AAAI Silver Jubilee inauguration: Grow the market, not just market share

MUMBAI: Who better than an advertiser to clearly articulate just what is required of ad agencies in a fast changing media landscape.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) symposium - ‘The Future of Advertising‘ - Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) managing director Arun Adhikari asserted that in future agencies would need to look to partner with advertisers in growing the market rather than fighting for market share.

Multi-national compaines (MNC) have started showing greater determination and focus by heavily investing in their brand, local manufacturing and enhanced distribution infrastructure in India.


The inaugural session of the symposium had eminent speakers like Adhikari, United Nations under-secretary-general for communication and public information Shashi Tharoor and Union Minister of State for tourism Renuka Chowdhary present.

The welcome address was given by RK Swamy BBDO chief executive officer Srinivasan K Swamy. "Last year, the worldwide advertising spends were $350 billion and close to $750 billion was spent on marketing and below the line activities. The latter is growing rapidly at the cost of advertising. There will be a further shift, which will dilute ad spends even more. It is time we pause and look at the future. This seminar is an attempt to do just that," he said.


Throwing light on the challenges that the UN faced in the communications, Tharoor said, "The global advertising budget for the UN is very small -- almost one-third of what advertisers spend in Mumbai alone for one year."

JWT India CEO Colvyn Harris said, "This symposium will give a perspective on the challenges that we will face in the future. And before you know it, the future is here. The consumer is king and he is driven by a whole lot of choices, which makes the job for advertisers that much more difficult. From an era of shortages, we have entered an era of plenty, which in turn has led to unheard of fragmentation compounded by internet, outdoor etc."

Harris listed out the five points that shape the advertising industry as:

  • Technology
  • Client
  • Consumer engagement
  • Business Model
  • The India Story

Tharoor in his role as under-secretary-general for communication and public information for the UN, touched upon how being a global organisation, the UN had to be that much more coherent and consistent around the world in its messages. "Building a brand requires consistency and clarity and this is absolutely impossible for us. What you understand depends on what your assumptions are and that is important," he said.

On the other hand, the advantage that the UN had was that it was a brand is recognised throughout the world, he pointed out. "One thing that advertisers and marketers long for, applies to us --- We are a terrific brand!" Tharoor remarked.

Adhikari also touched upon the Indian consumer and the FMCG market. "India has a rapidly growing rich class and a new middle class is emerging as the center of gravity. A growing percentage of the population will be a part of the income earning age. The ratio of income earners to dependents is rising hence consumption will grow," he said.

The FMCG market size in India was $11.6 billion in 2003 and is expected to touch $27.8 billion in 2013. "There will be a change in the market structure by upgradation from mass segments. The upgradation opportunity is huge and a wider price segment will be available. The companies that can leverage this transformation of the market will be the future leaders," Adhikari emphasised.

Coming to the role of advertising in the future, Adhikari said that it advertising had to be exciting, revitalising and aspirational for the consumers. "This will only be possible through effective communication. Advertising has to make the category attractive and hence enable the advertiser to compete outside their confines where the consumers are facing harsh choices," he said.

"We have to move from advertising that was created by and for insecure people to advertising that will be created by secure, confident and proud people for the same kind of audience," he said.

Chowdhary, meanwhile, started by saying that it was a very difficult task for politicians to sell themselves to the people without any pre-assigned budgets. "The Indian Tourism Ministry has the largest advertising budget allocation in the Government of India. Our Incredible India campaign focussed not only on the tourist hot spots, but also on textiles, medical tourism, rural tourism, IT, commerce, buoyant stock market, high GDP growth rate etc. We have to show the traditional and modern face of India in our campaign," she said.

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