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Top creative minds see industry getting more mature for digital-led solutions in 2023

BestMediaInfo.com talks to creative leaders to understand what trends they see shaping up in the advertising space next year

This rapid acceleration in digital consumption has led to advertisers experimenting with solutions that are meant for the audience.

According to top creative leaders, 2023 will be a year when creativity will have to marry technology.

“While new-age storytelling has been the buzz for a few years now, 2022 was clearly the year of new-age and tech-based storytelling coming of age. Some of India’s most awarded campaigns set new benchmarks in new-age storytelling this year,” said Kainaz Karmakar and Harshad Rajadhyaksha, Chief Creative Officers at Ogilvy.

Mukund Olety, CCO, VMLY&R said, the industry saw a lot of use of “Regenerative AI” in advertising this year. “It’s a great tool for telling hyper-personalised stories and creative teams will continue to find newer ways to harness this technology. The use of the Unreal engine has made production cheaper and helped brands create multiple gaming and virtual worlds with ease.”

He pointed out that Metaverse was the buzzword and a lot of brands tested it out without making big investments in it. He said as the space continues to evolve, brands and agencies will continue to create new use cases.

However, there was a rise and fall of NFTs. “While you will still see stories of Nike creating NFTs, in general brands creating NFTs will take a backseat.”

Azazul Haque, Chief Content Officer at Media Monks, said that brands experimented excessively with digital this year as opposed to traditional TV.

 “Post-Covid, audiences have shifted platforms from television to a lot of digital mediums. The content choices have also changed. There is a lot of content happening on digital like reels, youtube as well as traditional TV viewing happening on digital. Somewhere, the TV viewership is getting impacted apart from spikes we get around IPL or some other sporting event. This is why the classic TV-led brand campaigns have been reduced,” he said.

According to Haque, brands are trying to make sense of the new tech-led world and have taken baby steps towards what the future might be.

“Brands like Tata Tea that talks to housewives did a campaign called ‘Desh ka Garv’ campaign for Independence day. We did an ‘immersive’ Durga-puja campaign in Kolkata. We created an immersive pandal experience and this was a big investment by Tata Tea. This shows that brands want to see how this will work and the result of such engagement will decide what the future of advertising could be. There will be a lot of trials and errors,” he explained.

Brand building and storytelling took a backseat in 2022

As per Haque, brand-led storytelling took a backseat in 2022 as a result of post-covid jitters and the change in consumer behaviour. However, that led to advertisers making the most of the digital revolution.

“Very few brands have done brand campaigns, I don’t know if this is a post-covid phenomenon or if they are focusing on specific business targets. Most of the work done this year has been about pushing the product rather than the brand. There was less brand-building this year.

According to me, this might be due to post-covid where the economy is trying to recover. Although the situation in India is not bad, it is feeling the jitters from the rest of the world. The push is more towards sales and purchases,” he said.

Celebrity endorsement took pole position in 2022

According to Garima Khandelwal, Chief Creative Officer at Mullen Lintas, this year saw a lot of endorsements led by celebrities. “Solos, couples, rumoured couples, friends, our advertising is becoming more and more about who is endorsing it as an idea, am also guilty of this so am aware of the industry dynamics and the “trend” across categories,” she said.

“Everyone today is looking for thought leadership and commercials that are not a one-script wonder but brand spaces that can be built on. More and more that gap is widening and as creative leaders, we need to keep the focus on that objective, work that taps into the popular culture, travels to WhatsApp groups and also moves the brand narrative forward,” added Khandelwal.

Expectations from 2023

2023 will see the industry getting more mature when it comes to digital-led solutions. Metaverse, AI and creative tech will be at the centre in the next year.

“We feel that taking a cue from this year, our industry and clients will be emboldened to take creative risks in areas where tech is currently playing a healthy but safe, expected role. Data Applications, Wearable Technologies, Social Listening Responses, e-commerce, and Healthcare tech, are all areas that are poised to dazzle their audiences with a creative edge. This year will also see more and more agencies finding the value of bringing on creative technologists,” stated Karmakar and Rajadhyaksha of Ogilvy.

According to Olety, 5G will open up new possibilities and lead to immersive brand experiences like AR, VR and live events in the Metaverse. He also said we will see the rise of Meta humans.  “Rather than just interacting with a bot on a website, how cool would it be to engage with an almost human? D2C platforms will start to create unique experiences and services that will incentivise the user to buy off the platform. Every brand will need to start thinking and behaving like they are in the service industry.”

“Live commerce is still very small in India. Seeing how it has become a powerful marketing tool in China, I feel brands will be keener to test it. While brands will continue to leverage influencers, they will start to build their own little army of brand advocates,” added Olety.

However, Khandelwal of Mullen Lintas said while there are various technologies, how one uses them will be key in 2023.

“Tech is a tool. Data mapping is a tool. What one does with it, to create impressions is what gets talked about. Sometimes tech overcomplicates or overwhelms, which to my mind is not the trend to go after. Spotify’s year wrapped is a simple use of tech mapping, but I’ve seen the joy and surprise it brings to you and generates brand love and loyalty. In short, the tech needs to enable the scale the idea can achieve,” she explained.


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