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Festive Mood: How brands can stay relevant during the festive clutter

With half the year gone, brands’ and agencies’ focus has now turned towards the festive season, which is almost at our doorstep. Though the peak festive period of Dussehra-Durga Puja-Diwali is about two months away, preparations are already afoot to woo consumers with various promotional strategies.

Over the years, festive season has expanded beyond the traditional period of Dussehra-Durga Puja-Diwali. Encompassing events in August, coinciding with activations around Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan. Pushing the envelope further, covering Kerala’s biggest festival-Onam, which today has grown significance Pan-India.

Furthermore, our view of festive season doesn’t end with Diwali but traverses across our dominant cultural boundaries tapping into Western festive concepts of Thanksgiving, Black Friday & Cyber Monday leading up to Merry Christmas.

Come January, harvest-based festivals like Lohri, Pongal, Makar Sankranti & Magh Bihu present additional smaller pockets of occasions for festive shopping. Not surprisingly, Republic Day has also turned into a major sale occasion. These apart, Holi and Poila Boishakh/ Rongali Bihu, also see spurt in shopping in regional markets, more specifically West Bengal and Assam.

On top of it all, e-commerce platforms keep the sale season alive with contextual thematic offers all year round.

Despite the two years of Covid disruptions dampening the festive spirit in the market, IPL held the fort steady for engaged branded opportunities. The tournament being held during the dominant traditional festive periods in 2020 & 2021, brought in high levels of brand spends.

Adgully’s special column, FESTIVE MOOD, has been giving a holistic insight into ad spends, marketing strategies, consumer sentiments, promotional and communication plans, and more, around the festive season in India.

In conversation with Adgully, Cyrus Shroff -  Head of Banking and Financial Services, Performics speaks at length about the projections on advertisers spends for the festive season, categories that are expected to grow this year and much more.

Have the ad spends returned to the pre-Covid levels? Did you witness shifts in brands’ behaviour, especially after the effects of the pandemic ebbed? 

COVID-19 crisis has changed the way consumers approach “what, where how & when” they shop for products or subscribe for services. The evolution accelerated by content, producing tech enabled-convenience inclined behaviors, where Digital has become imperative more than ever! Out of sight out of mind; Brand loyalty has been challenged and ad spending levels are bittersweet for few industry sectors such as Travel where they remain below pre-crisis levels. Sectors like Ed-tech, Telecom, Gaming, CPG & OTT on the other hand are witnessing a spurt in their growth.

In 2022, Digital in India is slated to overtake TV with a forecasted growth of Rs 48.6K crore, as opposed to TV being Rs 42.3 crore. Digital is estimated to reach 45% share of the ad spends in 2022 and expected to grow by 22% compared to last year. This growth is largely fueled by video and segments like SME.

What are the innovative strategies and ad campaigns that are seen for the upcoming Onam season?


Brands need to strengthen their positioning and be omnipresent to cater to their consumers’ demands. This does not mean we go all guns blazing across channels, especially for brands who have a high spends capability & appetite for maintaining visibility.

The key here for Brands, continue to revolve around- understanding consumers’ preferences. Today, high providence of data sources & analytics capabilities, demand of brands to thoroughly micro-analyze “where their consumers are”, “what content are they consuming online” and “which digital channels are they using to navigate & communicate with brands before making a purchase”. Innovation stems from strategic reliance on grassroot level data points capturing customer interactions across multiple touchpoints.

A full funnel digital advertising approach is the key to unlocking new customers and retaining existing ones. One can start with measuring GRPs on Digital channels, focusing on driving incremental reach by factoring for overlapping audiences & understanding varying engagement rates across OTT channels to build a TOMA strategy. With the pandemic leading to a huge surge in consumption of online video content, presents an opportunity to capitalize on OTT channels that offer advertising as a solution to build top of the mind awareness/ recall.

Leverage programmatic, primarily DV360 to build an optimal reach at an effective frequency. Focus on creating videos surrounding your Brand offerings and combine this with Digital Out of Home & Connected TVs to drive premium opportunities for consumers to see.

Next, build a mid-funnel approach where can you showcase individual product offerings. Create personalized experiences through voice banners, dynamic creative optimization, moment marketing, chatbots, vernacular assets, influencer marketing, etc.

Build newer audiences through advertising on lateral interest & intent categories/ keywords. There are quite a bunch of consumers who prefer researching online and then converting at a store- for them utilize Hyperlocal marketing to the fullest.

Now, use the data generated through your Top funnel & Middle funnel activities; to target them through a Bottom funnel approach with an objective to drive purchases on your website/stores.

What kind of ad spends are you expecting during the upcoming Onam season? Which categories will be more active during this period?

India is known as a land of festivals, and for good reason! With the most celebrated festivals of Onam, Durga Pooja, Navratri, Diwali, etc, falling in the second half of the calendar year; this season is that one time of the year where consumers across India tend to spend on themselves as well as on their loved ones, without any inhibitions.

Categories like FMCG, CPG, BFSI, Jewelry will see an uptick in sales during Onam. We will see a potential increase of 10-15% in Ad spends this Onam, however, the festive quarter will witness an incremental growth.

The mindset of consumers will always be associated with offers when they think about festivals. Thus, brands providing offers as a sweetener help them in rationalizing their purchase decisions, fulfilling their small as well as big purchase wishes.


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