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In-depth: This festive season, FMCG brands may go slow on print but digital and TV will get boost

The sector anticipates a good demand across geographies in multiple categories, including packaged food, beverages, dairy and skincare. Brands are likely to be mindful of their investment and may back only big ticket properties such as Indian Premier League

The FMCG sector has reworked its advertising strategy for the upcoming festive season given the adverse economic conditions and the increasing spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had an impact on the consumer behaviour.

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The sector, which has in the past been spending lavishly on print, may decide to slow down during the upcoming festive season as marketers want to be more mindful of their investment.

FMCG is considered one of the biggest contributors to the festive advertisement spends. The sector constitutes around 40% of India’s total adex of Rs 80,000 crore. In case of TV, the sector adds almost 50% to its total adex.

Rajiv Dubey

Rajiv Dubey, General Manager, Dabur, said the company would do major activation during the festive season. He said TV and digital will be of major significance while they are being conscious of print. 

Print circulation has taken a major hit in the last four months. Almost 75% of the circulation has been restored to pre-Covid levels but marketers are still not too willing to put in their money.

Vivek Sharma

“Print will pick up once readership number is back to pre-lockdown days. We will advertise on mainline mediums during the festive season,” said Vivek Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer, MilkLane.

Demand revival in fast lane

Brands are also seeing demand coming back, which would fuel their advertising expenditure commitments.

T. Krishnakumar

T. Krishnakumar, President, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said that the company expects demand coming back to decent levels during the festive season.

“With the unlock phase, things are coming back in place and we are positive to see a revival in business as well as consumer sentiments. We are optimistic for the future as consumer sentiment and buying behaviour is developing positively, with the possibility of festivities giving a push,” said a spokesperson from Mother Dairy.

With a shift in buying trend, he is optimistic about the festivals though the glamour may not be like the previous seasons, he said.

Poulomi Roy

Poulomi Roy, CMO, RSH Global (Joy Personal Care), said there will be an increased demand in the skincare category as well.

If the severity of the pandemic reduces over the next couple of months and restrictions on movement are safely removed, she expects an upward surge during the festive season.

“The retail category had reduced ad spends during the lockdown. This category witnesses maximum upswing during the festive month. We can expect ad spends to return to normal levels soon,” Roy said.

She thinks as time goes, advertising strategies are going to get more aggressive and spends can be expected to increase.

Sharma of MilkLane agreed that the festive season will bring new consumption occasions and more options.

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi, Chief Marketing Officer, iD Fresh Food, said, “Consumers are not only looking for convenience, but healthy, hygienic and preservative-free foods are also among their top criteria. Trusted brands that provide natural and ready-to-cook convenience foods will have an edge.” 

Vikram Agarwal

Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director, Cornitos, said the brand expects a nominal increase in sales compared to last year.

Rohit Mohan Pugalia

People will prefer hygienically packaged and healthy and yet tasty food for their loved ones in the festive season, said Rohit Mohan Pugalia, Founder & CEO, Munchilicious Granola (A Soch Foods LLP Product).

For the organic industry, Rishabh Chokhani, Founder and CEO, Naturevibe Botanicals, said products will pick up the pace. “The organic industry in India has already begun to witness a boom. However, it might be a little slow compared to regular times, majorly due to the pandemic, but it will surely see a growth,” he said.

Consumers are also increasingly concerned about improving immunity and are inclined towards purchasing beverages and foods with immune-health benefits.

Digital & TV to gain the most

While there has been a perceptible decline in mainline media spends on print and outdoor, the crisis has presented new opportunities in terms of e-commerce and OTT platforms, especially for FMCG.

For FMCG products, be it soap, shampoos, food or beverages, marketers have spent mainly on all modes of communication to let the consumer know they are not behind in coming up with products that have value-added benefits.

Advertising spends from multiple brands have increased in the digital space, said Agarwal.

Most brands are playing safe and would want to advertise on mediums where the consumers are present.

Mother Dairy has varied campaigns in the pipeline, specially curated for digital and radio. 

Apart from digital, Gandhi believes TV has become an attractive medium as despite the slowdown and current challenges to produce new content, the costs have come down considerably.

All FMCG brands are expected to attract consumers by giving discounts on products and bulk offering in limited prices.

The Mother Dairy spokesperson advised brands to keep in mind that in an ocean of digital data, one has to come up with creative communication to attract its target audience and get noticed.

Having sponsored one team for two years in IPL in the past, the spokesperson said the cricket tournament will attract a lot of eyeballs since it is easily accessible on various mediums, including OTT platform. With a lot of unprecedented things happening, the cricket-loving nation might just shower the same love this season.

With no Indian cricket happening for all of these months, brands believe IPL viewership would be even higher than in previous years.

Sharma said, “We see IPL as one the largest viewership opportunities in the country and we look forward to being associated with it once we achieve pan-Indian presence in the next three to four quarters.”

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