the biggest shopping festival not just for textiles and accessories, but also for categories such as home appliances, electronic gadgets, and automobiles. It is estimated that close to Rs 500 crore is spent during Onam by Keralites on purchasing home appliances, jewellery and textile. Kerala industry expects to have a 25 percent increase in the advertising revenue, when compared to last year.

Kumar said, “To national advertisers, Onam is Diwali. So the advertising spends are on a higher side during Onam. But, compared to last two seasons the market seems to be a bit sluggish this time, but I am confident that it will pick up.”

Dhanam being a regional magazine, advertisers are primarily regional brands. It has seen retailers advertising more with them.

Boby Paul, DGM- Marketing, Manorama Online said, “We have a good mix of national and regional clients and what is more important is that most of them retain with us for all Onam due to the value and exposure we offer to the clients. Consumer Durables, electronics, automotive, home appliances and retail are few verticals which are active with us.”

The major advertisers category wise include Jayalakshmi, Seematti, Kalyan Silks, Kasavu Kada and Seemas in textile, Joyalukkas, Kalyan Jewellers, Malabar Gold, Josco, Bhima and Atlas from Jewellery, Double Horse on the food side and Sony, LG, Samsung, Whirlpool and Videocon in the consumer durables segment.

According to Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook Report 2014, print media has been growing and sustained its dominance. In 2014 the overall print industry is expected to grow by 17 per cent and is expected to clock  revenue of around Rs 1540.5 crore. With the change in the government, recovery from the economic slowdown as compared to last year and other factors seem to make the market look positive for Onam.

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