Recap2019: Practical applications of AR and VR are only going to increase in 2020

Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, White Rivers Media analyses 2019 in comparison to the previous year, how audience expectations defined brand  behaviour and the next big thing in digital advertising.

Which were your favorite top digital campaigns of 2019?

Sony did a brilliant campaign for the launch of their show 'Ishaaron Ishaaron Mein' that featured the protagonist as deaf and mute. They created a website to make the Indian Sign Language (ISL) mainstream and raise awareness about it. To make the learning process fun, the user had to guess the word that was written in ISL by picking the right choice from 3 options. This was the first ever website in the world that translated English to ISL and back.

Swiggy has also done a phenomenal job this year with social media marketing. While other brands have hopped on the moment marketing wagon, Swiggy went so far ahead as to become the trendsetter that other brands followed. They've done great not only in their hero content, but their redefined hygiene content strategy has garnered plenty of attention and engagement from the audience.

I think one of the bold and noteworthy international campaigns from 2019 was when IHOP ran a social media campaign to spread awareness about their foray into selling burgers. They announced a change in their name from IHOP to IHOb - they even changed their social media handles to that name. At first, everybody thought it was real, and many tried to guess the meaning of the 'b' in the name, before they made the announcement that IHOP would now serve burgers. It worked because they didn't focus on the burgers, they created intrigue about the change in name. Burger sales quadrupled after this campaign, and engagement skyrocketed as more and more people started talking about their brand.

Did any creative trend or strategy catch your attention? What was it and how was it different?

Moment marketing was one of the practices that has become an inseparable part of every brand's digital strategy in the past year. It gave brands a chance to speak the language of the audience, and become a part of a moment in their consumer's day. These bite-sized pieces of content served as great conversation starters and strongly established the voice of a brand. In short, moment marketing successfully stopped thumbs, and brought smiles.

In terms of brands spending and adapting digital medium, how was 2019 vs 2018?

More and more brands have understood the importance of having a strong digital presence, to the extent that it is uncommon to not have one. What was different from 2018 was that not only brands, but audiences have also adopted and supported the idea of brands going digital.
In that way, 2019 has been a very crucial year for digital marketing.

And, what's the next big thing in digital in 2020?

I think the rise of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) spaces will create new, immersive advertising environments for brands just cannot afford to ignore. Practical applications of AR and VR are only going to increase in 2020. Also, be on the lookout for ephemeral content like Stories. Consumers have already started to prefer Stories over feeds and that is highly likely to become more common in the coming year.


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