This Durga Puja, brands are shifting to digital; ray of hope for local brands

The reverberations of Dhaki and Dhunuchi Naach can be felt in the air in the eastern part of India, even as Garba and Dandiya have enamoured North and West India. Durga Puja and Navratri celebrations have begun in full earnest, with brand activities also moving to a crescendo. 

While various news reports have stated how consumer sentiments are somewhat dampened this festive season, there seems to be no let up in the festive fervour. 

For years, the Durga Puja pandals across West Bengal, and especially Kolkata, have been a fertile ground for brand engagement. And this year is no different. 

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Durga Pujo campaigns that are garnering a lot of attention

However, the market realities can’t be ignored and the economic slowdown is taking a toll on brands this festive season. As shared by Srimanta Chowdhury, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, Sangbad Pratidin, “Several brands do outdoor advertising during Durga Puja on the streets in Kolkata. However, this time about 30 per cent of the billboards are empty.” He also points out that many brands would often have a lot of ads across Kolkata during the Durga Puja season. However, this time that fervour is yet to be seen. 

Interestingly, even as marketing activities of national brands are seeing a dip, local brands are upping their game during this Durga Puja. A case in point is Sobisco, a Kolkata-based biscuit brand, which is replacing the branding done by national players. 

Focusing on the digital channels, Sonata, the watch brand from Titan Company, has rolled out a digital campaign – #PujoWithSonata. For the first time they have launched a regional film which is a musical. The film is peppy in nature and is targeted at the youth TG. The film showcases the new range of modern watches launched by Sonato, which will be the perfect accessory for any outfit during the festive season. 


As the brand is going through a transformation, it was important for them to be relevant to the younger and contemporary value consumer. Utkarsh Thakur, Marketing Head, Sonata & SF a Titan Company, said, “The digital film has already crossed 3 million views on YouTube and 1 million views on Facebook. With very little spends on these digital channels, the ROI is definitely going to be positive.” 

Jewellery is another segment, which sees high spends during the festive season. Tanishq, the jewellery brand from the Tata Group, has launched a new TVC this Durga Pujo that celebrates the strength, spirit and zest of the modern and progressive Bengali women through an all-women organised and supported community Pujo pandal. The film, Tanishq’s latest collection – Aishani – features three protagonists who are at the helm of the organising committee of pujo and charts out the contributions from an all women group – starting from the female potter at Kumortuli, to the women and girls helping out with all aspects of the pandal preparations, to the female purohits and dhaakis. 


Elaborating on the ad film, Deepika Tewari, Associate Vice President – Marketing, Jewellery Division at Titan Company, said, “It is all about celebrating the spirited and forward-thinking Bengali women right from the female potter, the Pujaran, the female Dhaakis and definitely the women who hold it all together and how they do their bit to bring alive the festivities with a lot of passion and zeal. We have attempted to showcase the same emotion through this film and as Tanishq, we are proud to adorn the Devis of Bengal who adorn Devi Durga with so much love and enthusiasm.” 

Media taps into the festive fervour too 

As in the previous years, this year, too, The Times of India has rolled out its puja-focussed campaign – called ‘Phirey Esho Kolkata’. The campaign addresses women who live away from the city and their families and uses the tagline “What is Durga Pujo without our Durgas” and urges them to return home and take part in the celebrations together. 

Sangbad Pratidin, a local publication from Kolkata, has done something unique for Durga Puja in the digital realm. For their campaign #Maaclicks, they have set up an AI camera in the pandal and whenever a devotee does a “pranam” to the Devi, a picture is clicked and the devotee can get their picture on their cellphones through a QR code on the monitor near the pandal. This is their way of giving the devotees a better option rather than clicking selfies themselves. These images can be shared on social media with the hashtag #Maaclicks. 

Not to be left behind, OTT player hoichoi has released a new web series for Durga Puja – ‘Paap’. ‘Paap’ is a drama laden series and features Puja Banerjee as the lead, marking this as her first Bengali web series. Filled with mystery, ‘Paap’ is about an ancient Durga Puja celebration, a family reunion, one unwanted guest and two dead bodies. 

Talking about the show, Puja Banerjee said, “It’s such a pleasure to be doing a Durga Puja project. We have worked hard for this show, so that it becomes one of hoichoi’s top watched content and I hope it yields those results when it starts streaming from October 2, 2019.” 

With the economic slowdown casting its shadow over all sectors, the festive season has not entirely escaped its clutches. Hence, brands are finding unique ways to engage the consumers, are switching more to digital, as this is the part of the year where they look to meet their annual sales and revenue targets. Local brands, meanwhile, are looking to make hay while the sun shines as they are getting a larger field to play in.


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