India @75: A ringside view of consumers’ behavioural landscape - Vivek Srivastava

As India celebrates her 75th year of Independence, we at Adgully are tracing the journey of Advertising and its contribution to the Indian society at large – whether it is bringing about a change in mindsets, or a societal pattern, or empowering different communities or ushering in new thoughts – basically, Soch badal ke rakh diya.

Our aim is to collate 75 most impressive and significant ways in which Advertising has impacted India over the decades. For this, we are reaching out to the Advertising Honchos of India to share the most significant contributions of Advertising to the Indian society and why they consider them to be important developments. We will serialise the story on Adgully’s website in the lead-up to the Independence Day this year in this special series: India @75 – Through the Advertising Lens.

“Advertising has had a ringside view of numerous significant developments across the consumers’ behavioural landscape,” remarked Vivek Srivastava, Managing Director, Innocean Worldwide India, in an interaction with Adgully. He pointed out that it has touched every aspect, not just commercial but socio-cultural ones and off-late political aspects too. “One can list quite a few memorable or landmark ones. I will focus on the ones which made a deep social impact improving the lives of citizenry,” he added.

“It has made taboo topics into mainstream ones. Opened up conversations leading to resolution or acknowledgement of problems leading up to adoption of constructive solutions,” noted Srivastava.

  1. Family planning: Probably the first impactful social campaign that drove the need for a planned family, contraception along with reproductive & child health. None from the 60s & 70s generation can forget the memorable line – ‘Hum do hamare do’. This further expanded its ambit to bring child vaccination, nutrition & diarrhoea prevention related communication initiatives.
  2. Participative involvement in society & democracy: The ‘Jago Rey’ campaign by Tata Tea awakened the youth & elders alike to the power of individual voice & vote in a democracy.
  3. Milk - the nutrition anchor: Amul made the nation self sufficient in milk production & availability. It showcased the power of cooperatives alongside the empowerment of women through its memorable ads.
  4. Connectivity & progress: Mobile telephony brands made an elitist, short-in-supply service so common place that it has catalysed an irreversible process of change. Brands like Airtel, Hutch, Escotel, Usha, Reliance & numerous others told us via their ads how it enables not just conversations, but commerce too. Now backed by the power of data & the Internet, it’s an omnibus force covering all aspects of life & business.
  5. A national movement called Swacch Bharat: A nation prone to ignoring hygiene & blaming the things on others stood up to accept cleanliness as a way of life. Toilets were now a necessity across demographics. Striking communication pieces utilising PLUs, political figures & celebs all made this into a mass awakening.
  6. Voter awareness initiatives: An unlikely body called Election Commission of India lead this task so ably. Colloquial touches in ads , usage of parodies of Bollywood tunes ‘Pappu Can’t Dance’ & a play on the word ‘Pappu’ made it strike a chord with the new voters.
  7. Harness the power of social media: Campaigns by brands across FMCG, Durables, Services & every derivative thereof has built buzz using Social platforms. Communities are built using this and brand fandom has found a thriving ecosystem in these.
  8. Have an idea will launch it easily: D2C business – right from FreshToHome, Minimalist to Mamaearth – have used the power of branding, coupled with deep reach of social commerce possibilities to build brands in an accelerated manner.
  9. Word of Mouth & it’s transformation into Influencer Marketing: A passive marketing outcome called positive word of mouth used to yield dividends for brand ads over a long tail. In this new era of Social, it’s seen a metamorphosis into an instant performer in the communication & advertising armoury. No category is untouched by the influence of influencers today & so is every marketer be it an MNC or a home grown biggie or an emerging business.

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