#SocialThrowback2020: Part III – The EndGame, how A & M industry conquered


As a part of our #SocialThrowback2020 series, Social Samosa recaps the state of the advertising & marketing industry in 2020 with the impact of COVID-19, by adapting a theme as dramatic and chaotic as the year was. Read on as we refashion the soul-stirring string of events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Parts I & II Conclude…

The eternal bad blood between Thanos in the microscopic shape of COVID-19 and the advertising industry unlocked a new level as containment measures began to ease and phases of Unlock began.

The industry was in the EndGame now. Brands and agencies were permitted for outdoor productions, and to operate from an office, but they had to refer to a simple calculus. The advertising universe was finite, its resources were finite, and safety measures could not be left unchecked, procedures needed to be executed with composure.

Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be

Creativity and Safety became two ends of one tool, and one could not incline on either side, they needed to be perfectly balanced. A part of the execution, such as brainstorming and conceptualizing was implemented through remote collaborations.

Sunil Seth, Head HR Business Partner- South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network mentioned the pandemic pushed corporates to relook at their policies to balance WFH and WFO and to utilize office spaces optimally.

“This will now prove to be a good opportunity to look at the flexibility such as building office spaces with no fixed seating, more meeting rooms”, he added. Effective time management and adoption of innovative methods of working in groups/batches is the key.

The foremost campaigns supported by outdoor productions involved messaging around precautionary measures one needs to follow as the containment measures ease out.

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (GOI) was one of the first to release such a campaign featuring Akshay Kumar. The series of videos communicated mandatory guidelines for stepping out such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and the prohibition on spitting in public. The campaign was shot by R Balki, supported by minimal crew following the guidelines, after attaining required permissions.

India Fights Corona – Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Small scale productions kicked off in the initial phases of the unlock, although all filmmakers were obligated to follow guidelines outlined by the Government of India. The series of ad campaigns promoting shopping on Google Search by the agency FCB Ulka and production house Chrome Pictures was shot during the phase.

Google Search – Google India

“I know I Said No More Surprises, But I Was Really Hoping To Pull Off One Last One”

The dwindling economy and reduced purchases forced several brands to severely cut down ad spends, and the advertising industry was staring into the literal void of space, but it managed to pull off one last surprise, and all they needed was IPL pulling them out of this darkness like Captain Marvel.

Thanos had an army, but we had IPL, the league that only shoots to thrill, it marked the return of a major sports event in the country, and threatened the supervillain to make its move. This year it was also partially responsible for rejuvenating ad spends, particularly as it coincided with the festive season.

The league reached higher peaks this season. Jay Shah, Secretary, BCCI mentioned the opening match of IPL raked 20 core views in total, quoting a BARC report, making it the highest ever in any country and any league.

The eight IPL teams garnered a total of 187 sponsors and partners apart from collaborations with the league. Several of the brands such as boAt and Colgate collaborating with multiple teams in the league. All collaborations were supported with brand-specific campaigns across mediums.

A Consolidated List Of IPL Brand Collaborations 2020
IPL Brand collaborations 2020

A Close Look At IPL 2020 Campaigns Filling The Advertising Arena
IPL campaigns

boAt associated with six IPL teams doubled down promotions and marketing budgets. Aman Gupta, Co-Founder, boAt Lifestyle shared, “Keeping the relevance of social media in mind, we were very particular about focusing our efforts on the medium”. The brand invested heavily in social media advertising to engage and converse with our audience.

#SoundOfChampions – boAt

Trupthi Shetty, Lead- Growth & Engagement, CRED, and official partner of IPL 2020, mentioned the partnership goes beyond the need to create awareness for the brand.

Not Everyone Gets It Ft. Bappi Lahiri – CRED

“Part of our mission at CRED is to educate the masses about managing their finances, more specifically, managing credit better”, she added. The objective of the association was to create widespread awareness about the importance of paying credit card bills on time.

“Suit Up… I’m Bringing The Party To You”

The festive season had begun, and even though at first the consumers didn’t know how that was a party, brands enlightened (like Thor) consumers about how to suit up and celebrate in distinct and distant ways was a prevalent theme of the festive campaigns.

The festive shopping season also observed several brands conveying their safety measures at the physical outlets or contactless delivery options, with the objective to cash in on the pent up shopping.

Pujo Campaigns brought in novel narratives around safety and social gatherings that are six-feet distant. Melodies have been a significant form of communication this year, with the launch of hymns by Berger Paints, Sunlight, Joy Personal Care, and more brands weaving music in their storylines.

Pujor Prem – Lifebuoy

Dugga Elo Ghawrey – Asian Paints

Diwali each year observes a blow-up of the highest ad spends to support the significant season of elevated consumption. Despite the uncertainties and hesitancy, the Diwali season greeted a substantial amount of campaigns.

Tyohaar Ke Liy Taiyaar – Amazon India

Not Just A Cadbury Ad – Cadbury Celebrations

Although the themes had significantly changed, celebrations with strangers, homecoming tales, and traditional narratives had changed to a single concept – paying it forward.

“Part Of The Journey Is The End”

The warfare between the advertising industry and COVID-19 had got everyone scratching their heads about the survivability of all this. But even if everything in the year did not work out exactly the way it’s supposed to, it was a hero gig. And, part of the journey is the end. A journey we will not miss, we love it minus 3000, but it brought out the best in us.

Nations were locked down, imagination was not, and the barriers didn’t block the brainstorm. We paused for a period, went back in time, and creative campaigns still emerged, and we amplified the communication of preventive measures. We uplifted consumers from the state of sorrow in the elevator of entertainment and enabled them to kill time with productivity.

Drifted through the learning curve, conceived formats previously unknown, and integrated the festive feeling in festivals. We were never this weak, so we didn’t know our strength, defeating this intergalactic warlord is what it took to know we can come through. Whatever it takes……

Have you ever tried shawarma?