Food & lifestyle genre on growth path in 2011

Relatively new player FoodFood managed to topple NDTV Good Times and Zee Khana Khazana in 2011 with some smart strategy & good content

e4m by Suraj Ramnath
Published: Jan 13, 2012 11:30 AM  | 3 min read
Food & lifestyle genre on growth path in 2011

After seeing a dip in 2010, the food and lifestyle genre saw steep growth in 2011, claiming a genre share of close to 0.25 per cent. The year saw stiff competition for established channels like NDTV Good Times and Zee Khana Khazana from new players like Sanjeev Kapoor’s FoodFood channel and TLC.


According to TAM Media Research data released for 2011, FoodFood ruled the charts, beating NDTV Good Times on the ratings front. Zee Khana Khazana did well initially, but couldn’t match up to the onslaught by FoodFood. For years Zee TV has ruled the audience with their popular show, ‘Khana Khazana’. They went ahead and launched an exclusive channel, Zee Khana Khazana, in December 2010. However, the year 2011, ended on a different note for the channel.

Commenting on FoodFood’s ratings, Anindya Ray, VP, Lodestar UM, remarked that the channel didn’t have that much ratings so far to say that it was doing extremely well. He pointed out, “India is not ready for niche channels on food. The country sure is warming up to channels like TLC and shows like ‘MasterChef India’ have done well. ‘MasterChef Australia’ on Star World has done well. If you see, TLC had done a lot of shows during Christmas. However, a complete niche channel will take time to make a landmark. The future is good, but it will take time. Thus, the ratings comparison between FoodFood and NDTV Good Times should not be a reason to gauge.”

Stating that TAM was not geared to ideally showcase the power of niche channels, Ray pointed out, “You won’t get 3 per cent or 4 per cent ratings like a GEC does. The genre in its initial stage and hasn’t reached a saturation point where a channel starts eating into another channel’s share.”

“If you have a good programme, people will follow it. If channels fail, it would be because of the content,” he added.

Agreeing with this, Amin Lakhani, Principal Partner, Mindshare, said, “People are coming up with newer content and that is good. In 2011, so many channels had a poor start; it is the content and distribution that decide a channel’s performance. You can’t compare FoodFood and NDTV Good Times as both have different content. I expect the channels to show good and relevant content in the year 2012.”

Commenting on the future trends that he would like to see in this segment, Ray said, “In 2012, I would like to see how these channels cater to different segments. India is a big country and it has plenty of food, so it is difficult to settle everywhere. Either you would be a good North Indian or South Indian food channel.”

Meanwhile, reacting to his channel’s success, Sanjeev Kapoor, MD, FoodFood, said, “I am very happy that this has happened. We believed that our channel would be the best, and it happened.”

He affirmed that one needed to have a deep understanding about the category. “It is not cricket or a music channel. You need to understand food and need to think like a foodie for your channel to work. Have passion for food and you will do well,” he advised.

The year of 2012 could see food and lifestyle channels firming base and getting greater acceptance from the Indian audience.

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Independent thinking in 2011's ad biz

2011 will be remembered as the year when ‘the Kolaveri Di effect’ and ‘Annagiri’ showed the ad industry several new ways to engage people

By Deepika Bhardwaj | Jan 11, 2012 1:02 PM   |   6 min read

Independent thinking in 2011's ad biz

The year 2011 marked the beginning of a new decade and also the beginning of a new change that is set to permeate in every sphere of communication. 2011 was a year of the rise of the independent agencies. Taproot India, Creativeland Asia, Law & Kenneth made sure that the bells kept ringing from January until December with awards, pitch wins and their amazing work. Omnicom’s buyout of Mudra sparked a fight, which is going to be much more aggressive in India in the years to come. ICC World Cup followed by the IPL was a treat for advertisers. Anna Hazare’s campaigns rocked every possible corridor, touched every person and succeeded in driving the point that engaging the country for a cause its people stands for and making noise about it will be more important in creating a movement than mere awareness of it.

This will also go down as the year when across the world, the power moved into the hands of the consumers who then went on to decide the destiny of the brands they like or hate. The industry grew a healthy double digit growth, but rising interest rates, the constant inflationary pressure and also the weakening of the rupee depressed the overall sentiment.

And to recall the milestones…

Year of the independent
Some of the biggest campaigns of the year 2011 came from the independent agencies and they continued to surpass expectations and silence the critics.

“Courage, agility, ambition and youth formed a potent combination in the 2011 march of the independent brigade. Agencies like Taproot, Creativeland Asia and Law & Kenneth took the battle right up to the big heavies, infusing a fresh air in a business, which is supposed to be all about change,” said Anil K Nair, Managing Partner at Digital Law & Kenneth.

It was a year which saw ability take over scale, believes Dheeraj Sinha, Regional Planning Director, Bates. He added, “The success of start-ups brought back the belief in individuals and personal abilities of people. It demonstrated that ideas were still more important than implementation scale.”

Idea impact
Ideas that had an impact in every possible way on brand image, results and bottom lines took centre stage in 2011.

“Today, neither the size of the agency nor the scope or even the geographic reach of the agency makes a difference to clients. The difference they are looking for is really in the people. Do they bring the experience, knowledge and insight that will make a big impact in their organisation's results and bottomline? This is the biggest milestone of 2011, which is apparent from the number of new relationships that have started in the year,” reflected Dhunji Wadia, President, Everest Brand Solutions.

Acts and not ads
Anna Hazare’s ‘India Against Corruption’ has undoubtedly been declared as the campaign of the year 2011, not only by spectators, but also by industry stalwarts. “The biggest brand building in the country in 2011 was Anna Hazare and the civil society movement that happened outside the industry. There is much to learn from such mass connections being made with such speed. The idea of ‘relevance’ to the audience in messaging needs to be brought back centre stage,” felt Shekar Swamy, Group CEO, RK Swamy, BBDO.
Not only did the campaign do the biggest brand building, it also moved every Indian. “Anna made the common man more sensitive to public issues and more importantly, empowered him that he too can do something. People don’t want to listen, they want to get involved and brands will need to appreciate this need to engage,” pointed out Alok Agrawal, COO, Cheil Worldwide Southwest Asia.
Year of virals and flashmobs
If digital is the word, ‘Kolaveri’ is the synonym for it for the year 2011. After Anna, it was Kolaveri, which again came from outside the industry, that broke all records of digital influence. “Even the honourable Ratan Tata was bemused by the Kolaveri syndrome. The inexplicable piece of musical gibberish took the country by storm, breaking through cultural and linguistic barriers like a proverbial Marina beach tsunami. It brought alive the power of digital,” noted Digital Law & Kenneth’s Nair.

Calling it the ‘Kolaveri Di effect’, Cheil Worldwide’s Agrawal said, “Social media is not niche anymore. And in India, messages jump wires. A popular Internet phenomenon quickly jumps on to mainstream media. 2011 is the year when technology driven communication has found mainstream.”

Flashmobs in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi also kept the digital inhabitants glued. Surprisingly, these were not brand motivated attempts.

Power of one
Coke Studio, KBC’s ‘Har Insaan Chhota Nahi Hota’, Aviva’s Wall of Education campaigns reiterated the power of oneness of mediums - breakthrough approaches to both creative ideas as well as innovative media placements. “Coke Studio demonstrated the power of an advertiser - The Coca-Cola Company, an advertising agency - Leo Burnett, and a couple of channels - MTV and Colors, getting together. What was produced together was media content, advertising, digital marketing and a model for local activation - all rolled into one. Coke Studio content has been downloaded in tens of millions by consumers on the net. That’s the kind of numbers mass marketers need to start fully believing in, the power of digital. And today, Coke Studio events are being held at the smallest of towns across the country,” elaborated Arvind Sharma, Chairman, Leo Burnett.

2011 in history
To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it more fit for its prime function of looking forward - Margaret Fairless Barber

To sum up, we asked industry leaders on how 2011 will be marked in history in the books of advertising. Here’s what they had to say:

Shekar Swamy: “A year where the industry seems to have matured a bit more and settled down to a routine pace.”

Arvind Sharma: “A year when a number of forces, years in the making, came together.”

Dheeraj Sinha: “The year of the nimble and the brave.”

Anil K Nair: “A year when technology finally managed to break loose the vice-like grip and control that marketers had over the process of communication and the content of it. A year when across the world, the power moved into the hands of the consumers.”

Alok Agrawal: “A year of re-arrangement, complexity. Traditional media spends moving to new areas of marketing.”

Dhunji Wadia: “Awakening of the conscience of the common person through the ongoing ‘Annagiri’ campaign.”

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2011 – And ‘all izz well’ with advertising

The biggest event of 2011, according to KV ‘Pops’ Sridhar, NCD, Leo Burnett, was the resurgence of creative entrepreneurship

By KV Sridhar | Jan 11, 2012 8:18 AM   |   3 min read

2011 – And ‘all izz well’ with advertising

The biggest event of 2011 was the resurgence of creative entrepreneurship. Amongst dozens of start-ups, the most successful ones were Taproot India and Creativeland Asia – both have not only given nightmares to the biggies, but have actually managed to make global holding companies queuing up to get a piece of them. Such an event had only happened 30 years ago, when the great Mohammed Khan’s Enterprise, Ravi Gupta & Christopher Rozario’s Trikaya, Ashok Kurian & Elsie Nanji’s Ambience, and Gautam & Gopi Kukde’s Avenues were set up. Subsequently, all Indian agencies sold out to MNCs, the latest being Mudra.

Another notable development has been the new-found creative confidence of the next generation of creatives – Agnello’s blockbluster work for Pepsi and Airtel, insightful work by Kenu and Manoj for Cadbury’s, Nitesh Tiwari’s work for KBC, world-class craftmanship by Rajiv Rao and Prakash Varma for Vodafone, Paddy’s immaculate print craft, and Raj Kurup’s new age creative solutions for Audi are some of the shining examples. It’s not surprising that the world has stopped judging Indian creativity by the number of D&AD Pencils. After all, popular cultures are being respected more now than ever before.

One cannot ignore the efforts of Shashi Sinha in making GoaFest a controversy-proof, defamation-suit-proof, a result leak-proof award show. And finally, Effies got its due by attracting and earning the respect of both creative and client communities, and planners are not certainly complaining.

While television commercials still continue to contribute 70 per cent of mass advertising, digital and new mediums continue to disappoint. While the absolute volume may not have grown, some clients have been brave to do the new – Audi using 3D technology, Coke launching Coke Studio property without any traditional advertising, Vodafone continuing to impress with new thinking by giving Santa some rest, and P&G daring to launch new thinking with Gillette’s ‘Shave-Sutra’. Hope more brands take the plunge in 2012.

As the country is witnessing its worst trust trauma, everyone is viewed with a suspicious eye, be it the Prime Minister or an army officer or a municipal clerk or an industrialist or a journalist or a godman – no one has the credentials to weather the storm. Trust and honesty are going to be the most valued premiums in the years to come, therefore, “A trust premium is more valued than a price premium”. Authenticity, honesty and earnestness are going to be the “paths” of the future.

The European debacle is not going to hurt us as much as the other counterparts as far as the growth and the numbers are concerned, but it certainly puts pressure on retaining talent. Independent agencies may gain by luring the needy souls, which may force agencies to run faster to be at the same place.

If the silver lining were to be the clutter breaking ads, then who cares about the financial crisis in Europe.

Hand on my heart, “All izz well”!

(KV ‘Pops’ Sridhar is National Creative Director at Leo Burnett.)

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No achievement in 2011: Madhukar Sabnavis

After two decades of great buoyancy and optimism, 2011 was static, feels Madhukar Sabnavis, Country Head- Discovery and Planning, O&M India

By Madhukar Sabanavis | Jan 11, 2012 8:24 AM   |   5 min read

No achievement in 2011: Madhukar Sabnavis

If I were to describe the year gone by for advertising and marketing (A&M) in India in three words, the words would be – quiet, uneventful, forgettable. This may sound a little depressing and pessimistic, but after two decades of great buoyancy and optimism, 2011 was static.

It is not that there were no interesting campaigns. In a recent survey, Airtel’s ‘Har friend zaroori hai’, Ceat’s ‘The streets are filled with idiots’, Flipkart’s ‘No kidding. No worries’, Diary Milk’s ‘Meethe mein kuch meetha ho jaye’, Asian Paints’ ‘Happy Painting Deewar’, Union Bank of India’s ‘Your dreams are not just your own’, and Pepsi’s ‘Change the Game’ were some of the advertisements mentioned by young creative folk as memorable campaigns of 2011. However, to my mind, none were game changing or path breaking the way the Vodafone ‘Zoozoos’ or Tata Tea ‘Jaago Re’ campaigns were when they were first released a few years ago. Some of these were actually follow-ups to mother campaigns launched earlier. Similarly, there were few real big, new brand launches, none at the scale of Colors and ‘Balika Vadhu’ or Docomo, which happened again in the last few years. No game changing campaign or big brand launches clearly reflected a tepid year for A&M. However, the year did see the rise of Taproot India (with two big campaigns in the year) as an alternative source of creativity for clients. This could be a game changer in the future!

Interestingly, the only game changing work came from outside the ‘commercial’ product world – the ‘India Against Corruption’ (IAC) campaign of Anna Hazare. It used the integrated power of social media, event management and media relations to create a movement. It successfully managed to get the Lokpal Bill tabled in Parliament and passed in one House. The way the movement generated online and offline buzz and spurred the youth to action is a tribute to the power of movements and causes they stand for. Unfortunately, the same campaign ended in December in a whimper, given the people turnout at the rally in Mumbai. This, too, reflects how the year has left little for people to feel good about and the actual power of the movement is in doubt.

The year clearly reinforced the traditional belief that the A&M world is strongly dependent on the social and economic environment in which it operates. 2011 was the year when the excesses of the optimism and growth of the past decades actually caught up with us as a nation and society. Let me share two examples that support this idea. First, telecom has been the game changing industry in the last decade – it has successfully democratised the mobile phone.

However, 2012 saw the emergence of the 2G scam that showed the fallout of unbridled growth with few checks and balances, and provided the air cover for galvanising the IAC movement. All the glitter of high growth suddenly got shrouded in the ghosts of corruption and unfair business practices. And second, the commercialisation and excess of cricket that the Indian market has witnessed in the last two decades had its impact. The return of the World Cup in April 2011 became a faint memory very fast. Few people now have a top of mind recall of the year as a year of Cricket World Cup win. The IPL tournament started a week post that momentous win and then the disastrous England tour followed in quick succession to leave cricket aficionados little time to savour and enjoy the fruits of the World Cup despite it coming after 28 long years.

Excess had taken away the joys of growth, victory, conquests and progress. Overlay this with an environment where the retail FDI bill got retracted and the dollar climbed relentless vis-à-vis the rupee, and it was a year when the economy got stretched and not surprisingly, marketers operated with caution rather than the normal positivism seen in previous years.

Finally, it is worth mentioning two songs that made the waves during the year – ‘DK Bose’ from the movie ‘Delhi Belly’, raising the hackles of the social moral police, and ‘Why this Kolaveri di,’ the viral hit song. The latter with its nonsense lyrics made the singer and composer celebrities overnight. This could, at one level, be seen as just pure fun- the attitude and pre-disposition of the youth today. On the other hand, this could be spelling the doom bells for aesthetics and style in everyday life. There may be merit in a famous lyricist criticism of ‘Kolaveri di’, saying they are no lyrics! One hopes this is not the beginning of the deterioration of popular culture, something India had witnessed in the 80s.

All this does sound somber, but hopefully 2011 is behind us and one wishes there is more dare and excitement in 2012. And marketing and advertising will have more achievement to show this year – something worth thinking about.

(Madhukar Sabnavis is Country Head - Discovery and Planning, Ogilvy & Mather India.)

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Online engagement to reach new levels in 2012

With his razor-sharp views on digital, Hari V Krishnan, Country Manager, LinkedIn India, sets the tone of the future in this medium

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 9, 2012 7:43 AM   |   4 min read

Online engagement to reach new levels in 2012

With his razor-sharp views on digital, Hari V Krishnan, Country Manager, LinkedIn India, sets the tone of the future in this medium.

On key milestones of digital industry in 2011:
The year 2011 was when the digital industry attracted the most attention from mainstream consumers, brands and professionals in India. The fact that Internet usage is growing on all fronts, from consumer usage to platforms for access, is a very positive sign. India now has more than 100 million Internet users and that has set up a nice foundation on which companies can drive real services and value to a large base. Lastly, consumers are spending more time online, whether they are building their image, making purchases or engaging with peers. Given all of this, I think 2012 will be the year where online engagement reaches new levels across audiences.

On the growth of digital industry:
The online industry grew phenomenally with individuals and brands realising the value of the digital platform. We at LinkedIn have seen this as well with Indian professionals having realised the value of building their online identity of record. This year, we crossed the 10-million member landmark and closed the year with over 13 million members. While there are multiple reasons for this growth, I think the primary reason is because of the rise in people engaging with each other, not just on LinkedIn, but on other online networks as well depending on the context and relevance. Due to the social nature of the web, people and brands now create and share content while at their desks or on the go. Another important thing that happened in the mobile sphere is the rise in the use of applications. Going to consumers and not waiting for them to log on to websites, businesses that created applications – whether iOS, Android or BlackBerry – enabled easier access to content for consumers.

On trends that will shape 2012:
• Data driven Social Technology: The social web generates a lot of data and it is this data, which will provide brands with insights on engaging with consumers. This data will also help networks deliver relevant and contextual content to users, helping them make sense of all the information they are being presented with across various media.

• B2B Marketing: While the Internet has been popular with B2C marketers for some time, I would expect to see a gradual increase in B2B activities on online platforms as well. Brands will seek to engage directly with select audiences and decision makers and the Internet will enable them to do this.

• Digital Services Economy: Whether it is seeking out the best talent, researching and buying the best products, seeking the best services such as entertainment, travel or education or specialised (niche) information, we will see consumers and companies use the Internet as a primary channel.

• Enterprise 2.0: We will see a number of companies adopt Internet-based applications to improve everything – from collaboration to employee engagement.

• Indian Internet meets Mainstream Business: In 2012, digital companies will be tested for their business fundamentals by their customers and investors. The winners and bystanders will be determined by cold hard business operations metrics such as profitability, process improvement and productivity. It will be the mainstream business lens with which companies are viewed, not that of fuzzy metrics such as ‘pageviews’, ‘recommendations’ or ‘likes’.

Changes expected in 2012:
In an evolving digital environment, change is omnipresent. The growth the industries in India have seen over the past year has been phenomenal and is part of a greater change that the industry will see in 2012. More people and companies will start viewing the Internet as a primary channel for business and with serious money focused on this industry, expectations will rise. This should allow the best run digital companies to thrive and seriously separate from the crowd.

(Hari V Krishnan is Country Manager at LinkedIn India.)

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2011 – When marketing broke the mould

2011 will be known as a year that broke convention and challenged paradigms - from innovative products, tactical pricing, and up-selling distribution

By Dipali Banka | Jan 9, 2012 7:38 AM   |   4 min read

2011 – When marketing broke the mould

Dreams are many, but ways are few; objectives many, but resources few; ideas many, but executable few; however, hopes aplenty, but dreamers few! The year 2011 embraced courageous dreams and ignored the feeble ones. It was a sweet-bitter experience for marketers as they saw growth of categories on one the end and declining margins on the other. Constraints of inflation, interest rates and foreign exchange negated the rising demand and growing markets. And in the midst of all this, we saw some brilliant work, right from innovative products, tactical pricing, creative promotions and up-selling distribution. All in all, 2011 will be known as a year that broke convention and challenged paradigms.

Internet one of the strongest mediums in 2011
The shift from traditional marketing to new media had been accelerating over the past few years, but saw a true coming-of-age in 2011. Moreover, the launch of 3G services in India and the manifold increase in the broadband user base has resulted in greater accessibility to the digital market place as a whole. “From Google Adwords and the traditional SEO/ SEM, and digital advertising campaigns being a sub-shoot of the mother campaign, we have now moved to a more customised and targeted online marketing plan. The most memorable campaigns have been the ‘Kingfisher Beerups’ and ‘Cadbury Bourneville-Sula Wine’s Dark Duet’ campaign, which was carried out exclusively on Twitter and saw phenomenal responses. The recent popularity of the song ‘Kolaveri Di’ is also a perfect example of just how strong Twitter as a medium is,” said Anjana Ghosh, Director, Bisleri. Apart from Twitter, Facebook apps, mobile apps/ banners/ WAP and word-of-mouth advertising have all shown greater returns and more accountability in the industry as a whole.

Putting money where the mouth is
As media clutter increased, brands invested heavily on activation in the form of on-ground events and alliances in order to reach out to consumers and give them an opportunity to touch and feel the product and experience the brand. “Campaigns are being designed on how it can be taken forward from an experiential marketing point of view and that is being done at the ground level,” said Ramesh Chembath, Associate VP - Sales & Marketing, Godrej Appliances.

Media fragmentation leads to media integration
Super fragmentation of traditional media continued with every channel in every genre fighting for eyeballs and print helping advertisers with different innovations. But this led to marketers wisely using small portions of various mediums to maintain noise and be effective. Campaigns were actually designed keeping in mind their scale up at 360 degree level. Gillette’s W.A.L.S. (Women Against Lazy Stubble) was a great example of complete integration of event, advertising and digital and went on to win the Gold Lion in the Creative Effectiveness category at Cannes Lions in 2011. Also, with media cost on the rise and ROI becoming important, co-branded marketing took off in a big way where two brands reached out to the same set of consumers together with a product proposition that does not have a conflict of interest.

Alternative Thinking
Campaigns around Do, Rise, Think surged and connected with the audiences. “Alternative Thinking using compelling ‘human behavioural aspects’ are becoming new mantras to break the clutter. Multi-million dollar campaigns are being replaced with carefully thought out ‘surge’ campaigns,” noted Indraneel Ganguli, Senior Vice President - Marketing & Communications, Mahindra Satyam. There have been lots of innovations and smaller creative centers got recognised, as is evident from Taproot India’s ‘Har ek friend zaroori hota hai’ series for Airtel.

Brands becoming bigger than products
Brands were no longer about their product benefits, but what they stand for on the whole. Larger aspects and ideas of the brands are considered for communication, for example, benefit to the community and other CSR activities to build trust amongst consumers. Companies are also using the digital medium in a big way to leverage word of mouth and create trust for themselves.

“There’s been definite erosion of trust in established authorities, be it the government or companies. What we see, instead, is the rise in consumer-to-consumer trust, as exemplified in the growing social-media traffic. Consumers’ trust in each other’s voice is growing larger through social media. Consumer has evolved with the times, while conventional media continues to be important, focus for change is on new media like the Internet and mobile phones. These form an important part of the consumers’ search journey in the buying process, and therefore, companies are increasing investments on online marketing,” remarked LK Gupta, CMO, LG Electronics.

With ever increasing growth in the user base in the digital hemisphere, we are just skimming the surface of the proverbial barrel so to speak. The best is yet to come.


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