This festive season will be better than 2019 and 2020, affirms a buoyant industry
Since the pandemic struck, there has been a sea change in the environment. Consumers, advertisers, media, technology have all changed significantly in a way that is transformational. The accelerated shift to digital that advertisers made in response to the significant restrictions placed on people’s lives through lockdowns have also endured. After a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections across India in the first half of 2021, the country is on the path towards recovery. However, the vaccination drive has led to positive consumer sentiments and the reopening of markets and malls are seeing people returning in droves. This has brought a troika of opportunities for the brands and advertisers to launch their collection and successfully do their promotions.
In India, festivals are known to be a land of celebrations and passion to share happiness amongst each other. Focussing towards the occasion front, brands leverage this opportunity to advertise their products and gain maximum viewership. This no doubt increases the momentum for advertisers more than their expectations. After the pandemic hit, it was a difficult time for advertisers as not all brands were able to spend on advertising which also triggered the communication with consumers. With the onset of the festive season, remainder of IPL 2021 and ICC World Cup, advertisers are expecting a foresee increase in ad spends this year compared to 2020.
Global advertising investment is forecast to grow by 5.8% globally in 2021, according to the first dentsu Ad Spend Report since the global pandemic began. Digital will account for half of all spend for the first time, with Social (18.3%), Search (11.0%) and Video (10.8%) expected to benefit the most. Meanwhile, the return of major sporting events that were delayed last year such as the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and UEFA European Football Championships will also represent a significant driver of growth.
“Festive season always sees a growth in ad spends as compared to H1 and this year also brands are already padded up for the power packed season”
Speaking on how brands and advertisers are leveraging the opportunities in H2 with festive season, remainder of IPL 2021 & ICC World Cup, Roopam Garg, Chief Operating Officer, dentsu X India, said, “Festive season always sees a growth in ad spends as compared to H1 and this year also brands are already padded up for the power packed season.”
“Talking about these two marquee events, the brands are optimistic about the ICC world cup. Last year, the IPL during the festive season has already seen success. More so in a situation when there was pandemic, matches without crowds and economic turmoil. Thankfully this season there is more optimism than last year. Cricket is loved in our nation. It is surely an opportunity for the brands to mark their presence, he added.”
"With improving customer sentiments and markets opening up, we foresee a lot of buying to happen during that period"
With the opening of markets and malls, not just local brands, national brands, too, are keenly eyeing consumer sentiments as the festival heralds the start of the festive season in India. Shyamala Ramanan, Business Head, Mia by Tanishq commented, “Yes, absolutely. With improving customer sentiments and markets opening up, we foresee a lot of buying to happen during that period. We had also launched our collection Lyana last year for Diwali with a digital film starring Mithila Palkar on Hotstar. The traction and viewership that we got during that time was extremely encouraging and something that we want to replicate this year as well.”
Adding to this Ramanan said, “We do foresee an increase in our ad spends this year compared to last year, but maybe at par with the pre-COVID-19 spends of 2019.”
Primetime viewership definitely gets skewed towards sports channels during that time and even brands that normally don’t use the TV medium throughout the year, explore the medium at that point of time.
"Overall I feel H2 will be profitable for all genres"
According to R. Venkatasubramanian, President & National Head – Investments, Havas Media Group India, “In India, cricket delivers especially IPL and ICC World Cup, but the entry cost is very high to participate in any big cricketing series compared to other genre impact properties. Different sets of clients will have different preferences depending on their target audience, e.g. gaming, education, e-commerce, beverages, and clients with male-specific TG will prefer cricket series / news genres; FMCG, consumer durables and other categories will opt for the GEC genre. Overall I feel H2 will be profitable for all genres.”
"It is definitely a challenging period for broadcasters to ensure that they deliver the right content and make sure they get the good share of these advertising funds"
With back-to-back big cricket events, sports broadcasters are stealing a march over other television genres. Commenting on this, Krishna Rao Buddha, Senior Category Head, Parle Products, said, “Sports broadcasters are going to eat away a good share from the other broadcasters which also happened last year. The IPL tournament was held in the UAE without audience participation. Still there was good traction and I expect the same especially considering that it is the remaining half of the IPL season which is going to be far more exciting. As it is 40-45 days of continuous Dhamaka, it will create extra interests of the viewers most importantly and since there are lots and lots of organizations which have still not started functioning in terms of going to office, so there are lot more audiences that are going to stay at home which creates an opportunity to view the event working from home especially for the youth format. This will definitely see viewership shucking up.”
“The other broadcasters are definitely going to up their handshake and in terms of investment and programming lineup they will have to deliver the right content. It is definitely a challenging period for broadcasters to ensure that they deliver the right content and make sure they get the good share of these advertising funds”, he added.
"Cricket is likely to steal the show at the prime time"
Ankit Agrawal, Partner & Director, Zed Black Agarbatti, observed, “Cricket is likely to steal the show at the prime time. Matches will be at evening time, which is a prime time for GEC. But honestly, there is a market for everyone and it's not just dominated by cricket. Many markets are dominated by female viewers during prime time, especially around Diwali, where we will have a lot of new things, but cricket would be a winner.”
Automobile, gaming, education, FMCG, and other consumer durables categories are going to be very active in H2, with most of the brands in these categories having already signed big impact properties. Targeting the festive season specifically, lifestyle categories like jewelry, apparel, footwear definitely see a surge. Additionally, the sectors which have been impacted the most by COVID-19 can also expect an increase with the biggest bounce back.
According to the dentsu Ad Spend report, the Travel & Transport (28.4%), Media & Entertainment (14.5%) and Automotive (13.8%) sectors will all grow significantly after being hit hard by the impact of COVID-19. There will also be consistent levels of growth for sectors such as Technology (6.0%), Finance (5.6%) and Telecoms (4.8%), which all proved relatively resilient in 2020.
"We always see an increase in online transactions during such events. They make for a great opportunity to scale up your acquisition and branding spends"
Talking about the sectors that will see a bounce back in H2, Rohan Bhargava, Co-Founder, CashKaro, said, “We always see an increase in online transactions during such events. They make for a great opportunity to scale up your acquisition and branding spends. The more users you acquire, the more conversions you will see. Mostly SVOD, fashion e-commerce, and food delivery will see a good uptake considering the exciting cricket and the festive season.”
“During sale months, we are ready with a pre-buzz, and an ending campaign planned to create awareness, urgency, and drive the feeling of FOMO”, he added.
The pent up demand that we saw at the same time last year has indicated the hunger that exists to consumer sporting properties and it seems this season will not be an exception to this with a high profile Cricket Game almost every day at prime time for the coming 2 months.
"We could see a 12-15% increase only in the next 3 months over last year"
Speaking about the projections on ad spends this festive season, Navin Khemka, CEO South Asia, MediaCom, noted, “This is very similar to last year where we had the full season of IPL. We are already seeing recovery in media spends in Aug and this is expected to sustain till November at least. There is demand and all summer categories are trying to make the best of the balance of the year. I think the growth will be driven by summer brands coming in early in the festive season. We could see a 12-15% increase only in the next 3 months over last year. This could mean that we might just be at 2019 levels still and any real growth is only expected in 2022.”
"Gaming category should be present heavily in the coming 2 months with 2 big events lined up and we ourselves are expecting almost a 4X increase in our ad budgets vis-a-vis H1 to capitalise on this"
Amit Purohit, Founder, Fantasy Akhada, added here, “We expect most categories to pick up their ad spends this festive season except those who are still trying to play that waiting game as they seek clarity on the third wave and if such a time comes, how it will affect business with this third wave expected to have a higher impact on the rural markets versus urban markets.”
“Festive in the 2020 season saw huge spikes in spends, but that was also attributed to most brands sitting on months of marketing budgets and eager to grab the share of voice as consumers prepared to return to normalcy. Gaming category should be present heavily in the coming 2 months with 2 big events lined up and we ourselves are expecting almost a 4X increase in our ad budgets vis-a-vis H1 to capitalise on this”, he added.