The world of advertisement is quite obsessed with the individual – the end customer – as a recipient or an actor of its story. There may not be many cultural sociologists in marketing and advertising, but ones who are, agree that sociality plays a huge role in the everyday choices we make, buy, love or do.
People do not live, act or think in isolation. The Big Billion Sale comes alive just before Diwali, and our social media becomes a testament to celebrations. Any decent marketer with a limited budget constraint knows that seasonality is all about excellent timing, relevant content, unique campaign execution and ultimately, well-driven sales.
This year, India is going to witness two big-ticket events clash on the center stage in the months of March till May. While the General Elections are going to throw political analysts into a tizzy, the IPL is going to be the front and center battlefield for advertisers to gain viewership. The time is probably past for marketers to decide which game they should bet on, it would be the long-term commitments which will ride the IPL-General Elections wave.
Who should be excited?
India is excited by both cricket and politics. Which is why this summer is bound to test the mettle as well as the patience of marketers.
Despite IPL being a straightforward game for the marketing community, the absence of several international players, the likelihood of key players being rested to manage their workload before the World Cup and limited opportunities for innovative campaigns in a seller’s market will be a significant factor which could push the tip in favor of the elections.
Mind you, the ICC World Cup begins from May. Marketers take on high impact opportunities and pay a premium to get reach. In that regard, the reach of the recent five-state assembly election on counting day alone has performed better than that of IPL’s three matches and a finale. Added to that, we are sure to see aberrations in the viewership performance of sports channels owing to the new TRAI pricing, while news channels are mostly free to air. On the other hand, Elections never allow the consistency or finesse required to run programs or telecasts well in advance.
It is possible that your message will not resonate with the masses unless you have a solid social message to stick. This is just TV.
Digital is a whole other story
It is certainly a big possibility that either of the events will have much impact on how content is consumed on the digital media because we can now watch a live match and get pop-up live news updates, right on our mobile screens. Most audiences will anyway choose one over the other, depending on the interest and their location (whether at home or outside) and later catch up on the updates on social media. Digital marketing has the luxury of pushing the boundary with campaigns on multiple fronts. Advertisers can run independent campaigns and are not bound by the limitations of a single publisher like the IPL.
If you are a marketer for any political campaign, you might have to go over Google and Facebook’s new policy for purchasing political ads ahead of the elections. These tech giants believe that voice, video and vernacular are mission critical to initiate the next dimension of a growth spurt in digital advertising. With OTT and VOD adoption on the rise, marketers will have to consider newer touchpoints for that last-mile digital access.
Choosing your tool
Digital is yet to surpass TV in AdEx unlike many western countries but it is outgrowing all other media by a big margin. Print and News are democratic channels and continue to provide a big share of reach. However, we will see enhanced formats of digital spends come into the picture and play a significant role in the overall scheme of things. Digging deeper into your consumers’ habits will tell you what they prefer, what your brand needs and what kind of integrations grab eyeballs and drive engagement. Where in one place elections will incite interest in trade from dealers, store owners, and corporates, IPL may make the internal stakeholders like the employees, sales team and management happy. Ultimately marketers will choose among a mix of properties across media depending of their brand requirements, their markets, and their target consumers.