Media Laddi: World Cup dominates Diwali media plans, TV gets bigger splash

This Diwali is different for marketers as one of the biggest Hindu festivals, the festival of lights, coincides with no less than any other festival, ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and brings unique challenges and opportunities with it. Social Samosa turns to experts to understand how this double dhamka has changed the media laddi to find out the media plan for the season. 

Pranali Tawte
New Update
Diwali media plan

With the simultaneous occurrence of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, finding the right balance between Diwali and cricket has been a challenge for brands while operating on a tight budget. 

Nupur Shah, VP- Digital Lead West & South, PHD, said that this double dhamaka of World Cup and Diwali makes this festive season particularly interesting.

“Advertisers are tapping into the increased demand of the season, with various estimates indicating a 12-15% rise in spending compared to last year. Notably, we are witnessing a resurgence in sales across various categories, and the plethora of brands advertising during the World Cup indicates an upswing in momentum across these diverse categories.”

Sharing the popular media mix of the festive season, Shah added, “The increase in spending extends across various mediums; we will notice brands showing a renewed interest in traditional offline mediums, especially TV and OOH. Naturally, digital mediums continue to remain of paramount significance in the advertising landscape, considering the increasing amount of time people spend on their devices and the prevailing preference for online shopping.”

Sarfaraz Ansari, Senior Vice President of Integrated Media at Mudramax, pointed out that this Diwali, the largest and grandest cricketing mega event is dominating the media landscape. All media activities have revolved around this mega event, and advertisers are being influenced by the allure of cricket. 

Ansari highlighted that this shift is particularly evident in the media mix for advertising, with television and digital platforms leading the way. However, it's not just limited to TV and digital; radio, print, cinema, OOH (Out-of-Home), and DOOH (Digital Out-of-Home) are also enthusiastically embracing the cricket fever.

“With the World Cup around, viewing it on a large screen is a preferred phenomenon, so television will lead, followed by digital platforms,” he added.

Ansari emphasized that in terms of ad spends, the focus has primarily skewed towards the World Cup, with many advertisers diverting their resources. 

He said, “The investment pie otherwise will remain close to the same as compared to last year's Diwali. Auto, e-commerce, digital payment platforms, and BFSI categories have contributed significantly to this year's festive investment pie. Consumer durable category is lying low.”

Crafting compelling narratives

Bala Sarda, CEO & Founder, VAHDAM India, points out a notable trend: the increasing emphasis on eco-conscious marketing efforts, highlighting sustainable products and packaging to align with growing environmental concerns.

Highlighting the other trends, Sarda said, “In addition, there will be a significant focus on online platforms, social media, and influencers for interactive campaigns, allowing brands to connect with a broader audience through digital channels. Furthermore, with ongoing health concerns in mind, the spotlight will be on health and wellness gifts and products. This trend underscores the significance of emphasizing the well-being of consumers and their families during the festive season.”

Sarda emphasized that brands can stand out by creating innovative and visually appealing campaigns that align with the festive spirit, brand ethos, and target customers. Utilizing customer data for personalized recommendations and promotions enhances engagement.

“It's crucial to avoid cultural insensitivity, overwhelming customers with excessive promotions, and to promptly address customer feedback and reviews,” said Sarda.

To effectively engage with diverse audiences, brands must also thoughtfully incorporate cultural nuances. 

As per a festive report by Meta, Diwali shoppers seek online content in their local language. 76% of Diwali shoppers prefer to see advertising in the local language, growing significantly year-on-year. 

To achieve this, Ansari suggested a few tactics:

A. Customized Content: Create content that reflects local customs and traditions. Incorporate region-specific symbols, language, and visuals in your marketing materials to make the audience feel seen and understood.

B. Collaborate with Local Influencers: Partner with local influencers and cultural experts who can provide authentic insights and promote your brand within their specific communities. These influencers bridge the cultural gap and lend credibility to your brand's efforts.

C. Showcase Local Products: Highlight products that align with each region's Diwali traditions and gifting preferences. Offer a variety of options to cater to different tastes and preferences across India.

D. Localization of Ads: Create region-specific advertising campaigns that incorporate local dialects, music, and visual elements to resonate with the local audience.

In a diverse and culturally rich country like India, acknowledging these nuances can help brands form deeper connections and make their advertising campaigns more relatable.

Changing traditions and trends

Diwali is not just a festival; it's a time when families come together, a time of giving and sharing, where tradition dictates the exchange of gifts. In the context of advertising, it's essential to understand the common themes that resonate with consumers during this festive season.

Ansari emphasized the importance of family gatherings in today's fast-paced digital world. He highlighted that individuals are often more focused on ‘me time’ rather than ‘family time.’ 

He said, “Advertisers may emphasize the importance of family gatherings, showcasing how the brands can enhance these celebrations. Brands can differentiate by focusing on unique family stories or cultural insights that resonate with consumers.”

With the growth of e-commerce, highlighting another theme Ansari said, “Online shopping and delivery services will be a prominent theme followed by cultural nuances of how India/brands celebrate Diwali. Brands can differentiate by offering seamless online experiences, exclusive deals, and personalized recommendations with a strong connect over their story with consumers.”

Shah highlighted that brands tend to focus on similar themes of festive greetings and sales announcements, creating clutter across various mediums. Brands will be seen using roadblock advertising, taking up mastheads, and pushing for creative innovations and ad format innovations.

To break through the clutter, suggesting strategies to explore, Shah said, “The secret to standing out amidst all the advertising clutter is personalizing the communication to your consumers and adding a layer of contextuality based on the nature of the platform. This dual personalization will add to the receptivity of the message, ultimately increasing its resonance with consumers and leaving a lasting impact.”

For Mathew Joseph, CEO and Co-founder of Sleepyhead, Diwali is a time when consumers eagerly anticipate the opportunity to transform their homes into warm and inviting spaces. He points out a 50% increase in sofa sales, emphasizing the importance of home decor during the festivities.

Joseph believes that personalized campaigns, which resonate with emotions and express the idea of homes as safe havens, will lead the way in Diwali marketing trends. He notes a shift in the narrative of Diwali celebrations to be more diverse and inclusive.

He said, “This year, the Diwali narrative undergoes a delightful transformation, expanding beyond the traditional concept of celebrating solely with your family to include cherished friends, office peers, neighbors, or any of your loved ones. The narrative has shifted to emphasize diversity in communication, creating an inclusive space for everyone and breaking free from past rigidity.”

Overall, this year's Diwali is unique, with the World Cup gaining more weight in media budgets. Diwali adspends are set to rise. Brands are finding innovative ways to connect with consumers, resonate with cultural nuances, and stand out in a cluttered advertising landscape, making this festive season an exciting and dynamic time for marketing in India.

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