Digital pandal,home festivities,local brands mark Durga Puja festivities in the new normal
The great big Indian festive season that everyone has been eagerly awaiting is here. The festivals of Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami, Ganesh Mahotsav, and Onam, which came amid the strict lockdown conditions across the country, were a very muted affair.
Now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted, the festive cheer is yet to kick in, in full earnest. This is the first time that people are celebrating the festive season amid pandemic conditions – the risk of COVID infection in crowded places, wearing mask, maintaining social distancing and avoiding unnecessary travel outside home.
Durga Puja is a huge festival in West Bengal and the East region. However, the pandemic is proving to be a dampener for all festivities this year. There are limited number of puja pandals that have been allowed. Not much mass access to the pandals has been allowed by the government.
If the puja festivities are seen as a litmus test for revival of consumer buying sentiments, then it could pose some worries for brands and marketers. Srimanta Chowdhury, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, Sangbad Pratidin, observed, “Almost no brands from Delhi or Mumbai are seen on the billboards and associating with pandals this year.” At the same time, he said, “Many local brands and homegrown brands see the opportunity of visibility. While the market sentiments are timid compared to last year, a certain section of people are looking to spend as a way to dust of the negativity of the pandemic. Brands have been investing heavily on digital.”
The shift to digital has been a significant one this festive season, with more of digital pandals being seen. While on the digital front, many brands have also introduced new innovations for consumers to keep the sentiments high. This year, Snapdeal has introduced an e-store for Pujo, keeping in mind the need for home festivities. This store offers all Pujo items like Thali, Sindoor, Idols and even clothing for Pujo. According to Snapdeal, the demand for small home temples soared by 2X this season. The e-commerce portal further said, “80 per cent of the orders placed on Snapdeal were for local brands, indicating a strong preference for value goods by Indian shoppers. As celebrations go small and personal this year, we are making sure that people have everything they need to celebrate without stepping out. Our Pooja e-store this year is a collection of traditional and contemporary items that make the celebration at home complete and meaningful for shoppers.”
With people mostly celebrating at their homes, the demand for home entertainment has increased. TV channels are gearing up with a slew of fresh content line-up for viewers. Colors Bangla has introduced two special festive programmes – ‘Sree Sree Sarodiya Durga Pujo’ and ‘Golpe Gaane Pujor Adda’ – as a way to lift the festive spirits of the people.
Talking about the programming, Rahul Chakravarti, Business Head, Colors Bangla, said, “At Colors Bangla, we have always believed in redefining the entertainment quotient with innovative and meaningful content. For Bengalis, Durga Puja stirs different feelings, emotions and memories. Since Pujo will be different this year due to the ongoing pandemic, we thought of bringing the festive mood at home for our viewers by lining up programs with the best names in the industry. In addition to this, we have a special movie line up in store for the movie lovers. In our effort to provide wholesome entertainment, we are delighted to have on-boarded advertisers across categories. Further, keeping in mind the new normal, we have also launched a Durga Puja campaign to encourage our viewers to celebrate this Pujo responsibly.”
Colors Bangla has launched a campaign asking people to celebrate Durga Pujo responsibly in the new normal.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation earlier this week cautioned, till a vaccine is found the safety of the people is in their hands by celebrating responsibly this festive season and not ignoring and COVID safety protocols. This will be how festivals are celebrated in the new normal, which is another changed behaviour mode added to the list of consumer sentiments amid COVID conditions.