Agency recovery to take at least 6 months: Havas Group CEO Rana Barua

Only brands that have meaning, relevance in consumer’s lifecycle will perform

NEW DELHI: Human beings are a creature of habit and it won’t take them long to get back to the routine once the lockdown is lifted, believes Havas Group CEO Rana Barua. In an exclusive interaction with, he, however, notes that the number of brands that a person usually relies on will drop drastically.

“From a consumer perspective, people have somehow understood that a brand has to have some relevance in their life. In the past weeks, they have realised that they can manage their lives without certain brands. For example, a person who used to own 150 brands prior to the lockdown will use only 70 now,” Barua says.

He adds that only those brands that have a purpose and the ability to indulge people in meaningful conversations through stories will survive. “I am very sure that the coming months will see great stories from advertisers.”

Barua also sees a lot of positivity around the growth of businesses across categories in the coming months. “People are willing to buy stuff. You witnessed what happened with the liquor shops opening up. Even with governments adding Covid2019 special taxes in disproportionate percentages, record sales happened. Several brands like Amul and Reckitt Benckiser performed exceptionally well even during the lockdown. I see things coming on track for green and orange zones by the end of June and red zones following it by the middle of July, provided the lockdown is lifted.”

"Our client Hyundai opened 225 showrooms across the country and it recorded 500 bookings in just two days. All of this shows that the consumer is willing to spend,” he says.

Barua emphasises that the overall impact on categories and brands will be “mixed-matched” depending on the role a product plays in a consumer’s life. Businesses like events and experiences will not see any positivity in this year.

While most of the client-side will pick up pace in the next 30-40 days, the agencies will take at least six months to get back to the pre-lockdown form, Barua observes.

“I think the agencies will follow the trail in a slow manner. Large and scalable companies like ours will take at least six months to get back in some form. Obviously, a brand that had been missing from a consumer’s life for three months won’t start advertising suddenly.”

However things are going to be challenging for small scale businesses while bigger networks have cash reserves  “They could possibly take a year to recuperate, due to issues like cash flow, rents, salaries, payment to vendors, collections and more, taking a bit longer to recover."

He concludes that he is hoping that the economy opens up soon so businesses can start functioning. He also remains quite positive about new launches.

“I think that the launches will go on as planned once the lockdown is lifted. They (brands) might have to rework on their numbers and the return they were expecting from the calendar year, but launches will happen. Summer brands are obviously at a bigger loss, but if the monsoon is delayed and summer continues for two weeks extra, they too might come out with their new ranges.”

Follow Tellychakkar for the consumer facing news & entertainment

Latest Reads
BharatPe ropes in 11 cricketers as brand ambassadors

NEW DELHI: As the country gets ready to kickstart the festive season through cricket, BharatPe, India’s leading merchant payment network, is all set to invigorate the market with its own team of 11 cricket superstars as it's brand ambassadors. The BharatPe XI team includes India’s top international...

MAM Marketing MAM
Festival season will be the golden quarter for ecommerce players: Criteo Report

New Delhi: Criteo has released its Holiday Report 2020 highlighting key trends in the online e-commerce industry in the much-awaited festive season including Rakshabandhan, Big Billion days and Diwali. The report highlights the top trends observed for the highly thriving e-commerce market in India...

MAM Marketing MAM
Pocket Aces unveils talent management division Clout

KOLKATA: Pocket Aces, India’s leading digital entertainment company, unveiled new branding for its talent management division, labeling it “Clout”.Clout, which means the ability to influence, will focus on exclusively representing the digital industry’s finest and most popular faces.

MAM Marketing MAM
Indian Society of Advertisers elects Sunil Kataria as chairman for fifth term

The newly elected executive council of the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) met on September 21, 2020. Sunil Kataria, CEO, India and SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products, was elected chairman of the ISA. Sunil has led the society over the past four years to newer heights drawing support from his...

MAM Marketing MAM
Ashish Bhasin hands over charge of AAAI to Anupriya Acharya

Ashish Bhasin, president of Advertising Agencies Association of India( AAAI)  has handed over charge of  AAAI to Publicis Groupe’s CEO south Asia, Anupriya Acharya, who was elected as the president of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) for the year 2020-21 at its Annual General Body...

MAM Media and Advertising People
Charanjeett Singh Arora quits Kinetic India

NEW DELHI: GroupM-owned outdoor agency, Kinetic India co-chief executive officer (CEO) Charanjeet Singh Arora has resigned from his position. He is currently serving his notice period and has confirmed the exit to He was responsible for driving team transformations spanning...

MAM Marketing MAM
Bajaj Pulsar redefines the rules of motorcycle riding in the new normal

NEW DELHI: Bajaj Pulsar has been a trailblazer in changing the face of the Indian motorcycle industry singlehandedly, with its unique communication and product line-up. And it is all set to blaze new trails in this new campaign that highlights the performance and technology of its range of...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
CarDekho focuses on personal mobility in its new spot

NEW DELHI – CarDekho has launched its newest TV campaigns ‘The everyday hero’ championing the cause of personal mobility.

MAM Marketing Brands
upGrad fires on all cylinders; targets explosive growth

NEW DELHI: The pandemic has proven to be a boon for the edtech brands helping them clock more downloads and bag new subscribers. Students, across age groups, have adapted to online learning as schools and learning institutions were forcibly shuttered and and moved online. Both professional and...

MAM Marketing MAM

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required