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TV channels aren’t lagging behind OTTs in deploying larger-than-life marketing tactics: Viacom18's Sapangeet Rajwant

Outdoor advertising takes the centre stage in marketing campaigns of broadcasters and streaming platforms. How can the platforms extract maximum ROI through digital outdoor, Viacom18’s Sapangeet Rajwant shares insights

Sapangeet Rajwant

Outdoor advertising has dramatically evolved in the last few years with the advent of digital technologies, hence static OOH gave way to Digital Out of Home or DOOH advertising, which has now become very dynamic, said Sapangeet Rajwant, Head Of Marketing and Digital - Hindi Mass Entertainment- Viacom18. 

She added, “We embraced these innovations for our platform to scale up the visibility of our shows by creating a greater impact and generating better recall. Through anamorphic content, holographic imagery, 3D displays and many such novel advertising inventions, we have been able to gain the attention of current and potential viewers. Digital OOH advertising is the latest trend that we are following which is employed to give the audience a memorable experience through various 3D and anamorphic billboards.”

Colors is the first among TV channels in India to advertise on digital billboards. These digital screens provide more flexibility and reliability, highlighted Rajwant. 

In the cacophony of content, marketing is an instrumental tool to raise awareness about the content that's being offered to the audience and to help the show stand out since viewers demand content they can relate to. Therefore, besides creating compelling and relatable content, supplementing it with marketing initiatives becomes quite imperative.

According to Rajwant, today it is extremely critical for any marketing campaign to create interactive and engaging content that enables two-way communication with the audience. The goal is that viewers must have a first-hand experience of the show, forge relevance and build an affinity with the show. Therefore, for deeper engagement and to maximise reach, using a combination of innovation in traditional mediums and digital platforms is a must. 

For digital engagement, using a mix of short video platforms, posts, Reels, and incorporating influencer marketing is also a key, as per Rajwant. Giving an example, she said, associating with like-minded influencers to create content in their style while giving a sneak peek of the upcoming show works great for the platform. 

Further, she continued by saying, “At Colors, we have always stayed ahead of the innovation curve with our marketing campaigns, while tailoring them to the genre and the theme of a certain show. For example, for the pre-buzz of ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 10’, we rode on the momentum created by the deepest picture of the universe unveiled by NASA and created a picture of our own universe #JDJ10 which housed the ‘Galaxy of Dancing Stars’.”

“For ‘Pishachini’, a supernatural show, the channel executed a first-of-its-kind anamorphic immersive marketing strategy and for ‘Dance Deewane’ we were the first to conduct interviews in the metaverse and use it for the show’s promotions. These innovative strides as part of our 360-degree marketing approach ensure deeper engagement and maximum visibility for the shows.”

However, one must also package and market the content as per the needs of the demographic that it caters to. Re-evaluating and reworking the marketing strategy time and again to strengthen the relationship with the audience is indispensable, according to Rajwant.

On the other hand, understanding culture is an equally essential component for marketers to create greater engagement and relevance. Therefore, tapping the cultural pulse of the target audience is instrumental to creating a cult show with a strong fandom that transcends beyond viewership is what Rajwant believes in. 

In India, the way of life changes with every kilometre one crosses and that’s why marketers fashion the marketing strategy by keeping the cultural ethos of a place in mind.  

On this, Rajwant said that Colors has strongly followed this ever since its inception and is known for delivering a diverse and relevant content slate that resonates with audiences across the length and breadth of the country. 

The barometer of how well a particular show has fared is determined by the extent of the impact it has on the culture and the psyche of the masses.

But on the other hand, we also see massive and larger-than-life marketing tactics being deployed by platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime for their marquee properties, a front on which the TV channels seem to be lagging behind. Rajwant highlighted that TV channels lagging behind anyone is a myth, and the fact is that they have a massive reach. They are deploying larger-than-life marketing tactics and catering to the entertainment needs of a much wider set of audiences. 

Also, the success rate of television in striking a chord with the audience is much higher. Its strategies and content have evolved with time, as it commands a very large audience base with changing preferences. As a medium that penetrates as much in the metros as it does in the heartlands of India, the television shows are mounted on an ambitious production value and have a great recall value. 

Rajwant also said that since the medium taps a much wider audience than that of any other viewing platform, TV channels are constantly exploring opportunities that foster interactions with their audience and provide them with unique experiences. “We carefully evaluate marketing strategies that will work the best and make the medium more inclusive,” she said. 

“SVOD platforms use a multi-faceted marketing approach, and we are also entering into a space where we use different techniques to market our content.”

Likewise, Colors was the first TV channel in India to promote a show using an anamorphic 3D display, according to Rajwant. The idea was to kick off a relationship with the audience on a memorable and larger-than-life note, she said. As a channel, they wanted to show the audience what it would be like to see a ‘Pishachini’ in the public space.

“It worked splendidly and the anamorphic displays built an incredible amount of intrigue. Most of all, it set the tone of the show ahead of it being aired on television, it helped to reflect the core messaging of the show and brought alive the concept. However, along with an anamorphic 3-D display, DOOH and using influencers as a new marketing strategy, COLORS is using print too as a medium marketing tool,” Rajwant said.

She pointed out that while the new media platforms have outgrown themselves in recent years, traditional media still holds importance. She said that print media cannot be ignored as it plays a crucial role when it comes to “building perception and credibility”. 

“The communication carried across print media can be amplified across digital platforms as well. Therefore, it is important to have the right kind of marketing mix, to strike the right chord with a wider set of audiences,” she said on a concluding note.

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