Adland In 2023: Top Head-turning Headlines

The year for the A&M sector was fairly stable, proving to be a tailwind for the year awaiting

The year 2023, essentially for the Indian marketing and advertising ecosystem, can be described in more ways than one- pivotal, interesting, eventful, influential, impactful and the list goes on. We witnessed some novel innovations, groundbreaking developments and hefty numbers that aimed to drive the industry to a robust 2024. 

To bid a jovial goodbye to 2023, we have curated a list of important stories that sum up the year most aptly. While there did remain streaks of some not-so-celebratory events, 2023, overall, will be remembered as a sturdy and vigorous year, that tickled the advertisers' fancy.

Indian ad market shined bright

India is the fastest-growing market and leads the ad spend growth globally. In 2023, it moved into the top ten markets and is forecast to climb to 8th position by 2028. 

According to a report by Magna, Indian advertising sales grew +11.8 per cent in 2023 to ₹1099bn ($14bn) and is the 11th largest market.

This was supported by GroupM's TYNY 2023 report which predicted India to generate $17.3 billion of ad revenue in 2023, marking a 12 per cent growth overall.

Even according to the predictions of the Pitch-Madison Advertising Report 2023, AdEx was expected to grow by 16 per cent in 2023, more than 5 times higher than the global AdEx, which was expected to grow only by 3 per cent. With a 16 per cent growth rate, India's AdEx was expected to cross the landmark Rs 1,00,000 crore number and settle at Rs 1,04,230 crore.

Big bucks by brands

As per GroupM's TYNY 2023 Report, 2023 witnessed incremental ad spends of Rs 20,000 crore, as compared to 2022. This highlighted the continued growth and potential of the Indian advertising industry and the opportunities it presents for advertisers.

We saw Coca-Cola India's ad spend go up by 52 per cent in 2023, Asics India shelling Rs 25 crore for its advertising exercise, L’oreal India also spending Rs 1385.7 crore and for HUL, the ad spends stood at Rs 1209 crore.

Contrarily, Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care reduced its advertising and sales promotion spends by 45 per cent YoY during the quarter ending June 30, 2023. The company allocated a mere Rs 53.54 crore towards advertising and sales promotion in the initial quarter of fiscal year 2024. This marked a substantial decrease from the Rs 96.92 crore spent in the same period of the prior fiscal year. 

Mighty agency mergers & acquisitions

-WPP reported that two of its major creative agencies Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R, both products of historic WPP mergers, to now be VML. The newly forged agency will be 30,000-strong, spread across 64 markets, becoming an advertising behemoth and the biggest creative company in the world, as per WPP.

-Omnicom also formed a new entity called Omnicom Advertising Services, which brought together DDB Mudra, BBDO, and TBWA under one roof. Aditya Kanthy was appointed as the CEO of this newly amalgamated entity in India.

-We saw WPP acquiring amp & Goat.

-Havas acquired a slew of companies- EPROFESSIONAL, PRPundit, PivotRoots, HRZN, Uncommon Creative Studio, Noise Digital, Expert Edge, Inviqa, Klareco Communications to name a few.

Adlanders whom we lost

We lost some notable industry geniuses who will always be remembered for their remarkable contributions- Sahara Group's Subrata Roy, Sr journalist Manoj Mathur, Jubilant Industries' Manu Ahuja, ad doyen Helen Anchan, PTI's Sujit Chatterjee, Sr journo Chandrika Mago, ad veteran Aurobindo Mohanty, adman & director Pradeep Sarkar, market research and consumer insights veteran Hemant Mehta, former TBWA\India head and co-founder of Anthem Kurien Mathews, Har-Anand Publications' Narendra Kumar, Pepperfry’s Ambareesh Murty, BBC’s George Alagiah, emcee Shivaani Sen, Diageo's Ivan Manuel Menezes.

The robust regulatory mechanisms

-The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 was passed in August 2023 in the Rajya Sabha of Indian parliament. This act becomes the first law to protect citizen’s personal data.

-The Rajya Sabha passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill to replace PRB Act, 1867, a bill that replaces the existing legislation that dictates print and publishing industry registration. Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said that this will enable ease of doing business for publishing companies by simplifying the process of registration and decriminalising archaic penal provisions.

-The Rajya Sabha also passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023 on July 27 which curbs piracy and additionally, streamlines age bracket categorisation of content.

Other key news

Big moves at Ogilvy

Piyush Pandey stepped down from serving as Ogilvy’s chief creative officer worldwide and the executive chairman of its India office, after a 41-year-long association. Pandey will be replaced by Hephzibah Pathak who will take on the role of Executive Chairperson of Ogilvy India on January 1. 2024.

Cannes Lions 2023 roared loud

-The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity reported a total of 26,992 entries, an increase of 6 per cent from 2022.

- At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2023, India secured a total of 25 metals this year.

-Ogilvy India bagged a Grand Prix under the creative effectiveness lions category for Cadbury’s Shah Rukh Khan - My Ad campaign

-The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity also launched the Luxury & Lifestyle Lions this year. This Lion will provide a global benchmark for brands in the luxury space, recognising and celebrating the most impactful creative work, experiences and creative business solutions for the luxury and lifestyle sector.

Gen AI anchored the marketing ship

A report by Dentsu stated that more than 60 per cent of marketers engage with Generative AI. It has risen as the most disruptive technology breakthrough, especially in 2023. With the technology taking center stage, it is being predicted that Gen AI will add $1.5 Tn To India's GDP By 2030

IPL 2023 recorded a live broadcast reach of 434.2 mn

The 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) recorded a live broadcast reach of 434.2 million, the 2nd highest ever for the sporting spectacle, reported BARC.

IPL has also grossed its highest-ever reach of 291.4 million in the Hindi-speaking market (HSM).

All India Radio renamed to Akashvani

Prasar Bharati decided to refer to its radio services as 'Akashvani' instead of 'All India Radio'. The decision was taken earlier but was operationalised this year.

The name Akashvani was reportedly proposed by Rabindranath Tagore in 1939.

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