Year Ender 2021: The real power of creativity is in solving problems

Brands moved to purpose and cause driven communications in order to communicate with their consumers

While 2021 began easing up restrictions, purpose continued to remain an essential element in driving communications.
While 2021 began easing up restrictions, purpose continued to remain an essential element in driving communications.

The year 2020 brought in both disruptions and learnings as various industries adapted to the changing environment. As for the advertising industry, it brought its own set of challenges as the Covid-19 pandemic created a fall of 21.5% to India’s AdEx in 2020, according to a report by GroupM. As per industry experts, 2021 has been the year of recovery for AdEx — it grew by more than 20% in comparison to 2020, which helped in bringing it back closer to the pre-pandemic levels. “Digital and TV have been the driving forces while much ground is covered by print and radio too. The growth story will continue in 2022, we can expect more than 15% growth in AdEx,” Kaushik Chakraborty, EVP, iProspect India, told BrandWagon Online. TV and digital together accounted for about 70% share of overall AdEx in 2021, as per industry experts. This is likely to increase further to 73% in 2022 with the share of digital increasing to 33% from the current 29% while print is likely to lose ground marginally. Moreover, categories such as electric vehicles, cryptocurrency investment, edutech and DIY investment apps or DIY fintech, are expected to come up in a big way and contribute to the overall growth. 

Interestingly, brands moved to purpose and cause driven communications in order to communicate with their consumers. Across categories, brands from Mankind Pharma, KFC to Coca Cola and ZEE among others, stepped up and encouraged consumers to stay at home and maintain hygiene. While 2021 began easing up restrictions, purpose continued to remain an essential element in driving communications. “Purpose is not about ‘woke’ washing or appropriating something for the sake of being fashionable. It isn’t constrained to advertising and marketing, it is about what the company/ brand/product stands for, lives for, day in and day out. Therefore, a big pattern of communication for our brands this year has been bringing out the product narrative in a magical and interesting way,” Dheeraj Sinha, CEO and chief strategy officer – South Asia, Leo Burnett, said. He cited examples of the recent work that the agency has done for PhonePe, where-in it had created a series of short films with brand ambassadors Alia Bhatt and Aamir Khan which talks about hassle free insurance through PhonePe, and Spotify where it created a series of three films in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu each to promote Spotify’s curated playlists, which is all about building the platform as a part of people’s lives. 

“Advertising has to begin to look beyond itself, it has to use creativity to solve problems. These solutions could be anything from building a technological platform, to packaging, to format innovation. The real power of creativity is in solving problems, not just doing more and more of advertising. Innovation will be key, creating new platforms, bringing new-ideas and solutions will play an important role for brands going forward,” Sinha explained. 

According to Preetam Thingalaya, director of media, Mirum India, digital has been the best example of adaptive marketing over the last two year. “And this is one platform which is always evolving and will keep evolving. We are in the adaptive marketing era and one will observe that strategies will also be designed that way — free flowing and ready to adapt in any kind of scenario. Creating brand love will always be the supreme goal, as this leads to brand consideration and trails. Adaptive marketing thinking is the new way of building brands, business growth will follow,” he added. 

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