Rewind 2015: A Good Year: Pancham Endlaw

Transparency and programmatic advertising will become even more important in 2016 and those digital companies who have not jumped on to the wagon in 2015 will have to put in extra work to stay relevant, writes Pancham Endlaw, Head (South Asia) at Opera Mediaworks

e4m by Pancham Endlaw
Published: Dec 30, 2015 9:39 AM  | 4 min read
Rewind 2015: A Good Year: Pancham Endlaw

Transparency and programmatic advertising will become even more important in 2016 and those digital companies who have not jumped on to the wagon in 2015 will have to put in extra work to stay relevant, writes Pancham Endlaw, Head (South Asia) at Opera Mediaworks…

It has been a good year in the business of mobile advertising—for the trade in general and for us at Opera Mediaworks. All trends say Indian mobile advertising more than doubled this year and we have almost tripled in revenues. There has been recognition of Indian mobile ads.

Here are some key trends that crystalized in 2015 and will be amplified in 2016.

Integration of mobile ads into mainstream advertising track:

An year ago, most mobile advertising was thematically divorced from mainstream advertising. In most cases the objectives of mobile and non mobile campaigns were very different. The realization is now in that TG time-share has significantly shifted to mobile and so the same campaigns that are there on TV and print media need to be there on mobile too. Of course there are some old school folks with separate digital and mainstream ad managers, but they are just waiting to get their ears boxed, sooner than later.

Video:

If there’s one breakout trend in 2014— it’s the growth of video in mobile advertising. Better speeds and fast spreading connectivity (mostly via growth in users of 3G and Wi-fi hotspots) and new cutting edge technology, e.g. AdColony (www.adcolony.com) have made video ads available to even feature-phones users. Today video provides significantly richer, warmer and positive brand experience at a sustainable scale already and is the fastest growing vertical within mobile advertising. 

Quality deliveries: 

There is a marked shift to pure merit driven deliveries. By this I mean a better mapping of campaign needs to audiences that we expose them to. In turn this cries for better Data Management Platforms (DMP). The broader and deeper the DMP’s source pool— the better will be campaign efficiencies to both the advertiser as well as publishers. There is also a realization that all users of a publisher are not alike so there is a shift away from ROS bombing on select publishers to DMP led multi-publisher approach.

Rejection of poorly designed campaigns:

The pressure on brand ROIs and performance ROIs will only increase in the coming year and a big part of the ROI is getting the right creative. Poorly designed creative or mismanaged flow will kill ROIs for one and all. On flipside, great creative will stand out among the clutter and will also do wonders to ROIs. There is a demand for such good creative teams and most digital agencies offer this service in house

Native: 

Advertising by nature has been disruptive – TV shows have ad breaks, newspaper ads vie for inches with news stories, etc. But there is an increasing pushback and recognition for advertising to be less disruptive to user. On mobile, this means ads to be less intrusive and be more native. As a company that has roots in browsing, we have been native (via Opera browser) for over 10 years and continue to provide a healthy blend of user experience and monetization to Opera browser users.

Programmatic: 

After video, the next big trend globally is programmatic buying. Most agencies and big volume buyers have already set up their own programmatic desks. 2016 will see the programmatic buys share of mobile advertising pie to grow significantly. Companies like Opera are already linked with majority of DSPs and so we are ready to unlock our volume and scale on programmatic buys. If this last line sounded Greek to anyone, then they have already missed the starter’s gun on the biggest trend in 2016 and will have to put in extra effort to keep their skin in the game next year.

Transparency: 

Mobile VAS went through this cleansing cycle in 2014 and mobile advertising is waking to it now. Its high-time publishers dropped questionable practices leading to false clicks and wrong accounting on video and banners. End clients are smart. They have read through publisher’s definition of views and clicks and will start demanding price-revisions. It is time to end ‘thin blue line’ practices and be completely above board on viewablity and transparency of spends. It is time for the rest of the publishers to do this or start using a partner who is already certified and genuine.

So how does 2016 look like? Short answer: I predict mobile advertising alone will be doubling revenues and share of overall ad-pie. But then this would only happen if the eco-system followed the above trends in letter and in spirit.

Happy 2016 to everyone.

The writer is Head, South Asia at Opera Mediaworks.

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Rewind 2015: Guest Column: Mobile is a personal device. How personalized is your marketing strategy? Ankit Rawal

Are marketing strategies personalized? There is still a lot of work to be done, writes Ankit Rawal, GM, India at InMobi

By Ankit Rawal | Dec 29, 2015 9:51 AM   |   5 min read

Rewind 2015: Guest Column: Mobile is a personal device. How personalized is your marketing strategy? Ankit Rawal

Are marketing strategies personalized? There is still a lot of work to be done, writes Ankit Rawal, GM, India at InMobi.

The mobile phone is the most personal object ever known to mankind. The wallet/purse and watch are other objects that come to mind, but all of these can now be bundled into one device. From the time you wake up to when you sleep, you spend about 175 minutes of your day on a mobile phone, according to data from eMarketer. Oh, and this figure doesn’t even include the times you make a phone call – ironically, the mobile device started off as something to make phone calls. Now, you will never hear an Apple or Xiaomi speak about voice calls. Voice calls happen to be on mobile. It’s simply not as important as everything else that surrounds the underlying function of a mobile device.

Whether you’re a mobile phone power user (someone with more than at least 50 apps on their phone) or not, you probably use your phone for perfunctory functions like checking the time, the date, Whatsapp messages and SMSs, meetings during the day and for sharing pictures you clicked using your phone (camera). Some advanced users indulge in tasks that range from: customizing their ringtones based on the person calling them, tracking their sleep quality, streaming live-video content, measuring daily calorie intake to buying and selling goods.

A common thread across all such activities is the fact that the mobile phone is a personal device. You use your phone to perform actions that are important to you, when you want to and the phone gives you the power on how you perform these actions as well. The phone is your personal assistant, your vicarious friend, your guide, and with all the reminders of meetings and action items can start resembling your boss! Yet, legacy companies look at advertising on mobile like it were TV or print. It’s not a mere change in medium. It’s an entire mind and messaging shift – one that the industry is still grappling with.

As a user, when was the last time you felt ads shown on your mobile device are ‘personalized’?

As a marketer, using mobile advertising it is critical to understand that users today are not satisfied with ‘approximations’ when it comes to advertisements. A friend recently mentioned that she gets ads in Kannada because she’s based in Bangalore. The friend is from Kerala and is a smart-phone power user. More importantly, she found the ad interesting, but couldn’t decipher its meaning. (It had a catchy image of a power bank) Clearly, the underlying data to serve the ad to a non-Kannadiga meant that its relevance is lost. Marketers and brands need to be far more innovative and deterministic while devising their mobile marketing strategies. The ability to integrate machine learning and design, to deliver engaging, and user-relevant ads in real time is not easy, but definitely possible.

One of the simplest steps is to capitalise on ‘location-based advertising.’ But carrying the previous example of my friend from Kerala forward, simply targeting all users in a city or state might not be enough. Depending on the nature of the campaign, it would be useful to club this with specific ‘persona targeting’ and deep-linked demographic data. For example, can I determine that a potential customer is about 300 metres from a coffee day? If I then serve an advertisement for cold coffee with a discount coupon, I am more likely to convert this customer. Tapping on a target users’ painpoint and offering them a mobile-smart solution is another strategy that brands and marketers need to start weaving into their mobile marketing plan. Interestingly, the online to offline conversion opens a plethora of untapped opportunities for marketers.

An interesting example of this kind of advertising is of an air purifier brand in South East Asia. When the city was blanketed under a haze caused by forest fires, the brand used geo-targeting to display real-time PSI (Pollutants Standard Index) levels integrated into the ads. As the product had a premium price point, the marketers leveraged persona targeting, to target only ‘affluent’ users. The ad unit also displayed directions (leveraging map and location services available on smart-mobile devices) to the closest retail outlet, where users could test or buy a product. As the city was blanketed in a haze, all the residents were constantly checking PSI levels on their phones. By crafting a highly personalised mobile ad campaign, the brand was able to grab the audiences’ attention.

According to eMarketer, India is estimated to have more than 260 million mobile internet users by 2016. But mobile advertising is still playing catch-up to the giant strides in software and hardware innovation. Advertising can be cut-out for sensors too. Ads can mimic behavioral patterns and so much more. It’s an untapped field and marketers are still toying with traditional forms of advertising. It irks me no end when I see an app company advertising on TV. How many of us actually watch TV? Content is watched on mobile or is downloaded and watched on PC. Advertising has to evolve on mobile and marketers need to take bigger and bolder bets if they intend to reap richer dividends from their marketing campaigns. After all, a PC may or may not be shared with 2-3 people in the family. A mobile, however, is never shared. In about 10 years, mobile has disrupted some industries and given birth to far more. The question is, do brands truly realize the power of this beast of a disrupter? Not yet.

(The author is the GM for India at InMobi)

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Rewind 2015 : Did Twitter become more advertiser-friendly in 2015?

A strong focus on increasing advertising revenues along with a number of new advertiser friendly features and products in 2015 has boosted the business potential of the microblogging platform, as brands are increasingly turning to it for marketing activities

By Abhinn Shreshtha | Dec 28, 2015 9:17 AM   |   5 min read

Rewind 2015 : Did Twitter become more advertiser-friendly in 2015?

Twitter has been something of a dark horse for years. Despite a lot of potential and a dedicated user base, it has lacked a clear business case for advertisers to spend money on. However, this has changed over the course of 2015.

A strong focus on increasing advertising revenue, along with a number of new advertiser friendly features and products, has boosted the business potential of the microblogging platform, as brands are increasingly turning to it for marketing activities.

Twitter has been also making some gains in terms of its users, and India is now the second largest user base for the company in APAC after Japan with 22.2 million users (January 2015, eMarketer). This is still much lesser than close rival Facebook, which has in excess of 120 million users in the country; its second largest market globally after the US.

eMarketer in its January 2015 report mentioned that Twitter accounts for 17 per cent of the Indian social media landscape. “In India, growth this year is more than twice as fast, at 30.4 per cent—and while it shows signs of slowing, it will still be climbing by 16.5 per cent in 2018,” said the report.

Since last year, and especially in 2015, Twitter has been making great efforts to increase its share of revenues. This includes the launch of new products for brands as well as increasing partnerships. For example, it tied up with Star Sports and Vodafone for the launch of ‘Twitter Amplify’ in 2014. The acquisition of Zipdial also brought more capabilities to its target users.

Just this year, the launch of the ‘self serve ad model’ made it easier for SMBs to experiment on the platform. Previously, many of the smaller brands used to be put off by the $10,000 minimum RO that the company insisted on.

http://www.exchange4media.com/digital/twitter-indias-$10000-minimum-budget-irks-agencies-brands_56947.html

“The launch of the self serve ad model has created curiosity among brands. Interest has been increasing, not only in 2015, but even in the year before that, primarily because Facebook is restricting organic reach. Twitter has also been tying up with a lot of media entities, which also increases their brand visibility. The minimum guarantee used to stop brands earlier, but the self service model will only fuel experimentation,” says Chetan Asher, Founder and CEO of Tonic Media.
 

“Every CMO I speak to mentions Twitter in a branding conversation,” informed Gautamm Mehra, Business Head (Social Media) of iProspect India. He further opined, “We have seen an increase in the number of advertisers across categories. The newer ad products will add to this momentum. I see these platforms being used in performance campaigns, something which we didn’t really see in 2014. It marks a big shift, and now with lead ads on Facebook, lead gen ads on twitter and lead nurturing on LinkedIn, I see all of them take a chunk away from performance budgets that we typically reserved for Google.”

Sanjay Mehta, Co-CEO of Miriam, also agreed that new ad products like ‘Promoted Trends/Tweets’, ‘Twitter Cards’ etc., offer more options to advertisers who are also getting comfortable with creating and running campaigns on the platform. However, he also admits that it is difficult to get clients to experiment with new products like Periscope and Vine. “Compared to spends seen on Facebook, Twitter still has a fraction of overall spends, but in general, digital budgets for Twitter have gone up for this year,” he told us.

Speaking about the self serve model, Mehra explains that while it will definitely benefit clients, restriction of Facebook’s organic reach has not caused any major shift in the thinking for brands. “Reach is subjective. For example, you would assume the reach of a tweet is higher because Twitter doesn’t “restrict it”, but on the other hand, the Twitter newsfeed is way more cluttered than Facebook,” he said.

However, others like Zafar Rais, CEO of Mindshift Interactive, agreed that with Facebook’s norms constantly evolving, it does throw up challenges for advertisers. Speaking specifically about ad spends, he said that more clients were open to spend money on Twitter ads in 2015 as opposed to previous years, when Twitter was mainly used for influence marketing. “Conversations have always been the USP of Twitter. The ‘pay-as-you-go model’ that was introduced also enabled industries like FMCG to take more interest. We have seen 20 per cent increase in spends on Twitter this year,” he said.

Asher also opines that the social media scenario might change in coming months if the Twitter self serve model becomes popular. When asked whether the increase of spending on Twitter promotions is at the expense of Facebook, Mehta said that it is more a case of media planners and clients hedging their bets by spreading budgets across platforms. “Earlier the clients used to think there is no quality audience on Twitter, but this perception has changed now,” he said.

However, even though it is agreed that budgets allocated to Twitter have increased, agency heads we spoke with did not expect it to become any concern for Facebook. For example, Mehta opined that Facebook’s innovations and experiments with ad products has put them way ahead of any competition. Another way of looking at it, says Mehra, is that Facebook has advanced so ahead of its peers that it is now competing with the likes of Google for ad dollars, and not with other networks and social platforms.

“Ad spends (on social media) are still dominated by Facebook. The consumer-centric brands only focus on Facebook. However, we might have the likes of Instagram and Twitter see an increase in ad budgets in the coming months,” said Asher. Similarily, Rais was of the opinion that Twitter Ads have emerged as a viable alternative to influence marketing, especially for short term targeted campaigns.

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Rewind 2015: Guest Column: HD as a phenomenon is growing and only set to grow: Vivek Srivastava

Vivek Srivastava, Senior Vice President & Head English Entertainment Cluster at Times Television Network lists five defining trends of 2015

By Vivek Srivastava | Dec 28, 2015 9:09 AM   |   4 min read

Rewind 2015: Guest Column: HD as a phenomenon is growing and only set to grow: Vivek Srivastava

Vivek Srivastava, Senior Vice President & Head English Entertainment Cluster at Times Television Network writes about the growth of HD segments, impact of social media platforms and growth of e-commerce to sum up the 2015 story.

Growth of HD

HD has been around for a while, Movies Now was in fact the first English movie channel to be launched in HD with a simulcast feed. It’s no secret that once graduated to HD; it’s very difficult to watch your favourite stars or sporting events in standard definition. However, it’s taken more than five years for consumers, and now advertisers, to take notice of the HD boom. There are enough and more advertisers who are now not only investing in HD but in many cases redeploying their spends from other media to HD, a sign of the confidence in the medium. India boasts of around 90mn digital households (DTH + digital cable). Number of HD channels has increased from four in 2010 to nearly 45+ this year and there are around 8mn HD connections. Now, couple this with the fact that around 12mn LCD/ LED TVs are sold in India every year. You would realise that HD as a phenomenon is growing and only set to grow.

Growing Popularity of Hollywood

This year has been great for Hollywood in India. Fast and Furious 7 which released across 2,200 screens in multiple languages, took the box office in India by storm with first-day opening of Rs 12 cr (as a reference point Bajirao Mastani collected 12.8 cr on day 1). The movie went on to gross Rs 100 crore in three weeks. Other notable releases which ruled the box office in 2015 were Avengers, Jurassic World, Mission Impossible. The gross box office collections of the top 10 Hollywood movies increased from Rs 320 cr in 2013 to Rs 420 cr in 2014 and 2015 is expected to cross Rs 650 cr. This is a phenomenal number, which means that India in the next few years will start competing with markets like Australia and Europe on theatrical revenues at least for big franchises.

The Birth of Rural Data

The newly formed Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) released their Rural Data this year. While these are still indicative numbers and it will take time before strategic decisions can be based on this data, however, it did throw a lot of surprises across various genres.  English, for example, received some viewership in rural markets. For some English channels, it was as high as 30 per cent of all viewership that they received in urban markets. Whichever way this data moves, one can’t take away from the fact that second wave of growth for English content consumption will come from smaller towns.

Impact of Social Media platforms

The discussions on Net-Neutrality was around since the ‘Consultation Paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services’ came out in March 2015. Soon after the consultation paper was released, 50 artists, journalists, techies and lawyers got together and started #savetheinternet campaign. Initially, the public response was muted, but it all changed when comedy group AIB uploaded a nine-minute video simplifying net neutrality, highlighting the issues and giving suggestions to the regulators. The response was unprecedented. Within 12 days over a million emails (including mine) were sent to TRAI. In a month’s time, news was abuzz with companies, pledging their support for net neutrality and walking out of restrictive platform partnerships. The campaign was proof of the growing influence of social media platforms and celebrities.

 Year of hope and optimism

Above all, 2015 was a year of hope and optimism. Categories like automobiles, which were cautious in their spends over the last few years, came back with new launches, variants and increased ad spends. The FMCG saw quite a few launches in the premium category, but the driving category was e-commerce for the entire media sector. The ad cycle for Diwali upsurge is typically four weeks, however, this year there were advertisers which had Diwali and pre-Diwali offers. Some e-commerce players had offers running six weeks before Diwali. There is general buoyancy in trade and media owners (obviously) benefitted by it.

But, amidst all this, the real beneficiary was the consumer. Whether it was about deals on e-commerce sites or great international content at their nearest theatre, they have made merry. They have been informed, pampered and entertained.

The author is Senior Vice President & Head English Entertainment Cluster at Times Television Network.

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Rewind 2015:Guest Column: It’s time to unlearn: Dheeraj Sinha

As 2015 comes to an end, Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer, Grey South & South East Asia writes about the changes which the advertising industry needs to undergo in order to stay relevant. Sinha outlines three main shifts that need to take place for this………

By Dheeraj Sinha | Dec 28, 2015 9:02 AM   |   2 min read

Rewind 2015:Guest Column: It’s time to unlearn: Dheeraj Sinha

As 2015 comes to an end, Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer, Grey South & South East Asia writes about the changes which the advertising industry needs to undergo in order to stay relevant. Sinha outlines three main shifts that need to take place for this………

The next few years are going to be tough for the advertising agencies. No, I am not talking about thinner margins or shrinking revenues. I am talking about the unlearning that the industry needs to go through. Again, this is not new stuff and we don’t need more conferences to discuss these. We need action. The ones who unlearn the most will live to tell their tales.

In specific, I want to mention three big shifts:

From I to We:

The new process of creation is all about collaboration. We have heard this. The issue is that our grooming hasn’t been about collaboration. Most creative and planning talent has grown up taking the brief and vanishing into a cave for a week or more and then emerging with the Eureka moment or a film script. The benchmark of good account management has been their strength to manage all client issues by themselves. We have not been trained in collaboration, this is the biggest un-learning we need to go through as an industry.

From Storytelling to Story-making :

A lot of our advertising has been about a clever line, a twist at the end of the story, a joke or an inspiring call to action. Storytelling has been our forte. Nothing wrong with that. But, we now live in the times of story making. We need to create content, events, ideas that are tangible. We need to unlearn storytelling and learn the art of story making.

From Service to Advisory:

The service view says, I will do what the client wants me to do. The truth is that our environments are so complex that even the clients may not know what they want. What they do want, however, is the agency to bring a point-of-view on the table. I am told in the good old days, we used to do this well. This should be an easy one then.  

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Rewind 2015: Guest Column: India is in the throes of an increase in multi-platform consumption: Pawan Jailkhani

Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer, 9X Media takes a look at the year gone by and the defining trends of 2015 . The launch of Broadcast Audience Research Council, Rise of the Multi-Platform Viewer, and Rise of the Long format ad films and Advertiser Sponsored Programme (AFP) are some of the key trends of 2015 writes Jailkhani.

By Pawan Jailkhani | Dec 22, 2015 9:47 AM   |   5 min read

Rewind 2015: Guest Column: India is in the throes of an increase in multi-platform consumption: Pawan Jailkhani

Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer, 9X Media takes a look at the year gone by and the defining trends of 2015 .  The launch of Broadcast Audience Research Council, Rise of the Multi-Platform Viewer, and Rise of the Long format ad films and Advertiser Sponsored Programme (AFP) are some of the key trends of 2015 writes Jailkhani.

Launch of Broadcast Audience Research Council

Television ratings company-- Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), became operational from mid April 2015. This was the first time that the industry had come together to launch a ratings company. All three stakeholders, namely the broadcasters (60 per cent stake), media agencies (20 per cent stake) and advertisers (20 per cent stake) worked together to launch a world class ratings system in India.

BARC monitors C&S television ratings at household and individual levels across 153 million homes spread in equal proportions across urban and rural India with the help of 22,000 BARC meters (10,000 TAM meters would be transferred in April 2016). At a sample level, 30 per cent of meters are seeded in rural India and 30 per cent across six metros

For the first time, advertisers can measure ad campaign efficiencies in LC1 towns across the country, Rural India and across Urban + Rural India. This will give impetus to ad spends targeting rural markets. While there has been a growth of 20 per cent in the number of TV homes in urban India, rural India has grown by 75 per cent (Census 2011 Vs. Census 2001).

BARC has moved away from the earlier SEC to NCCS, capturing the buying power of a household and hence provides sharper segmentation. Approximately, 40 per cent of rural TV owning homes fall in the NCCS AB category. BARC has the ability to measure time shifted viewing, simulcast viewing and is platform agnostic. BARC will launch its online ratings system in 2016 measuring ratings across television, desktop, mobile and tablets.

BARC has commissioned Nielsen to conduct the Establishment Survey which is currently underway. In the meantime, demographic proportions and other universe slicing is done on the basis of the IRS, TRAI and the Census data. Future expansion of the balance 30,000 meters will be implemented in a phased manner over the next three years and would form the basis it’s Establishment Survey.

Rise of the Multi-Platform Viewer

India is in the throes of an increase in multi-platform consumption. Traditional media such as television is measured by BARC across 153 million C&S homes in Urban & Rural India. India has a 1.2 billion strong population (Census 2011; 31 per cent urbanization) of which 350 million are active internet users (27 per cent penetration; IAMAI). There has been a 44 per cent growth in internet users as compared to the previous year. C&S Television has a 55 per cent penetration; 153 million C&S TV owning homes across Urban + Rural India (BARC). The Unique Mobile User base is at 590 million (46 per cent penetration on total population).

There are 976 million mobile subscriptions; 1.65 subscriptions per unique mobile users. Multi-SIM incidence has grown by 62 per cent over the last two years, and according to Nielsen it is expected to continue rising as the market matures. Active mobile internet users stand at 159 million (12 per cent penetration on total population; 45 per cent penetration on total internet users). Active social media users’ count is 134 million (10 per cent penetration on total population).

Video viewing on PCs has doubled in the last three years and stands at 59 million viewers; 3.7 billion videos; 414 minutes per video. Millenials form over 75 per cent of video viewers and consume 64-65 videos per month. Size of the online video audience across tablets and smartphones has increased by 30 per cent (12 month period).

Multi-Screen consumption varies throughout the day. While television and tablet dominates during late evenings, PCs dominate during work hours. Smartphone usage is uniform across the day. Time spent on an event can almost double as compared to just TV if we factor in desktops, smartphones and tablets.

Online video durations vary on the basis of genre. Social Media videos average at 2.4 minutes per video, entertainment averages at 4.8 minutes per video, news / information averages at 5.5 minutes per video.

Google sites, portals and social media dominate the share of internet time and stands at more than half the time spent online. Laptops and desktops dominate two -thirds of web traffic while mobile phones account for a third of web traffic.

Rise of the Long format ad films and Advertiser Sponsored Programme (AFP)

The rise of the multi-platform viewer has lead to the rise in demand for long format ads. YouTube and Facebook have provided a great platform for brands to tell a story in the most effective manner and engage consumers. Clutter breaking campaigns such as ‘Chilly Paneer’ by DBS bank (the second season was aired in 2015), the ‘Paper Boat: drinks and memories’, or the Snapdeal campaign with Aamir Khan, are all examples of long format ads.  

On television, the year has witnessed AFPs grabbing eyeballs with shows promoting brands in a unique manner. On our Punjabi music channel 9X Tashan, we created a music talent show called Bingo Mad Angles. Similarly, our new show 9XM Asktrack is India’s first crowd sourced playlist show by Askme.com. Other examples include the Hero MTV Roadies show, the Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, Let’s Go by Maruti on Sab TV, etc.

The year 2016 will witness an exponential rise in AFP’s and long format ads with the roll out of 4G services.

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Rewind 2015: Traditional brands break taboos and prefer unconventional themes

Brands like Red Label, Wagh Bakri, Titan Raga, Dabur Vatika, Lux, Havells and Ariel increasingly challenged the deep rooted social taboos in their ad campaigns during 2015

By Sarmistha Neogy | Dec 21, 2015 10:04 AM   |   4 min read

Rewind 2015: Traditional brands break taboos and prefer unconventional themes

As we move towards the end of the year, we take a closer look at some ad campaigns that stood out of the clutter. One of the trends witnessed was traditional brands lapping up to bolder ad content. Age old brands broke their inhibitions and spoke about topics, which are closer to today’s generation. Tea brands like Red Label highlighted live-in-relationships and Wagh Bakri spoke about the growing gap between a husband and a wife owing to busy work life. Katrina Kaif in the Titan Raga commercial told women not to get married till they find the one who deserves their time.

Marriage portal Shaadi.com rolled out their ‘Right to Choose’ TVC, which celebrated the modern women. Lux in their campaign ‘Discover the power of fragrances’, captured Katrina Kaif through the lens of the visually challenged Mumbai-based photographer.  While Dabur Vatika in its campaign-- ‘Brave and Beautiful’, saluted the spirit of female cancer survivors.

The year 2015 saw brands not getting deterred from highlighting controversial and unconventional topics as part of their communication.

Expert comment:

Commenting on the trend seen this year, Manish Bhatt, Founder Director at Scarecrow Communications said, “It has a lot to do with the changes in social and the digital media. Brands want to create buzz and be in the news and having a social perspective helps them to get talked about in this space. Brands have identified this, as a result of which advertisers are also putting their money on these ideas.”

Pravin Thakur, Digital Media Consultant, ibrand elaborated, “These brands are trying to target the middle and upper-middle consumer segments. The ads have been made, not with an intension to drive sales, but to create strong brand recall. It is like a nudge to this segment of audience, to remind them that traditions are bygones and things are changing today, so it is very important to keep changing with time.”

According to Simha Rajamanoor, Creative Director, Campaigns and Content, Asymmetrique, “Majority of these brands in their attempt to be different have come across as fake. The brand connect is sometimes very tenuous and it is not a natural one, copy writers have to really struggle to bring out one. There is so much of content on the social media space that it is difficult to recall one particular brand today. Unless the ad is really cutting edge, I won’t remember it because it is just an ad. It has to go beyond it.”

Below are few examples of traditional brands using unconventional subjects in their ads:

Lux:

In Lux’s ‘Discover the power of fragrances’ campaign, JWT released a digital film this year featuring Katrina Kaif. The actress was captured through the lens of a visually challenged photographer, who describes what real beauty is all about. For a brand which has always been about celebrity, this particular ad stood out because it was not just the surface level beauty, but something deeper that it attempted to address.

Havells:

In an attempt to take forward the brand’s Hawa Badlegi’ (Winds of change) proposition. The campaigns were built around issues rampant in our society and highlighted how simple changes in the mindset can make a big difference.

Ariel:

Its ‘Share the Load’ campaign asked viewers that- is laundry only a woman’s job? The detergent brand from P&G attempted to raise awareness around this issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L1cHHNHrYg

Red Label:

After the success of the ‘Hindu-Muslim’ unity ad, the tea brand from the house of Brooke Bond touched the subject of live-in relationships.

 

 

Wagh Bakri Tea:

The 122-year old brand Wagh Bakri created a long format ad conceptualised by Scarecrow Communication. It looked at mending relationships at a time when we all are so absorbed in our work lives and went on to win the ‘Best ad film’ title at the 5th Dada Saheb Phalke Awards.

Dabur Vatika:

In the ‘Brave and Beautiful’ campaign by the hair-care brand, it highlighted the message that ‘some people don’t need hair to look beautiful’. The campaign saluted the spirit of cancer survivors and was appreciated for its unconventional narrative.

Nature Fresh Sampoorna Atta:

The brand’s latest campaign salutes the spirit of women who refuse to bow down to traditional role play. It highlights the aspirations of the new age woman who believe in making their own destiny.

 

Titan Raga:

In the campaign ‘When is the right time to get married?’ Katrina Kaif speaks about the undue pressure which is imposed on girls in order to get married. The ad conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather highlighted the essence of not giving in to traditions just for the sake of it.

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Rewind 2015: 2015 has been a Marketer’s fear year : Piyush Pandey

Piyush Pandey, Chairman and Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, India and South Asia speaks about noticeable trends this year for both the industry and O&M.He calls 2015 ‘a marketer’s fear year’ and names it the year of ‘Tu Tu Mein Mein’

By Sarmistha Neogy | Dec 17, 2015 9:23 AM   |   5 min read

Rewind 2015: 2015 has been a Marketer’s fear year : Piyush Pandey

Piyush Pandey, Chairman and Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, India and South Asia speaks about noticeable trends this year for both the industry and O&M, his expectation from today’s budding talent; changes he hopes to see in the coming year and areas that need improvement. He calls 2015 ‘a marketer’s fear year’ and names it the year of ‘Tu Tu Mein Mein’.

Excerpts:

Which are the most memorable ad campaigns this year in your view?

There have been bits and pieces of work from the entire industry but nothing commendable as such. I don’t like to name campaigns ever. I think 2015 has been a cautious year, people have been a bit transactional in their advertising and therefore we have witnessed lesser brand building. Though the e-comm players have been very active, but they have been so transactional that hardly anything sticks to my mind.

What is reason behind this mindset?

It is mainly because of caution. People have been waiting for visible signs of excitement, which I am sure, will happen. However, 2015 has been a marketer’s fear year because of Maggi and I would like to call it a lot of ‘Tu Tu Mein Mein Year’.

What kind of changes do you expect in the advertising industry in 2016?

The economy is moving in the right direction, atleast the numbers are saying so. These numbers must impact the mood. When the mood becomes more positive we will see the results, which I am sure will happen soon.

After the immense success of your ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’ and ‘Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi’ campaigns last year, will you get associated with any other political party again?

Laughs…I would not be required by any political party for the next 3 and half years.

In this digital age, there is a lot of pressure on both the traditional as well as the new age brands to stay connected with consumers. In their attempt to be contemporary, many traditional brands end up losing touch and relevance. How can they work upon it?

Knowing the consumers is one thing and delivering messages that are memorable in the new media is a different thing. So, using technology is not the be-all and end-all and it is applicable to everybody. It will still be the idea that will prevail and we will have to learn as an industry to make use of available technology to embellish ideas further. Simply reaching-out is not good enough. But reaching-out in a fashion which is really desirable is another matter. I feel this problem is going to get addressed in the days ahead of us.

What are the areas you think today’s ad generation needs to work upon?

I think no matter how transactional the approach, one should not be scared or lazy. Think of ideas; don’t take it as a burden because sometimes in adversity lies opportunity. Who says, there can’t be an idea in retail? Think a little harder and there will an idea. Give him what he wants and do it your way. I think that is the only answer, otherwise you will have to follow the usual retail way.

The surge in the number of new agencies and the fact that some e e-comm start-ups prefer working with smaller agencies- given their budgets and mindset, does this shift pose any considerable challenge to the bigger ad agencies?

This is again a churn in the industry which will happen. There will always be 4-5 new agencies that will come up, some will do well, some will sell out and some will stay on. It is not that it has not happened in the past. There will be Contracts and there will be Rediffusions and that is the way they themselves even started out.

This year one agency that is being closely watched is Sideways, they have just started and have been one of the most talked about in the industry. So it is their time to prove themselves. Let’s see what they come up with.

 I feel things will change, the e-comm guys will also sit back and ask: ‘Am I looking like any other e-comm guy’? Do I need to build affinity? Do I have to build engagement? So brand building will take place. You can’t really accuse them of doing bad work and I think they will learn. We are at it and I am sure, we will see that work. It has been a year of transition with new brands coming in, new categories coming up, give them time to settle down and something will happen.

There have been new advertisers, and for new advertisers to start creating great work from very early days is rare. Everyone is not an Apple in terms of their thinking. May be when their businesses settle down a little bit, they will do it. So I won’t write off anybody, I will say that these young and first time advertisers will mature and think brands. Some will fall out, some will grow.

2015 has witnessed many changes in Ogilvy in terms of leadership (Abhijit Avasthi, Navin Talreja, Kawal Shoor moving out and Kunal Jeswani being appointed as CEO). How would you describe the year for O&M?

It actually happens every 7-8 years, people grow and they have ambitions of being on their own. Those working for 15 years can develop fatigue, particularly those who get into their 40s. There is a feeling that there is something which I wanted to do, but couldn’t do. This is self-actualisation. Those in their 30s have the opportunity of now actualising themselves. It is a cycle and it will happen, but as long as it doesn’t happen every year, you should take it in your stride and move on.

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