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Flashback 2011 – Way forward 2012

A look into the future of digital media in the context of advertising

By Dinesh Swamy

Creative Director

Digital Law & Kenneth

January 30, 2012:

The good news: Brands have realised that it’s all about connecting with the consumer.

The bad news: Most brands are still playing safe.

We have all known and grown with it – that advertising is the key to get consumers to do something that will benefit the client. When it comes to figuring out strategies and executing them, it's a skill that matters, whether it's on TV, mobile or the web.

In 2011, brands and agencies have begun exploring – cross-media is the key to make any campaign successful.

Engaging with online users can be very challenging because they tend to get very impatient, easily bored or just trying to boost their social status. Which campaigns in 2011 got it right? Let's find out.

Kolaveri Di – Why this success? The music was excellent and the lyrics, innovative. The song was something you would publish on your wall to show you’re a part of the crowd. Some shared the song because they loved the message and wanted others to hear it as well.

Some felt it wasn’t all that great but shared it nonetheless, probably trying to help their own popularity thinking, “I found this flog song, so I am sharing it with others who’ll like it.”

An overwhelming majority of people loved the song. They played it over again and again, and then passed it on. So many people liked and shared Kolaveri Di that it just happened to go massively viral.

I support India Against Corruption Brand Anna Hazare was a genuine online campaign from the heart. People wanted to speak out – they connected with the issue and they raised their voice. The platform was available for just that. Most of them who couldn't contribute physically contributed in other ways online to make this campaign a success digitally. It made India as a whole come together after a long time.


This was an interesting experiment by Shah Rukh Khan. By using all potential online properties from rich media to YouTube innovation, from social media to micro sites, the objective was set and beautifully orchestrated to reach a vast number of online audiences.

After this, all brands must have opened their eyes to see the results and leverage the full potential of digital media. Movie promotions will be turning to digital properties in 2012.

What will we see next?

We are evolving with rich media by experimenting with various innovations and microsites, Media agencies are being proactive by exploring various properties. However, at the same time, social media is still trying to buy fans. A few brands are actually exploring engagement ideas rather fan-building exercises, which is a good sign.

Indian brands and agencies should be careful when trying stunts this year. More flash mobs may be overdoing it and virality cannot be orchestrated.

Live Augmented Reality is a space, which most brands are excited about and are going to explore in the future. We just need to be careful getting the idea right and technical finesse to execute it.

The mobile world is marching ahead purposively. It has already become part of an integrated strategy across all brands. Over the years every agency has experimented with mobile applications. From further learning, these platforms will be developed to become a useful tool in the daily life of a consumer and add value.

Technically, if browser support and media licensing issues are resolved soon, HTML5 is something agencies will explore. Flash is very much here to rule.

The way all digital agencies are moving, we will be seeing a lot of innovation in campaigns compared to earlier ones. Web films will be taken seriously. And we are eagerly waiting for the first major release.

The future looks digitally rosy. It’s time for our rightful place not just in the media mix but in the consumer’s lives and the digital heart.

(The author has been in the digital space for around 13 years. He started his career as a web designer, working mainly on graphic design, but changed his course to become an interactive designer experimenting with 3D Animation, Virtual Reality Environments & Web 2.0 tools. He became Art Director at Flip Media and then, as Associate Creative Director at Tribal DDB India, he has grown as a digital player. Swamy has worked on brands such as Emaar, JW Marriott, Sony Ericsson, T-Series, B4U, MTV, Mercedes Benz, Honda, Reliance Mobile, LIC, Bank of Baroda, Volkswagen and Idea Cellular. At Law & Kenneth he has handled Parle, Renault and Hero Motocorp. Swamy has been on the Cyber jury of the Asia Pacific AdFest 2010 in Tokyo.)

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