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Brands pick digital over TV and print for Diwali marketing

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MUMBAI: The festival of lights and colours is finally here! Diwali has always been an occasion to reconnect with family and our loved ones but the event is also that time of the year when brands go all out to create presence and market themselves across all channels.

The festive season starts in September all the way till December, but Diwali continues to remain a favourite among brands and advertisers every year.

Dentsu Aegis network chairman and CEO South Asia Ashish Bhasin projects a 15-20 per cent growth this festive season particularly because last festive season got badly affected due to demonetisation and this year with GST (Goods and Services Tax).

The chocolate category continues to grow at 12.4 per cent this year as per a Nielsen report suggesting that there won’t be a slowdown this festive season in the chocolate category. The gifting space has considerably expanded over the past years and people are opting to gift chocolates over sweets on occasions. Mondelez India, a brand that is synonymous to celebration and festivity in India has introduced a miniature version of Cadbury chocolates this season to boost sales.

Biscuits and confectioneries sector is also doing better this year as opposed to last year due to better monsoon and demand coming in from rural India. Rural has accounted for 10-15 per cent of Parle Products growth this year as compared to same period last year.

But, what has changed over the years is how brands have changed their communication with the audience. Customer communication is no longer about being accessible when the brand wants to talk to the customers or vice versa but making sure the conversation is present on all media platforms. Digital is growing 3X faster than traditional advertising and is becoming more important as the younger consumer has come into purchasing power and the trend will only increase. “A few years ago, the overall digital accounted for only five per cent of the market but it accounts for 15 per cent today and is expected to grow to 85 per cent over the next couple of years,” Bhasin adds.

Brands have decided not to invest a lot in TVC but to divert it to digital and connect with millennials.While Parle Products and Acer India will be launching a digital-only campaign for Diwali, Vodafone India and Mondelez India will not be rolling out any fresh campaign this time but will re-run its prominent ads from the past and showcase new offerings from the brand.

Mondelez India has tied up with Amazon India to launch India’s first virtual chocolate and sweet store. Seeing a massive opportunity in the corporate gifting space, Mondelez has also launched a new website for corporate gifting options called, ‘Cadbury Joy Deliveries.’ A Mondelez India spokesperson informed us that the company will be banking on social media capabilities, over the coming months and promote the direct-to-consumer website to reach out to key corporate decision makers enabling gifting choices at the click of a button.

Vodafone India will be using augmented reality to provide its consumers an opportunity to create their own unique Diwali greeting and eco-friendly‘phuljharis’ greetings. This personalised GIF can then be sent to friends and family through social media.

Parle Products, the category leader, has shelled out 40-50 per cent more this year as compared to the previous year. Parle’s focus on print is down from the usual 8 per cent to just five per cent. Digital focus is up from 12 per cent to 35 per cent which has eaten into TV’s share of 80 per cent. Parle Products category head Mayank Shah says, “Digital helps us in getting our message across to consumers with our long format commercials which otherwise would cost a ton if done on television during festivals.”

Similar is the case with Acer. The brand hasn’t invested heavily into marketing this season and allocated a mere three per cent of its advertising budget this year but is also focussing on digital. CMO and consumer business head Chandrahas Panigrahi points out, “All brands today have to do that in order to survive because just television or print won’t yield results as consumers have now moved to digital screens.” Acer India spends close to 20 per cent of its budget on digital and 10 per cent on print.

While brands are cheering for Diwali, the industry does not seem to have overcome the impact caused by GST. While sales remained low until September, marketers have kept their fingers crossed and are hoping to make up for the loss by the end of festive season.

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