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Authenticity has gained more traction in 2021: Amit Adarkar, Ipsos India

As the year 2021 draws to a close, it is time to recap the major developments across the industry. As in the previous years, Adgully has been reviewing the year 2021 for M&E, Advertising, Digital, Marketing, PR & Communications along with leading names in the industry.

As opposed to the severe disruptions brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the year 2021 was more about resilience and rebuilding.

In conversation with Adgully, Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos India, recaps the trends and developments that dominated Indian advertising and digital during 2021. He also shares his projections and expectations for 2022.

Key Developments in 2021

In 2021, another tough year, marketers contracted their marketing and advertising spends to a large extent, to brace themselves for another year of slowdown and disruption.

To get maximum bang for their bucks, marketers have been purposive and targeted. Digital usage has seen a major upsurge, with consumers glued to their mobile devices for work, entertainment, and spending (whether on utilities, food, or shopping) and marketers have leveraged these spaces to inform and engage with their key audiences. Some of the traditional advertising vehicles like Print and TV have taken a bit of a hit, paving the way for increased spends in digital – social media, OTT, and apps.

Video and Reels have emerged as good forms of engagement.

With consumers strapped for time, a faster medium of information like Twitter has been a major draw, for breaking news esp. and marketers are using promotions here to connect with target groups.

Some of the sporting events like Tokyo Olympics, T20 World Cup, IPL have also seen spikes in ad spends.

Festivals like Diwali, Eid, Christmas and the holiday season have seen consumer spends going up and advertising, too, seeing an uptick across media – billboards, newspapers, TV, airports (digital) and online for promotions, brand launches and CSR.

And if we look at the communication, it has been around health, wellbeing, compassion, inclusion, and equality, etc. After all, the pandemic has been an equalizer. And messages that show superiority over others, bias have either been toned down or shelved. Authenticity has gained more traction.

Outlook for 2022

Omicron has landed on our shores at a time when the entire advertising and marketing fraternity is hoping for a bounce back and recovery. Going by initial communication by the WHO, this variant is highly infectious, but is believed to be milder than its predecessors. Since the number of infections are going up, stringent measures are necessary to avoid spread of the virus and community transmissions.

India is inching towards normalcy and the traditional channels of advertising like Newspapers, Television, Cinemas, Outdoor and Radio will cover some lost ground and see recovery. Digital will continue to grow faster for news apps, social media (like Twitter and Instagram) and OTT. OTT is here to stay and grow. The pandemic has led to its mind boggling increase in viewership and stickiness.

For brands, it is important to be authentic, work with causes and healthier options. There is a huge opportunity for innovating and gearing up for the transformed macro environment and consumer expectations and aspirations. And advertising, too, should work in synchronicity.

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