Advertising Campaigns for Festivals: A Slump in Creativity
India is, perhaps, a nation with more festivals than any other. More festivals than one can count, or, indeed, be aware of. More tales and more traditions. Almost every day is a cause for celebration somewhere in our vibrant nation.
The world of ads comes from within the people and is not in the least alien to this. Naturally, advertisers are expected to comprehend the magnitude of this opportunity and churn out intriguing ad campaigns around them each year. These ads wouldn’t have to impose, as advertising is sometimes guilty of, they can synchronize with the celebratory spirit of the Indian consumer. The diversity and complexity of these festivals provide an easy solution to an advertiser’s biggest challenge: finding new angles to engage their consumer with.
Sadly, though, it is not so. Over the years, we’ve seen a definite slump in the creativity and thought put into festive advertising. Let’s take up the case of Diwali, the festival of lights, prosperity and victory. A time of year when spending patterns across the nation surge drastically upwards and the highest sales of durable products takes place. However, the brands selling these products seem incapable of coming up with anything more original than a done-to-death marketing campaign with a picture of their car/laptop/home appliance, an irritatingly shrill jingle that bores its way into your brain, an unnecessary offer that is designed to ultimately cut a large hole in your pocket and a conveniently indiscernible *Terms and conditions apply at the very bottom. They only see the short term boosts in the profit margin, not the potential for long term brand engagement.
Compare this to FMCG brands; case in point, our favorite chocolate brand. In 2007, they had the vision to cash in on our love for sweets as a mark of celebration and launched a range of assorted chocolates meant for gifting purposes. They then proceeded to market this with such zeal and intelligence that even all these years later, it remains the standard go-to of the Indian consumer for festive gifting.
Our festivals are not just a single day of merry-making or an amalgamation of customs. They are the result of centuries of deeply thought-out tradition, multi faceted stories of our ancestors, stories we never tire of hearing, stories we take inherent pride in, stories that celebrate the very best of humanity. There are variations even within the states and cities, making discovery another cherished tradition. Knowledge and wisdom and philosophy all wrapped up in the brightly lit and colorful basket of festivity.
Even individually, we carry our festivals in our hearts like a beacon of joy. We await them more eagerly than our birthdays, knowing that for a few days each year, worries and daily hassles will fall away, family and friends will come together and societal restrictions will give way to open hearts and smiles.
From a marketing point of view, festivals become are a time of open-mindedness, when consumers are willing to engage with brands. Money is spent a little more freely; the offering of the brand becomes more of a priority. Advertising is not lost on them; rather, anything which concerns their beloved festival is noticed. As such, when we as advertisers move beyond a mundane sales-oriented approach to things people hold dear, such as happiness, family, relationships and solidarity, the consumer will remember. The interaction between the brand and the consumer becomes a mutually beneficial one. The consumer takes away the joy of the campaign and the brand has achieved the necessary brand loyalty. As advertisers, we should consider this to be nothing less than our golden key to excellence.