Viacom 18 bets on consumer engagement

With on-ground initiatives, Nickelodeon, Vh1 and Comedy Central take the experience beyond TV & directly engage with the audiences

e4m by Synjini Nandi
Updated: Sep 25, 2012 9:02 PM
Viacom 18 bets on consumer engagement

Channels from the Viacom 18 bouquet – Nickelodeon, Vh1 and Comedy Central – have undertaken aggressive consumer engagement activities as part of their marketing strategy.

Vh1 has tied up with leading college fests in the country and is focussing on direct activation through colleges where they will be a part of the main day headlining music acts.

In order to connect to the fan base, Nickelodeon is organising on-ground activities and engaging its young audience all through the month of September. Nickelodeon has celebrated grandparent’s day, friendship day, mother’s day, etc. through different engagement initiatives since the channel believes in nurturing relationships. The channel also believes that organised activities during festivals such as Holi, Rakshabandhan, etc. would help instill traditional values in young impressionable minds.

Comedy Central has begun ‘Happy Hours’ and has tied up with 19 outlets across the three cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore on an annual basis. The channel will also organise on-air spot features on other sister channels Vh1 and MTV.

According to Ferzad Palia, Senior Vice President and General Manager, English Entertainment, Viacom18, the rationale is to take the experience beyond television and to directly engage with the audience by identifying lifestyle touch-points that they frequent and integrate in their lives. This ensures that the channel is top of mind. Hence, the channel has earmarked about 10 per cent of their marketing spends for consumer engagement activities.

The college associations, which are a part of the consumer engagement programme, will comprise Vh1 getting the ‘In Association With’ or ‘Powered By’ status across all their collaterals. Further, Vh1 is getting artists to perform at their pro-nights. Some of the fests include Kiran of KC College, Kscope of Sophias, Rendezvous of IIT Delhi and Oasis – BITS Pilani. The channel has also targeted other destinations such as Golds Gym and F Bar to local hangouts such as Candies in Bandra and Koshys in Bangalore.

Additionally, the channel is planning to reach out to its core target audience through on-ground activities. “This has become very popular with our audience because keeping in line with our philosophy we help them ‘get with it’ by becoming their cool guide to what’s hot and what’s not” added Palia.

Elaborating on the success of these activities, Palia added that today audiences look to Vh1 as their guide on the best gyms, salons, clubs and hangouts across Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Through over 400 on-ground partnerships, the channel has managed to reach over two million people a week.

Nickelodeon has earmarked 30 to 40 per cent of its marketing spend on consumer engagement and digital initiatives. The remaining amount is allocated to other marketing platforms such as print (notebooks, comics, etc.) and television (GECs and movie channels). Activities have also been carried out on Yahoo and Facebook.

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sonic and Nickelodeon India stated, “Everything works hand in hand. In order to engage children, relieve them of boredom and get them out of their routine, engagement activities can play a very important role. The idea is to have a vehicle of engagement which children could relate to.”

Nickelodeon has tied up with Comic Con in Bangalore where the Nicktoons such as ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ will be present. Nickelodeon will also set-up stalls and organise fun activities at the conference which include photo ops, contests, giveaways, etc. In addition, the channel has also tied up with Phoenix Mills in Mumbai. On the occasion of Grandparents’ Day, Nicktoons would be giving away goodies and exclusive Nickelodeon merchandise.

According to Jaipuria, there is a need to come outside of the screens of laptops, computer, smartphones and connect with the audience since it is essential to have a two-way conversation rather than a one way dialogue. It gives the kids a sense that their favourite characters are with them which gives them a different kind of high.

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