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2017 in review: When advtg saw revolt of brand & customer: Anita Nayyar

Anita Nayyar, CEO - India & South Asia, Havas Media Group, encapsulates the major game-changing developments that took place in 2017 in the industry and how they will impact the business operations going forward. 

GST overall has had the greatest impact across the industry in terms of business with emphasis on FMCG. The automobile industry was ridden with GST speed breakers in the early months after implementation, which gradually stabilised and revved up. Thus, pre-decided campaigns and launches did not have a drastic impact, also pre-GST offers helped ride the low periods. 

For the common man and especially the middle class, GST has effected a price increase in everything, making them hold back their purse-strings and consumption. This impact has directly affected advertising spends, with shifts in brand marketing plans and budgets and in a consecutive year following demonetisation, advertising has certainly felt the brunt. 

With sports broadcasting rights almost becoming a monopoly with cricket, on the one hand it will increase the short term as well as long term price, thereby narrowing the cricket advertiser basket with increased base cost. On the other hand, with other sports gaining audience interest and traction, these will attract new advertisers, reducing total dependence on cricket advertising with a wider spread in sports advertising. This is something we will see panning out in the next 5 years across traditional, digital and mobile media. 

Digital and Mobile marketing, business and advertising spends have all been increasing, though not necessarily as projected. However, we are witnessing the power of the ‘revolt of brand and customer’ – YouTube was boycotted for displaying ads by prominent brands near illegal and controversial content by the likes of terrorists, white supremacists, pornographers and has recently come under controversy as a site where paedophiles target children. Facebook lost its trust and attracted the skepticism of advertisers with metric issues on ad performance on its mobile app, internal dashboard and overestimating average viewing time on its video ads. Customers have begun holding vendors accountable and in a digital world, even the biggest companies cannot escape it. 

2017 for the industry –annus horribilis or annus mirabilis? 

Really it is somewhere in between. 

The ‘horribilis’ part is that we’ve had to weather natural climatic conditions and monetary regulation changes over the past couple of years, which have affected the whole country with focus on purse-strings, in a competitive and VUCA industry. 

On the other hand, the resilience, learnability and adaptability of the advertising industry year-on-year to face and tackle these challenges head on and successfully in 2017 – is the ‘mirabilis’ part!

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