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How moment marketing is working for brands

From food delivery apps to FMCG brands and government organisations, all are using moment marketing on digital to grab the consumer’s mind space. BestMediaInfo.com finds out what goes into the making of a successful moment marketing campaign

Drawing the attention of consumers towards advertisements is getting extremely difficult for marketers. As ad blindness grows, brands are relying more on moment marketing to connect with consumers.

Amul has been riding on the strategy for the last 53 years. These days, food delivery app Zomato is seen most active around moments. Brands such as Hajmola, Manforce, Uber Eats, Fevicol, Parle and Shilajit are cashing on the wave and building frequent communication with the audience.

Rajiv Dubey

Rajiv Dubey, Head Of Media, Dabur India Ltd., said, “In Dabur, brands Hajmola and Shilajit leverage on moment marketing through brand memes. The strategy is cheaper and the effect is viral and so many brands are applying it.”

Sumera Dewan

Sumera Dewan, AVP, Dentsu Webchutney, said, “Today, brands are scrounging for audience ‘mind-space’ and cannot afford to be lazy. The power is in the hands of consumers, and they don’t enjoy anything that is passé. Moment marketing has become imperative for brands to foster deeper relationships because it thrives on the current and drives innumerable two-way conversations.”

R S Sodhi

R S Sodhi, MD at GCMMF (Amul), said, “For Amul, moment marketing is not a new thing; we have been doing this for the last 53 years. We do it through Amul butter topical, where we have got our brand associated with uncountable events in India. The frequency of moment marketing has increased today at Amul. Earlier we used to roll at least two ads on hoardings in a month, now we roll out four creatives every week on our social media platform.”

According to Sodhi, one has to commit long-term engagement to associate its brand and services to the consumer. “Once-in-a-while engagements with consumer won’t work for brands,” he said.

According to industry experts, brands that operate in very serious categories such as Pharma should avoid strategising on moment marketing. “Moment marketing doesn’t work for all the brands of similar fashion. Brands that are not in a very serious phase can strategise on moment marketing,” said Dubey.

However, Cipla did try moment marketing for its mass products and was able to get it right. 


Sridhar Ramanujam

Sridhar Ramanujam, Founder, CEO, Brand.comm, said, “Moment marketing works in selected categories where there is an impulse and the consumer is not looking for a long-term purchase cycle. There is a lot of talk about the Manforce condoms campaign on social media; I believe categories like that is suited well to capitalise on moment marketing. To my mind, it has to fit in to your overall brand strategy to turn a voice. If I am a brand of a particular nature, I think I have to vary about the sort of moments that I seize or attempt to seize because it has to be in line to what my brands stand for.”

“Brands that think themselves as a true solution provider to its consumers need to think twice before riding on such strategies. Brands should be a lot more selective in their moment marketing efforts. Many brands also engage in moment marketing strategy to tap its targeted group of millennials and people who spend lot of their time on social media sites,” he adds.

Suraj Nambiar

Suraj Nambiar, Managing Partner and National Media Head, Tonic Worldwide, said, “Two main points you need to consider on moment marketing is brand relevance and speed of execution. Since everything that happens in the world turns in to news, brands love to ride the short wave. This is one sure shot way of getting interaction and conversations from the audience that go beyond the product and service. There are plenty of brands that have taken advantage of Sacred Games release, The Chandrayaan Launch, Game of Thrones last season.”

Samit Sinha

Samit Sinha, Founder and Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, said, “At the outset, I think it is important to make a distinction between an advertisement and an advertising campaign, the key difference being that the former is a single piece of communication that is often a one-off and not part of a campaign. On the other hand an advertising campaign is usually a strategic, sustained barrage of communication involving more than one channel of communication, where the overall messaging is consistent with a brand’s positioning, core value proposition and personality.”

Barring a few exceptions – Amul being a case in point – most moment marketing examples are tactical in nature, and are used to increase brand salience by leveraging a narrow window of opportunity. It helps make a brand become more noticeable by associating it with a topic during the period that the particular topic is trending. It can be very effective when the topic has direct relevance to a brand or a product category. The Paytm ad that appeared the day after the sudden demonetisation announcement is a good example.

According to Dubey, #SabkoChabaJaenge, a digital campaign created by Dabur India Ltd. to promote its brand Red Toothpaste during the 2019 Cricket World Cup was a successful moment campaign.

The series of ads garnered a huge 28 million views across digital platforms. Apart from this he believes Amul has been doing moment marketing right since ages.

Dewan shared names of few brands that have mastered this new wave of marketing. “Durex, the Mumbai Police, Zomato and who can forget Paytm, the jackpot it hit in 2016 after demonetisation with the Paytm Karo campaign placed the brand in the consideration set of so many Indians. And it all started with just a simple tweet – ‘we have got two words for you – Paytm Karo,’ ” she said.

According to Sodhi, Amul’s butter topical campaigns take 0.4% of the total marketing spends, which is 0.8% of total sales. For Amul, moment marketing is one pillar of brand marketing. “We have been consistent to the strategies we have cashed on in the past,” he said.

“Moment marketing is definitely important for non-serious brands like us. However there is no specific allocated spends for it. It comes under the digital spends. Unlike Amul, Dabur or other brands do moment marketing only on digital mediums,” Dubey pointed out.

Dabur takes a call to market on lighter moments, which is joyous and meaningful to the consumer.

Nambiar said, “Moment marketing is more of a creative/content game and agencies do not spend too much money on creating or promoting this kind of content. It’s mainly smart copy and art or a tweet that gets the attention of the audience. From a media perspective, it will only make any sense if we using a moment like the World Cup or any other event. This is still planned and not at the moment.”

According to Ramanujam, moment marketing is exercised more globally than in India, and if the opportunity is here, brands should use it. “Brands should keep on experimenting on strategies and see results out of it. We are still in an experimental stage when we talk about moment marketing,” he said.

“There are many topics that tend to trend but are not anticipated and therefore cannot be planned in advance. In these instances, either an additional budget is required or a portion of the annual media budget should be redeployed,” said Sinha.

Speaking on the future of moment marketing in India, Sodhi said, “Moment marketing is going to be there in the market but the question is how brands are going to use it, which depends on the brand creative. If everyone talks about the same moment in a similar way, it would be difficult for brands to break the clutter.”

Dubey said, “Every campaign and strategy has to connect a chord with the consumer, if it doesn’t then the brand should either skip the strategy or brainstorm ideas to break the clutter in the ad space.”

According to Ramanujam, brands in India need successful demonstrative case studies to acknowledge that moment marketing is a useful marketing tactic and brands are missing out in case they are not doing it.

“If the moment marketing strategy is not working for the brands, they should not push it down by throat,” he says.

Nambiar said, “Content created to capture moments will continue but the format and platforms will change. Today apps like TikTok that allow quick video content creation will have better attention than Facebook and other social apps.”

“Moment marketing is definitely more than just a fad and is here to stay. In fact, as time progresses, brands will start tapping into micro moments that are even more precise and intent-driven to accelerate brand and business efficacy. Digitally acquired data will give advertisers a host of new and relevant moments to plug and play basis the behaviour of their consumers. Subsequently, brands will also need to be more careful because they can easily be categorised as intrusive or unnecessarily pushy,” said Dewan.

“Brands use moment marketing as a strategic brand building tool. I believe that in the future, more and more brands are likely to use this tool tactically for short-term gains,” said Sinha.

Speaking on the brief agencies receive from brands on moment marketing, Nambiar said, “There is no brief for moment marketing. Brands and agencies take a call on the wave that they want to ride. Few moments can be planned, when it comes to sports or film releases. In the end, speed and relevance is the key.”

Mumbai Police :

Platforms that deliver engagement

“The entire Amul campaign is built around moment marketing, I think 100% of spends of Amul goes into moment marketing. For other brands, moment marketing is part of the campaign but for Amul it is the campaign,” said Dubey.

“Brands like Zomato are using Twitter as the primary platform to latch on to moments, which is much faster. While other brands like Oreo use visual-based platforms such as Instagram and Facebook,” Nambiar points out.

“I have not seen any brand consistently doing it. Here and there, brands do it. Brands should have the credibility of unbiased comments around the moment. At Amul, we do not spare or favour anybody. Our moment campaigns are 100% unbiased, without leading to any conclusions of the event,” Sodhi says.

According to Dewan, “Riding the wave of trends that are not pertinent to your brand, product or category can be perceived as a desperate attempt to stay relevant. And agencies and clients definitely shouldn’t get carried away in the moment of things. While reacting fast to capitalise on the topicality of the event is extremely critical, it is equally imperative to evaluate whether the moment is even worth it. Making hasty decisions because it is ‘cool to be trendy’ can result in brand dilution and unfavourable sentiment amongst core consumers.”

Is moment marketing thumb stopping?

In the age of digital, thumb stopping (something that stops audiences to stop scrolling the screen for the content piece) has become the new barometer of success.

According to Dubey, moment marketing being a cheaper and quicker affair has become important to reach to the targeted consumer with the message, but at the same time, the message should be relevant and affective to the consumer or else it goes in vain.

“Today’s youth and millennial wants an update with the latest and trending activity happening on social media. Moment marketing here does the job; it creates a quick hype around the moment on social media platforms of the brand, which creates awareness among the youth group or people of any age who are active on social media platforms,” said Sodhi.

“Pure, authentic and new ideas are required to break the moment marketing clutter. Engagement can happen if brands think differently. Riding on the humour emotion is also not good all the time,” said Ramanujam.

“Today the audience is documenting what they are doing live, in terms of stories and snap conversations. As brands you will need to identify where the attention is and be relevant to them. Moment marketing is just one way of doing it,” concludes Nambiar.


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