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Prospect 2017: Advertising trends to look forward to in 2017

Last year opened the gates for a lot of opportunities to tap in 2017. BestMediaInfo lists likely trends in 2017 based on predictions of industry experts. This could well become the year of digital creativity and creative and media becoming more aligned

Prospect 2017: Advertising trends to look forward to in 2017

Last year opened the gates for a lot of opportunities to tap in 2017. BestMediaInfo lists likely trends in 2017 based on predictions of industry experts. This could well become the year of digital creativity and creative and media becoming more aligned

Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | January 4, 2016


The dust has settled for the year gone by and we spent the weekend wishing HNY to all. What is in stock for advertising which was marked by some exemplary campaigns last year? We saw branded content catching the eyes of people and digital coming of age.

The creative world was not left untouched by the historic demonetisation and the unprecedented Pan Bahaar print ad that featured Pierce Brosnan and shocked consumers on an October morning. The year also witnessed many creative turning independent or completely venturing into a new field.

Based on what happened in 2016, BestMediaInfo spoke to industry veterans to get an idea of some trends that might centrestage in advertising in 2017.

Demonetisation to wreck creative decisions

Advertising depends a lot on market sentiments. Ups and downs of the demonetisation exercise will affect decision making, whether it is advertising, branding or marketing. One can expect slight hesitation towards taking riskier routes in communication. People will fall back on more tried and tested routes as brands won’t be willing to take riskier decisions in terms of accepting innovative ideas with ease. The first half of 2017 will be more affected while the second half will become a bit smooth.

Amer Jaleel Amer Jaleel

Amer Jaleel, Chairman and CCO, Mullen Lintas, said, “My advice at this time would be that one should be ready for the impact of demonetisation and advertising should navigate its way out in such a riskier environment and make the communication really standout. It would be a little difficult period but once you understand you should start navigating the strength. People’s mindsets have shifted and we should take into consideration those mindsets and make appealing propositions for that mindset.”

Creative agencies must work in tandem with media planners

All through 2016, there was a trend of media houses getting into the creative and content territory. Media planning agencies have started getting into content creation as they are close to media opportunities. For example, Mindshare’s ‘6-pack band’ for Red Label.

Creative agencies in 2017 will have to wake up and start realising that unless they get into media analysis and pick up a trick or two from media agencies, they will not be able to fully utilise the opportunities available for them. In 2017, creative agencies will start trying to understand the new media phenomenon and get into deeper analysis of how brands function, content functions and digital analytics happen, and what opportunities are thrown up because of data crunching.

Jaleel explained, “Probably, the old model of a media planner and a creative person working together will come. I think the creative people will welcome them more. Creative agencies will become more open in understanding about media and analytics. The trend that was sparked by media people getting into creative will change and see creative people getting into media.”

Digital to rule

KV Sridhar KV Sridhar

One thing is clear. Everybody was waiting for digital to arrive and now it is here and is an integral part of creative communication. In 2017, it will play an even more important role. India at first moved into mobile, then mobile first, and is now completely moving into only mobile. And that is going to play a huge role going forward. Every form of communication will start becoming digital. Even if you are on television, it will be digital, for print it will be digital. We are entering true digital economy where no form of medium or message can be complete without digital aspect to it.

KV Sridhar, Founder, Hyper Collective, said, “Television might become marginalised and a lot more money will be spent on digital content. One could get to see far more digital storytelling. One will get to see the gap between storytelling and technology marginalising . Internet will allow a lot of interactivity.”

Digital to boost creativity

The creative fraternity will leverage the digital space to creative long and short-format brand films. Unlike television, they will have more time to talk about a brand in the form of digital films and hence have more space to showcase their creativity.

Year of branded content

Anil K Nair Anil K Nair

The trend of brands getting integrated in various forms of content has definitely increased, but one will get to see more of it in 2017. Brands have realised the importance of branded content with ad blocking and other features coming into existence. Nowadays, it has become the need of the hour to integrate a brand into the content wherever possible to connect with the youth. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is finding newer and innovative ways to do so in future.

Anil K Nair, CEO and Managing Partner, Digital L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, observed, “I see brands moving an increasing part of their budgets in different kinds of branded content. Large agencies will invest in in-house studios that can create great content at speed.”

Mobile-friendly creative

Penetration of smartphones, Jio coming into action and data plans crashing to rock bottom. Both smartphones and internet will become far more affordable and creativity will be focussed on creating campaigns and solutions for brands that amalgamate well with the mobile medium.

Push for Out-of-home

Ashish Bhasin Ashish Bhasin

India is a young country where a lot of infrastructure development is happening. A lot of roads, highways and metro projects are being built at a galloping speed. Young people by definition move out a lot and, therefore, out-of-home will gain more prominence and again may get digital in nature. As Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, commented, “Out-of-home will get its legitimate dues that it has not got in the past.”

Need for agencies of the future

We have recently witnessed that a lot of bigger agencies have acquired or merged with smaller ones. Creative agencies have either tied up with digital agencies or have acquired production houses. These agencies have understood clients’ need of getting all the solutions under one roof. Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) is one big network which not only has creative solutions to offer, but also offers media planning and buying to its clients.

Bhasin said, “Clients will start insisting on getting holistic, integrated, 360-degree agency support and that is the secret sauce for us. It will become the necessity and sooner or later, all the agencies will follow that route. It is a real client need that most agencies are unable to satisfy so far in India.”

Breaking the clutter

Santosh Padhi Santosh Padhi

Last year saw a few campaigns that touched the emotional chord, but none could be called clutter-breaking or exemplary. Santosh Padhi, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot Dentsu, has a powerful point to make. He said, “If 4-5 years back we could do Google and Gondappa, then why not this year? I would expect more Adidas sort of campaigns coming up next year. Ad agencies can’t be just doing print ads, outdoor and television commercials. Markets want some clutter-breaking format with new age thinking. Agencies need to prepare themselves for cutting-edge work other than commercials on television. More and more non-traditional things will be appreciated. I am hoping somebody to crack digital as a medium and do something really big because I don’t think something kickass has been done on that front in India.”

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