Sapangeet Rajwant
Guest Article

2022: an exciting year of innovations for entertainment marketers

Our guest author talks about several television marketing trends that stood out in 2022.

The television marketing arena wasn’t prepared for the sudden colossal shift that the COVID pandemic ushered in 2020. Marketers were compelled to unlearn everything they thought they knew until then, and adopt new tactics of engagement with viewers that were nestled at home. As soon as the new patterns of interactivity began to settle in, the pandemic receded, and the TV industry swiftly started recovering from its impact.

The one bright spot in an otherwise difficult period, was the enormous demand for entertainment, even in dire straits. As people seek more entertainment at home and in-person events are being revived, digital media engagement has strengthened, with Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs) aligning constantly with time.

What has worked is marketers making a universe that connects across cultures and makes for conversation in the public domain. There were several trends that ruled the roost in marketing. Let’s look at some trends that stood out in 2022:

The marvel of the metaverse

Creating a 3D, immersive digital world, where people interact with one another, has been all the rage in the marketing arena. Metaverse-driven campaigns took centre stage in 2022 and prepared the entertainment sector for the next age of interactivity. 

In fact, as a brand that is known for taking an innovative approach towards campaigns, COLORS was the first in the Hindi GEC space to harness the full might of the metaverse for its dance reality show ‘Dance Deewane Juniors’. The channel’s campaign took the audience on a virtual tour of the grand metaverse pathway.

Before stepping into the metaverse, users could choose their avatar and experience the magnitude of the platform in a virtual format, while participating in various activities. The metaverse was complete with a glitzy photo booth, game zone, dance masterclass and behind-the-scenes.

The viewers got an opportunity to groove with Nora Fatehi, one of the judges of the show, through augmented reality (AR). She was seen teaching dance moves of her popular tracks to the participants, followed by a fun-filled dance battle between them. This incredible level of interactivity and engagement dialled up the pre-buzz of the show.

Owing to our innovative streak, COLORS was the only GEC to be showcased by Meta as one of the 'Top Reel trends of 2022' and torchbearers of innovation on its platforms.

Expanding horizons with an influencers’ squad

We noted the rise of an influencer social squad, which essentially means going beyond leveraging influencers and engaging them to build a set of evangelists for your brand, who live and breathe its ethos. While this trend picked up steam in 2022, we expect it to continue.

Such collaborations ensure authentic conversations that can happen between the brand and the influencer’s audience, allowing for better audience targeting. This strategy, coupled with engaging with micro-influencers, whose content packs a stronger punch owing to higher levels of engagement, is also essential and has been leveraged by multiple brands.

Contrary to popular belief, these influencers have played a larger role in converting leads and spreading brand awareness, while spurring conversations across the relevant target audience in ways they prefer. Putting this learning into action, we, at COLORS, created a universe of content creators from different parts of the country, solely focussing on creating content for the channel.

We are the only GEC with an army of influencers, who currently put out about 5-6 content pieces each month, promoting our shows and artistes. So far, they have created over 200 content pieces, giving us over 75 million views.

Building brand loyalty

Every time we buy or consume something, we tend to repeat the patterns of the past, and that can be attributed to clever loyalty-building tactics by brands. Loyalty is essentially choosing one brand over the other consistently over its competitors. A loyalist is not swayed by price, availability and comfort. It is the result of a brand consistently meeting and exceeding expectations.

One example of a brand leveraging its loyalists is American rapper Travis Scott ensuring a robust pre-buzz for his album ‘Astroworld’ by selling its merchandise to his fans ahead of its release. Such was the widespread acclaim of the album that it not only performed well commercially, but debuted atop the US Billboard 200. This unprecedented success right when the album was released, gave him an edge over his competitors in the music industry.

On the home turf, we adopted a novel way to harness our fan base through communities that have been created at Golden Petal Club established across non-metro cities such as Lucknow, Bhopal, etc. The club members become the spokespersons in their community and create buzz about our shows.

Levelling with the challenge of the pandemic, we took the virtual mode for our interactions with these clubs. As soon as the COVID-related restrictions were lifted, we connected with them on-ground again, and adopted bigger and more innovative methods for promoting our shows.

Continuing to capitalise on viral trends

Capitalising on the current trends, whether it’s photos, memes or conversations that dominated the year, was very essential. Whether it was brands like Swiggy, Zomato or Durex jumping in on innovative ways to congratulate Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor on their wedding, or even wishing our national team for the ICC T20 World Cup.

Quirky and short conversations have captivated audiences. Capitalising on one such trend, COLORS’ ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 10’ launched a week-long campaign, titled ‘Galaxy of Stars’ with an image that claimed the discovery of a new galaxy of dancing stars, titled #JDJ10. The cryptic picture piqued the curiosity of netizens, who came up with many interesting theories about the image. This campaign was inspired by NASA’s widely circulated ‘deepest picture of the universe’ seen through the James Webb Space Telescope.

The channel rode on the momentum generated by the photograph to create an image of its very own galaxy named the ‘Galaxy of Dancing Stars’. While the image took the Internet by storm, the channel ensured that netizens had their daily dose of mystery, as each day snippet of information about these dancing stars were revealed through various sources. The show garnered immense awareness and a part of its credit goes to its robust marketing machinery that captivated their attention.

The new dawn of AI in marketing

The world of artificial intelligence (AI) has ushered limitless opportunities. Going beyond gathering data-driven insights, brands have looked at integrating the power of AI into engaging with audiences.

One simple, but effective use of AI, was creating personalised invites for premieres of shows that allowed audiences to feel a deeper and stronger connect with the show/ brand. It is one trend that will take the marketing realm by storm in the upcoming year.

Leveraging new-age technology for interactive on-ground events

Ever since the COVID restrictions were lifted, it gave brands back the opportunity to directly engage with audiences on-ground. However, viewers have evolved, demanding interactive and out-of-the-box on-ground activations. It has become essential to action impactful campaigns, while leveraging technologies that give audiences an experience, rather than a simple activation.

Over the last year, on-ground marketing tactics have seen their share of innovations, with digital hoardings and stunning anamorphic content. For example, COLORS used an anamorphic 3D display to promote its supernatural fantasy show 'Pishachini' and through it, the audience got an opportunity to see what it would be like to have an evil demoness in public space and be introduced to its universe.

For 'Dance Deewane Juniors', segments titled 'Dance with Nora Fatehi' and 'Live with Karan Kundrra' were activated, and the brand used AR to give people a chance to groove and share the stage with Fatehi and interact with Kundrra live virtually with the participants across cities. The experiences created at on-ground events were compelling enough for the target audience to step out of their homes and engage with the shows.

So, what can we expect in 2023?

TV will continue to earn the love and affection of audiences, especially as GECs deliver captivating shows with compelling narratives. Therefore, some of the above-mentioned trends will remain pivotal in 2023.

With the boom in digital influencer marketing, more regional content creators and influencers will come to the forefront, which is likely to bring a paradigm shift in the entertainment industry. As audiences continue to demand engaging and personalised content, we can expect to see an amalgamation of virtual reality, AI, AR, a surge in the number of micro-influencers and innovative on-ground activations on the marketing front this year.

(Sapangeet Rajwant is head of marketing and digital, Hindi Mass Entertainment, Viacom 18)

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