GST does not impact digital ad spends this Independence Day: Experts

Digital ad spends

Social Samosa takes a look at how social media and digital ad spends perform this Independence Day in the milieu of GST’s arrival.

Independence Day usually marks the onset of the festive season and over the last few years, brands have been allocating a lot of their advertising budget for this day. It is a good occasion for discounts; Big Bazaar started the trend and other players have been capitalizing on it.

Gopa Kumar, Executive Vice President, Isobar India explains, “Marketers and brands tend to increase their spends as August onwards marks the key period for all brands to make it big, Hence Independence day also becomes an important date for brands to market themselves, whether it is special independence day offers, Independence day flash sales, creating some patriotic, nationalistic campaign, or being aligned with a cause.”

Over the years, brands have increased their ad spends and focus on Independence Day and normally such tactical push does contribute to sale and consumers do look forward to these deals as well.

Latish Nair, Chief Digital Officer, MediaCom said, “The industry is growing at 25 to 32 per cent on the digital front. There is exponential growth seen in individual categories, like retail, which has almost grown over 100 per cent as compared to last year. Other categories have been growing at an average of 25 per cent.”

E-commerce players like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Shopclues, and others are mainly using the platform to talk about their respective sale offers. Brands across categories such as Bajaj Avengers, Hero MotoCorp, Badshah Masala, Ola, Micromax have taken a cause related route and released emotional communication around Independence Day this year.

According to Kumar, “The spends more or less as of now seems almost similar to last year, this being primarily led by e-commerce players and retail giants.”

There was skepticism that with the implementation of the GST, brands would be seen tightening their purses and would not spend much on advertising.

However, according to a highly a placed source who didn’t wish to be quoted, “GST has not affected businesses on the digital front, yes, people are trying to figure out the new tax regime, but the advertising industry is expecting businesses to improve in the GST era and companies will also be seen spending more on the campaigns as well.”

A new trend started last year and we are seeing it this year as well, e-commerce players are running their sales well in advance so that they can tap their customer before the other player does it.

Amazon India had their ‘Great Indian Sale’ from August 9 till 12 and promoted it using the hashtag #BadiBachatOnAmazon. Flipkart then started their sale from August 12 and will run until August 15 to talk about their ‘Flipkart, The Big Freedom sale’. Myntra’s ‘Right to Freedom Sale’ is also running on the same dates. The tonality in the Independence Day ad campaigns of these players is mainly tactical and offer led.
Big Bazaar has taken a very different approach in communicating their five- day long Maha Bachat’ offers, which started on August 12 and will continue one day after Independence Day as well. The brand launched their episodic ads on television titled ‘Masala Curry’ featuring popular television actors. These are also being promoted on digital.


Few brands, on the other hand, have released communications which tug at the heartstrings. Badshah Masala in their digital ad campaign for Independence Day speaks about the friendship between an India girl and a Pakistani boy through a 30-minute long story. Id Fresh Foods focuses on the families of our army martyrs. Ola gives an opportunity to the share customers to ride with Ola Sainiks, who are ex-servicemen and have taken to a new entrepreneurial mission as Ola driver-partners. MTR Foods in their digital video talks about ‘Why divide- when you can share? promoting their breakfast mix.

Kumar personally liked the Bajaj Avenger campaign the most, which is talking about women safety at night and linking it back to real independence. He feels the campaign is topical and strikes the right note.

Last year, advertising spends for the festive season was dampened to some extent due to demonetization. To add to it, e-commerce players too were struggling with heavy losses and valuation problems. They were fighting to get fresh rounds of funding and didn’t have a lot of money to spend on flashy advertising.

It will be interesting to see, how most of the brands this year, gear up for Diwali, which is the most important time in the marketing calendar of all the retailers.


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