Ad(ding) To The Festive Frenzy

Estimated ad spends surge to Rs 30,000 crore, marking a 15 per cent increase from last year, fuelled by events like the Cricket World Cup

Festive Frenzy

As the festive ad spending soars, fuelling creative battles and record-breaking campaigns, brands invest heavily to captivate consumers.

Projections indicate ad spends to surge to Rs 30,000 crore, witnessing a 15 per cent growth compared to last year's figures of Rs 26,000 crore, according to reports.

Across print, TV, and digital media, advertising revenues are set for double-digit growth, driven by the extended festive season and events like the Cricket World Cup and reality shows. 

Shifting Media Paradigm

Marketers are adapting and fine-tuning their advertising expenditure strategies by integrating both traditional and digital platforms to enhance the success of their brand campaigns. The resurgence of traditional media channels, including television, print, and out-of-home (OOH) advertising, has garnered substantial attention and is being considered an integral part of marketing strategies. These traditional media avenues are working in synergy with the potential offered by digital platforms, making them the preferred choice for marketers. Moreover, they complement the surging prevalence of ecommerce advertising.

According to a report by InMobi, a notable shift is observed in consumer behaviour, with 54 per cent of consumers opting for a hybrid shopping approach that combines both online and offline methods. Furthermore, a staggering 84 per cent of consumers have increased their online shopping budgets in comparison to the previous year.

Adopting an approach to captivate both online and offline consumers during the festive season, Damyant Singh Khanoria, CMO, Oppo India underlined, “Ecommerce platforms have become crucial for marketers, and our partnership with Flipkart is a significant part of this strategy. Specifically tailored for products like the newly launched Find N3 Flip, our collaboration ensures a broader audience and a wider reach, enabling more people to discover, get excited, and make purchases during the festive season.”

According to the #FestiveFeeling Report 2023, 30 per cent of consumers want to buy mobile phones. Adding to it, Khanoria stresses the festive season campaign stating, “Anyone purchasing an OPPO Smartphone during this festive period has a chance to win incredible rewards, including a whopping ₹10 lakh, gold coins, a motorbike, and much more, along with a range of guaranteed gifts as part of our 'My OPPO Exclusive Diwali Campaign'.”

The Power of Collaborations

Another paradigm shift has been the effectiveness of brand collaborations and the impact of influencer marketing on consumer behaviour and ad spend decisions. 

Shedding light upon brand collaborations and festive season, Ram Deshpande, CMO, LendingKart highlights that celebrities possess an innate ability to become the megaphones amplifying a brand's message, bringing an immediate spotlight to the products or services they endorse. 

Emphasising the value association with celebrities, Deshpande states, "The congruence in their values creates a compelling narrative that resonates with consumers. When the association is disjointed, and values do not align, it can confuse the average customer. An authentic partnership alignment ensures that consumers can identify with the celebrity's endorsements, fostering a sense of authenticity and trust." 

Moreover, he underscores that the ultimate truth lies in the data. "Metrics and insights derived from data offer an objective perspective on the effectiveness of these strategies. They unveil whether the celebrity or influencer partnerships have led to the desired outcomes and contributed to the brand's growth," says Deshpande.

Striking The Right Cord With Ads

Emotional and humour-laden advertising has become a cornerstone of festive campaigns. Emotional storytelling forges an emotional bond with consumers, etching the brand into their memories whereas humour breaks barriers and fosters positive associations. Interestingly, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the creative process is enhancing these aspects. This symbiosis of human emotion and AI-driven creativity is redefining festive advertising, prompting consumers to engage on a deeper level.

On the power of storytelling, Zoher Kapuswala, Marketing Lead for Ferrero Brands India (Tic Tac, Nutella, and Ferrero Rocher) stresses that consumers are open and actively seek products which can lead to recruitment and brand loyalty. He shares, "During the festive season, consumers are often seeking a sense of nostalgia, joy, and togetherness. A well-crafted story can induce these feelings and create a strong connection between the brand and the consumer."

He firmly believes that this season has the highest probability of leaving a lasting impression with increasing chances of brand recall. He underscores, "A successful festive advertising campaign can increase sales during the season and build brand loyalty. Consumers who feel a strong connection with a brand's festive message are more likely to become repeat customers."

Ad Spends Dilemma

Amidst the festive ardour, brands face numerous challenges in allocating and optimising their ad spends. Rising costs in marketing and advertising pose a financial strain while ad fatigue due to oversaturation dulls the impact of a good campaign. Nonetheless, the competitive landscape intensifies during this season, making brands go the extra mile to stand out.

Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki India stresses the importance of breaking the clutter in an oversaturated advertising landscape. Depicting the importance of the festive season in the auto sector, he shares, “People in India plan their high ticket purchases during the festive seasons as it’s considered to be very auspicious. Buying sentiments during this period are generally very high and brands across categories try to take advantage of the festive season in India.”

The allocation of advertising spends varies across different regions, influenced by factors such as regional consumer preferences, cultural nuances, and the level of technological penetration.

On clutter breaking, Srivastava states, “ A lot of advertisers become active during the season which also leads to a lot of clutter across categories. It is imperative for brands to stand out for the consumers as well as for advertisers to plan their media buys in an effective as well as efficient manner during the festive season.”

Emerging Technologies 

Technology transforms marketer-audience interaction with AI and AR. Exploring the impact of emerging technologies on advertising campaigns for the festive season, Kapuswala believes that harnessing the potential of advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms can help leverage to create more effective and engaging campaigns for advertisers. He stresses, "These tools allow advertisers to target specific demographics and individual personas with tailor-made content. The popularity of video content on platforms like YouTube, OTT Platforms and Social platforms like Facebook, and Instagram has led to an increased focus on video advertising as well."

He reveals Ferrero's innovative approach this festive season stating, "We've been working diligently behind the scenes to curate a host of exciting experiences and offerings, from unique product launches to interactive digital engagements."

Talking about consumer behaviour and AI analytics, Srivastava underlined, “We always put the end user first to enhance the consumers' overall experience. We personalise advertising campaigns based on interests, demographics, and past purchase history. Using AI and VR helps us in creating immersive and interactive experiences for our customers. We are already working towards it with the launch of ARENAVERSE and NEXAVERSE and the use of Oculus and other tools in our dealerships.”

“ From virtual scavenger hunts to journeys through augmented reality universes, QR codes are helping us add a layer of interactivity and personalisation. We are already employing our MS Chatbots to help provide customer service, answer questions, and quell queries. The possibilities are extreme given that Emotion AI and Generative AI are still in the nascent stage”, adds Srivastava

On the other hand, Kapuswala finds digital advertising as one of the most notable global and regional trends today. He highlights, "Digital advertising continues to grow globally, with more budgets shifting away from traditional media. The degree of this shift varies by region, with more developed regions investing heavily in digital, while emerging markets may still allocate a significant portion of budgets to traditional media."

Another notable trend Kapuswala emphasises is the focus of advertisers on mobile-friendly content and ad formats. 

On parallel lines, Srivastava reiterates stating that the trends are almost the same at the Pan India Level with negligible regional vagaries. He advocates, “Total Indian Adex Spends this year are likely to cross the 1 lakh crore mark. Digital and OTT spends have increased over the years, contributing to 40 per cent of spends. However, from a media perspective, it’s important to strike a balance between digital and traditional mediums.” 

The fusion of traditional and digital, the synergy between brands and influencers, the artful integration of emotion and humour, and the intelligent utilisation of AI are redefining advertising paradigms, leading to brands’ success during this festive extravaganza.