Previously, it was just Diwali, Independence Day, and New Year that brands and their creative and media custodians had to worry about. Now, there's Mother's Day, Father's Day, Labour Day, Valentine's Day, Holi, Ramadan, Christmas, Friendship Day, what have you. On each occasion, brands feel the pressure to come up with timely, occasion-based ads.
While previously, these ads tended to be transactional, call-to-action, and sales-driven, today, brands release emotion-laden pieces of communication around the festival or 'day' in question. In addition to the tight deadlines agencies already deal with, does this festival-centric advertising add yet another ball to the set agency teams are already juggling with? How do communication experts deal with this pressure? Or, when something becomes the order of the day, does it become less stressful?
Most importantly, how does one ensure one's ad stands out amidst the inevitable clutter around festival-time chaos on the communication circuit? Will anyone notice if a certain brand fails to add to the noise around a given festival?
In a quick, light round of interviews, we sourced some interesting views on the subject.
Navin Kansal, national creative director, Indigo Consulting
Brands active on social media do tend to have a content calendar in place. And, festivals/occasions form part of the mix. It's an opportunity to create work that taps into consumers' passion points while being relevant to the brand ethos. One doesn't need separate teams, just a team that is sensitised and agile enough to deliver real-time marketing or planned topical content alongside regular campaign work.
Sunil Kukreti, senior partner, R K Swamy BBDO
The biggest challenge about making such ads is to stand out in the clutter while fulfilling the above criteria. This is what makes any festive campaign successful.
The credit goes to the versatility of the brand custodians - the planning, creative, and account management teams, who have been communicating for the brand over the years, and hence, understand very well what it stands for.
While festival/occasion-based ads are tricky, it's good to have such challenges. Advertising is about thinking fresh each day.
Arun Iyer, chief creative officer, Lowe Lintas
The brand team works on this. There is no separate team. Also, when it comes to brand recall, it comes down to the quality of the communication. That is true for any communication. What happens to the 80 per cent of the ads out there? They are all crap. So, that's why you have to make sure that your communication cuts through.
Spandan Mishra, head of strategic planning, Rediffusion-Y&R
We have the same teams working on it. If festive work is big brand/thematic communication (like say for a paints, FMCG, gifting, or a chocolate brand) then that's a priority brief on which we work well in advance. For tactical/offer-led communication (auto, consumer durables), where volumes/quantity are enormous, having a well-managed in-house studio team helps immensely. There are always crunch periods during festive periods, but mostly the servicing teams, the creative, and the clients, are in sync.
Sambit Mohanty, creative head, DDB Mudra North
We don't have exclusive teams to work on such ads. The creative teams that are in charge of the respective brands are the ones which create campaigns for any such occasion the brand would like to be associated with.