Brands ki ras leela at Ramlila grounds

Even as Durga Puja celebrations are reaching a crescendo in the Eastern part of the country, a major part of India has been observing Navratri and watching Ramlila performances in the evenings. Garba and Dandiya melas have been bringing together the Gujarati diaspora across the country. 

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Over the years, Ramlila has become a huge gathering ground for people from all walks who come to see the enactment of the Ramayana, culminating with Ravan Dahan burning of effigies on Dussehra. Given the huge crowds that flock to the grounds hosting Ramlila, the carnival-like atmosphere has been attracting a plethora of brands as they provide a direct connect with the consumers – as is seen a huge religious gathering like the Kumbh Melas. 

As Himanshu Manglik, Founder and President, Walnutcap Consulting, highlighted, “Most FMCG and consumer durables brands promote aggressively around this time. The local wannabe brands and private labels that have smaller budgets could perhaps spend 50-60 per cent of their annual budgets during these few months.” 

The Navratri-Dussehra period is a very crucial part of brands’ marketing calendar, leading up to Diwali and continuing beyond to Christmas and New Year. Ramlila mela grounds are seeing increasing activities by brands as they look to tap into the buying frenzy, as well as create brand awareness. 



Mukund Raina, Branch Head - Delhi, Enormous Brands, commented, “Brands set up accordingly for this season, with a lot of big brands and local brands increasing their advertising during this time. Local brands in the food and apparel categories are seen going for hyperlocal activities and putting up stalls and various forms of banners. Such occasions are important for the mainstream brands like Amazon, Hero, Flipkart as well, because people tend to come out during this time with their families and hence, it is important to have a deeper connect with these people.” 

With people in a celebratory mood and also looking for lucrative deals, Manglik noted, “For the more established brands, during this phase the advertising will work at two levels. At the first level, the brands will play out the brand equity salience and remind the consumers of the years of trust and companionship. At the second level, the BTL promotions will create a back slapping bonhomie of ‘Come let us break the rules and have fun’. The fun, of course, is in the exclusive festive offers, the sparkle in the discounts and the creativity in the in-store promotions.” Hence, the media mix should be use smartly. 

At Ramlila grounds, given the huge connect opportunities that they offer, ROI is an important aspect for brands to think about before advertising in such markets. If the connect is right, with the huge masses of people at the mela, the ROI is definitely good. Naresh Gupta, Co-Founder and CSO, Bang in the Middle, remarked, “Most brands will treat the mass mela as an exercise to connect and showcase. ROI is a function of how many people interacted with the brand and that can be substantial. Ramlila sees a huge crowd every day and so does the social chatter around it. It is a good place to invest in for brands.” 

With the economic slowdown this season, brands would be looking for more such direct connect opportunities with their consumers than go in for plain vanilla advertising. While the mela grounds might offer limited physical space to the brands, the stalls, kiosks, banners, etc., will prove to be an important base for information and promotion, along with the engagement for the consumers and will drive them towards the stores to make the purchases. Big brands with deep pockets can be expected to spend high and effectively on BTL activities and they also have the potential to provide credit push for purchases through tie-ups with banks and financial institutions.


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