The creative dearth in festive campaigns can be visibly brighter than the fireworks, as repetitive narratives revisit us each year; experts share a few insights on how to craft unique campaigns in the cluttered season.
The experts share their understanding of the clutter, how to stand out in the festive season, and some tips and tactics to ace this period.
- Keigan Pinto, CCO, FCB Ulka
- Russell Barrett, CCO & CEO, BBH India
- Mukund Olety, CCO, VMLY&R Network India
- Shradha Agarwal, Co Founder and CEO at Grapes
Keigan Pinto states that "September is the death month for advertisers" because the season that follows up the month experiences the maximum clutter observed in the whole year.
Russell Barrett shares that one of the reasons for the clutter is a lack of planning. He shares that this is the one deadline you cannot negotiate, and every year it is coming around the same time, so we need to start planning early because ideas need time to be crafted and polished. He shares an example of John Lewis popularly known for their Christmas campaigns, a brand that starts planning for Christmas in February.
Keigan shares learning from a campaign he recently worked on, and shared, "We are largely in the world of manipulation, and everyone's hearts are waiting to be stimulated with emotional stuff during this time". He further explains that a simple story that tugs the heartstrings would also help brands break the clutter. He states that creative professionals should not fall into mundane thoughts, create boring festive communication, and gain perspective.
Mukund Olety shares that festive advertising went through a few phases in the last years, from empathizing during peak COVID-19 to optimism when it dwindled down, and now we're in the normal festive commercial phase. He adds that we love seeing people together and going home in the phase we're in, but the same relations could also lead to new stories.
He explained that the mundane father-son relationship could also be shown in a new light by touching upon topics that people shy away from or have not thought of, to break the clutter. He gave examples of campaign films he worked on and also shared some instances such as a mother taking her son to meet his father, (also her ex-husband) on an occasion. "Redefine relations and reimagine stories to break the clutter".
Russell Barrett shares his simple principle that he believes works all around the year, but is especially applicable during the festive season - "Persuade, don't promote. Persusauion is storytelling, and promotion is making a sale. Remember that we're talking to an audience and not a consumer, the audience can get up and leave at any point in time".
Be strong and persuasive to stand out in the clutter, if you don't then you will be the clutter.
Shradha Agarwal reckons during the festive season, there's more to campaigns than storytelling, there's brand imagery, consideration, and conversion. The festive season also needs bold advertising and emotive storytelling is important, but KPIs also hold significance.
She further adds that the distribution of the video also matters for a campaign to stand out and it starts from inward to outward such as promoting it through employees and WhatsApp forwards, getting it shared by influencers and publishers. Brands need to follow a good ratio of creative and media budget, a good creative video should not be released without an optimal media budget.
Standing out in the clutter would also mean increasing the shareability of the campaign, and Keigan states that viewers share a piece of content that they think is an extension of their own brand. Brands need to be braver with their creative narratives. Keigan says when a viewer shares the film they think, "I shared this film, it has courage, newness, and is outspoken. I shared this film, I am the film".
It's the hearts that press the shares buttons, not the fingers.
Mukund states technology has been a boon, hyper-personalized communication can now be fused with emotional storytelling. It is extremely exciting and seldom do you realize you're in the middle of a creative revolution. People often mistake technology for ideas, but it is supposed to be used for bringing an idea alive.
Shradha states that technology can be used to create targeting multiple cohorts of the same individual. She shares an instance that the same user may be a professional by the day, a sports enthusiast in the evening, and a partyer on the weekend. So targeting multiple cohorts of the same individual would be one of the prime benefits.
Be brave and ballsy, don't fall into the mundaneness of 'Is Tyohaar…' and 'This Diwali…'.
Avoid conservatism, steal from life, steal from conversations you've had.
Nothing great is born overnight, you're dealing with a super-fast age and the quality expected has not decreased.
Put 80% of your budget towards teh objective and 20% on trying something new.