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Recap 2019: This year has been tumultuous on a number of fronts

Neena Dasgupta, CEO & Director, Zirca Digital Solutions, looks back at some memorable campaigns of 2019 as well as looks forward into the next big thing in digital in 2020. 

Which were your favourite top 5 digital campaigns of 2019?
There have been some fantastic digital campaigns this year. It is difficult to choose only 5 of them, but I would rate these as my top 5 favourites: 

Swiggy’s Voice of Hunger campaign
Swiggy India, a leading food delivery app market, collaborated with Instagram’s new feature of voice message to give 1-year free food voucher to the best voice message. This became viral in no time on Instagram. Many Influencers and star videos and entries ware also received making it among the most popular user-generated campaign. 

The voice of hunger challenge consisted of 5 challenges and according to Swiggy, they received multiple platform entries around 1.5 lakh entries were received in 10 days of voice of hunger challenge of Swiggy Instagram account. According to their social media team, they received more than 50 entries per minute including entries from other countries like Japan, Canada, and US. 

HDFC Life Insurance
I believe the digital campaigns of HFDC Life Insurance have been brilliantly conceptualised and impeccably executed consistently over the past few years.  Life insurance is a boring subject and many campaigns look very similar. Having built their proposition ‘Sar uthake jiyo’ as a strong differentiator, this brand is constantly evolving and creating innovative tweaks to add life to its digital campaigns. 

Procter & Gamble: The Talk Campaign
P&G’s global digital campaign, ‘The Talk’, which addressed the conversation African Americans needed to have with their children about racism, found great traction. The ad resonated with individuals across the world, with P&G garnering over 184,000 video views on YouTube, over 985,000 impressions on the Facebook platform and 15.8 million earned social mentions of “My Black Is Beautiful”. 

Nike – Dream Crazier
Ahead of the International Women’s Day, Nike launched its “Dream Crazier” campaign to dispel sexist assumptions about women and encouraged them to dream crazier. A direct follow-up to the “Dream Crazy” campaign from 2018 that was narrated by Colin Kaepernick, the initial video is narrated by Serena Williams. The campaign centred on inspiring and powerful stories like Manal Rostom, striving to become the first Egyptian to run the six major marathons and climb the seven highest mountains, generated a huge digital impression all across the world. 

Glowing Gone by Adobe and Pantone
One of my favourite campaigns this year was Pantone announcing that “Living Coral” was the Colour of 2019 and putting the spotlight on the rapidly dying coral reefs. Now, the widely used design platform is directly addressing this issue with a new colour line, called “Glowing, Glowing, Gone”, inspired by the vibrant but alarming colours created by Adobe. It stands for the impact of climate change on corals and has been generating a great amount of interest all over the world. 

Did any creative trend or strategy catch your attention? What was it and how was it different?
While globally most digital campaigns were based on videos and ads, I am most impressed with the agility HDFC Life Insurance’s digital campaigns have displayed. Starting with ‘Memory Project’, HDFC Life created a microsite where people are sharing their stories of grief after losing their loved ones, as well as stories about love, loss and nostalgia. To amplify the project, the brand created two videos from the set of stories fans shared earlier to give the audience an idea of the kind of stories expected from the audience. The videos were promoted across HDFC Life’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages. 

Soon, the insurer had a Bounceback campaign that focused on the real-life story of Darpan Inani, who lost his sight due to an illness and yet bounced back to become the highest rated visually impaired chess player in the country. HDFC Life took this campaign to the customer through different platforms to intensify the brand experience with a significant focus on digital and social media. 

This was soon followed by “My First Salary’, which promoted the awareness on the category of annuity through the real-life stories of retired customers who spoke about their ‘First Salary’ after retirement. Then came ‘Start the Talk’ digital campaign that used a personalised approach to dispel the myths and focus on the importance and role of insurance in fulfilling ones’ financial goals. The intention was to initiate a conversation by tapping into relevant triggers and creating urgency about the subject. Stories based on real survivors of near-death experiences – Amrita Raichand (Chef) and Boria Majumdar (Sports journalist) – were used to create awareness on the need for financial protection through life insurance without procrastination, which generated tremendous response. 

Early last month, HDFC Life also announced a tie-up with Google to restructure its campaigns to make them run better with automation. Machine learning based automation in Google Ads will enable HDFC Life to significantly reduce multiple manually optimised targeting groups to fewer groups, leading to improved performance. This approach has delivered a substantial increment of 84 per cent in leads and a 50 per cent increase in lead quality, while simultaneously reducing cost by 46 per cent. 

In terms of brands spending and adapting digital medium, how was 2019 vs 2018?
The year 2019 has been tumultuous on a number of fronts. First, the General Elections this year took up a lot of digital space and attention. Most brands adopted a wait-n-watch till the government got settled. Then the country has been hit with an economic slowdown, the likes of which we haven’t seen over a decade. This has also worked out as a blessing in disguise for the digital medium. Brands are shy of big-budget traditional media, but all of them have started considering digital campaigns seriously. The spends on digital medium this year have fallen short of our expectations, but I estimate the spends on digital and social media will still show double digit growth over the previous year. 

What’s the next big thing in digital in 2020?
Clearly, all of us are waiting for the advent of 5G in 2020 and how soon it will explode across the country and its consumers. I believe 5G will be the next big thing in 2020 for the digital medium. Simultaneously, AI-based analytics and machine learning processes will determine the digital trends next year. However, I reckon only after the first six months of next year will such trends become tangible enough for its impact to be felt by the brands. Especially for those brands which are early adopters of such trends. Indeed, it is going to be a very exciting year for the digital space.

 

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