MAM

GUEST COLUMN: Responsible advertising during times of a national crisis

Brands that make life simpler for people will be most remembered, says Fernandes

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2021/05/29/photogrid_plus_1622274355652.jpg?itok=G0bKwLdx

New Delhi: The second wave of COVID-19 brought us back into a jarring reality that we in some fluke had disregarded as a battle won. We thought that we could be back to being what we were living before, in wanton abandonment.

As we learn to adapt to the new world order and start living with health & global crises, there is a lot of recalibration to be done. As lockdowns keep customers away from stores and logistical issues continue to affect e-commerce, health is taking priority & not lifestyle and need-based expenditure is taking precedence in the face of economic & financial uncertainties. All this has compelled marketeers, advertisers, and businesses to re-evaluate their strategies. 

As brands seek to strike the right tone during a global health emergency, the future is staring at market alteration, increased competition, and rising demand for aggressive, yet conscious marketing practices. Especially in the age of the internet, the race to prove a brand more “humane” than the other would be quite challenging.

Values Matter

Honesty, integrity, transparency are values that are all the more important now. Brands may send “humane” messages, yet if there is a disgruntled employee who has been given the pink slip could be highly detrimental to the brand. The brand needs to be seen as an entity that has shown support to employees, communities as much as they are showing it to its customers or stakeholders

Being genuine

Being genuine is better than being “more humane”. The latter could be just mere lip service and the consumer will see-through. The consumer is another human with a life, a personality, with her own stories. Brands need to connect to that person and be genuine in doing so. Accepting mistakes or vulnerabilities would be better than trying to cover up, thereby engaging with that person would be ten times better.

Timely planning and not scheduling

Media plans or in the digital parlance – “ad scheduling”, two weeks old could be redundant in the ever-dynamic times that we are living in. Is it inappropriate given the current scenario? Chuck it! Asking the consumer what they would like to see or hear is a good thing to do and it can be quickly done through the social media/digital empowering tools. Observe, listen and then only respond. A “feel-good” promo could be seen as a ‘milking opportunity’ by consumers and brands need to be very careful about that.

Paid Promotion

It is critical to understand how the consumer would observe your paid promotions. Some campaigns may need to be paused or stopped. As a brand, you are increasingly communicating on walls, feeds, timelines and you will need to evaluate whether you are being awkward, inappropriate, a useful resource, or a happy break. And most importantly, is your target audience, even paying attention to you?

Ease of use and supportive

If you are viewed as a brand that is using a marketing opportunity to capitalize upon, you will be banned. It is 'help' that your consumer needs and the brand needs to be positioned as just that. A case in point is the SII’s Covishield! Despite its life-saving use, as soon as the Serum Institute of India declared its pricing strategy, there was a huge consumer backlash. Ideally, this could have been managed better and though a need, the announcement of the pricing strategy could have been avoided.

Brands that reach out and not just being accessed would make a difference. While people are running helter-skelter in these emergencies, brands that make life simpler would be most remembered.

As brands adapt and figure out how to promote products and services during this pandemic, government agencies have become all the more vigilant and are closely monitoring unfair and deceptive business practices. In India, financial products, especially, are under the scanner by the regulatory bodies and the IRDA has very recently made its policies much stricter to ensure fair, honest, and transparent practices, while issuing advertisements and including best practices.

Brands like SBI General Insurance have been always responsible in their communications and one of their campaigns #MissionZimmedari was a case in point. A series of films with an emotional connection citing protection as a responsibility and using key occasions as triggers drove the message. Another investor education campaign #AdviceZarooriHai by Edelweiss Mutual Fund should get a special mention here for its appreciatory work in a series of films that connected various life stories to the importance of sound financial advice. All these within the precincts of responsible and best practices norms.

Defining events such as the COVID-19 crisis, are forcing brands to be mindful yet tactful in a competitive and uncertain environment. Brands must acknowledge this and constantly reflect upon positive values that would keep consumers wanting to engage more with the brand.

(Arun Fernandes is the founder & CEO of Hotstuff Media Group. He has worked with India’s leading financial brands on various national and International campaigns over the last 30 years. The views expressed in the column are personal and Indiantelevision.com may not subscribe to them.)

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_122748_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=8ED3Sqxs
Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal joins Unacademy's board of directors

Mumbai: Homegrown learning platform Unacademy on Thursday announced the appointment of Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal on the company’s board of directors. “Deepinder has been an advisor for several years and it was only a matter of time before that association transformed into a formal...

MAM Media and Advertising People
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_120452_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=HktWm4uD
WayCool Foods appoints dentsuMB as lead communications partner

Mumbai: dentsuMB, the integrated creative agency from dentsu India, has won the mandate for the branded portfolio of the homegrown agri-commerce company, WayCool Foods. The account will be serviced from the agency’s Chennai office.

MAM Media and Advertising Account
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_113144_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=5WpVPhQ3
The new Poco C31 campaign pushes the smartphone to its limits

Mumbai: Homegrown online smartphone brand Poco launched a campaign called 'Life Tested,' showcasing the build and sturdiness of its recently launched budget entrant, Poco C31. The campaign, conceptualised by DDB Mudra, is a testimony to the smartphone’s robust quality through a series of relatable...

MAM Marketing MAM
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_111657_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=I-peKIGv
Sportswear giant adidas partners with Deepika Padukone

New Delhi: Global sportswear giant adidas has partnered with actor and youth icon, Deepika Padukone, who will now work closely with the brand on their common commitment towards fitness, both physical and emotional. “Sport being an integral part of her life, Padukone embodies strength and resilience...

MAM Marketing MAM
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/20/ax.jpg?itok=fsnc3spN
Axis Bank launches its festive campaign asking ‘Diwali Hain Kya’

Axis Bank has rolled out a multi-film campaign to promote ‘Dil Se Open Celebrations,’ offering exciting deals and discounts on more than 1,00,000 products on purchase through its credit and debit cards.

MAM Marketing MAM
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/20/img_20102021_185110_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=JQhIASYO
Wondrlab secures $7 million in pre-series funding

Mumbai: Homegrown martech startup Wondrlab has raised $ seven million in a round of pre-series funding. The round was led by Pi Ventures LLP, Tanas Capital, Prodapt Holdings and several independent investors including Priyamvada Balaji of Lucas Indian Service and Gopal Srinivasan of TVS Capital....

MAM Marketing MAM
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/20/img_20102021_160803_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=-8rfdH1u
Glamyo Health onboards Rajat Kapoor as brand ambassador

Mumbai: Glamyo Health, an Asset Light healthcare startup operating in the field of elective surgeries, has announced Bollywood actor and filmmaker Rajat Kapoor as its brand ambassador. According to a statement, Kapoor will feature across online campaigns of the brand that are aimed at generating...

MAM Marketing MAM
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/20/img_20102021_153012_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=8bbNPf4W
Zomato founder calls out 'intolerance' on social media after language row

MUMBAI: Founder of online food delivery platform Zomato, Deepinder Goyal has called out the rise of ‘intolerance’ among the social media users, after the platform found itself in the eye of another Twitter storm early this week. “An ignorant mistake by someone in a support centre of a food delivery...

MAM Marketing MAM
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/20/img_20102021_150500_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=FQwemwvL
The Mavericks wins communications mandate for Stellaris Venture Partners

Mumbai: Marketing communications advisory The Mavericks India has been awarded the integrated communications mandate for early-stage fund Stellaris Venture Partners. “We are thrilled to partner Stellaris Venture Partners in co-creating its communications approach and amplifying its business impact...

MAM Media and Advertising Account

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required