According to Mr Ravi Kiran, general manager, Starcom Worldwide, the July-December second half for 2001 has not witnessed advertising spends in any new category. His company, in an analysis for the period, (see chart) points out that while 2001 has seen an overall growth in revenue of nine per cent over the previous year, the second half is the clear area of concern.
Industry observers explain that advertisers like Ceat have almost gone off television. “Simultaneously, a big spend sector like white goods, which includes Samsung and LG, has seen slashed budgets,” they say.
During the second half of 2001, conventional advertisers like Bajaj Auto and Titan Industries have significantly reduced their presence on television. This does not include the loss of revenue post the dotcom bust.
The question now is—where has the money been spent “The money has actually gone into sales promotion at the expense of thematic advertising spend,” explains Mr Kiran. Agrees Mr Subhabrata Majumder, media analyst, Motilal Oswal Securities, who says that below the line activities have gained ground during the second half of 2001.
The big spend periods like Diwali saw companies adopting the sales promotion route in a big way. Hindustan Lever, for instance, has had sales promotion tactics running for several of its brands since Diwali. “Moreover, the new growth sectors like insurance which promised big spends have in fact had a very low presence on television and have instead been heavy on print and outdoor” points out Mr Majumder.
According to a senior media planner with an advertising agency, the issue has been a combination of emphasis on sales promos and the reduction in the duration of television commercials. “For instance, the average duration of television commercials has reduced by more than 10 per cent since 1998,” he explains. The result, he says, is that the advertiser gets more number of spots for almost the same budget. What the first half for the current calendar year will look like is therefore quite uncertain and the industry appears to have adopted a wait and watch policy.