The results were announced last evening at an awards ceremony at Gurugram. Here's a closer look at the buzz-blazers.
Throughout the year, brands hustle to push themselves a little higher than the year before. Be it massive digital campaigns, using the power of social media influencers, carpet bombing ads, putting up witty billboards or getting on board a maverick, brands use every trick of alchemy to turn themselves into gold and to create that elusive aura of buzz.
afaqs! captures this buzz annually and presents it at India's Buzziest Brands awards. This year, e-commerce giant Amazon clinched the title pushing telecom bigwig Jio to the second spot. Food delivery app Swiggy and video-on-demand service, Netflix made their first appearance in the top 10 list. The other brands in the list are Google, Flipkart, Apple, Xiaomi, Tata Motors, and Airtel.
The jury (listed below) and popular votes, both received an equal 50/50 weightage. This edition had nine jurors.
The number of valid voters for the Buzzies 2019 was around 5,000. This year, the brands were classified under 24 product categories wherein voters could choose three brands that they deemed the Buzziest.
The votes of the jurors helped us create the main list of Buzzy Brands. For the category voting process, voters were required to select three brand names from a list, the length of which varied from category to category. They also had the option of adding a name they felt was missing.
No shortlist of brands was made in the case of the main Buzzy Brands list. The process was entirely unprompted. While there was a prompt to help participants get the spelling of the brand name right, they were free to type the name of absolutely any brand they wanted.
1. AMARDEEP SINGH, CEO, Interactive Avenues - A Reprise Network Company
2. JASKARAN KAPANY, Vice President, Marketing, Paytm
3. NINA ELAVIA JAIPURIA, Head - Hindi and Kids TV Network, Viacom18 Media
4. RAJDEEPAK DAS, Chief Creative Officer, Managing Director, Leo Burnett
5. ROHIT OHRI, Group Chairman and CEO, FCB India
6. SANJEEV BHARGAVA, Director - Brand, TOI, TIMS and Mirror brands
7. TARUN JHA, Head of Marketing and Product, Skoda Auto India
8. VIKAS MEHTA, CEO, Mullen Lintas
9. VIKRAM SAKHUJA, Group CEO Madison Media & OOH, Madison World
Tarun Jha of Skoda gave away the top 10 buzzies.
For an in-depth understanding, let's take a closer look at the winners - and the reason behind their buzz.
This year, the Jeff Bezos-led e-commerce giant has bounced back (last win was in Buzzies 2016) and topped the Buzziest Brands 2019 charts. Though the audience votes were low, the jury votes gave this brand a big push in its win over the last year's champ - Jio.
A prominent jump from last year's fifth spot makes us wonder what went right for Amazon. Is it the exclusive sale of products, particularly mobile handsets, the Great India Festival Sale or its video-on-demand service Amazon Prime Video?
In a cluttered OTT market, Amazon Prime Video has been trying to break in by offering its viewers originals like the Breathe and Mirzapur TV series and latest Bollywood and regional movies (Tamil, Telegu and Bengali primarily). In addition, last year, it rode the comedy wave by partnering up with 14 top Indian comedians for their specials and creating the stand-up comedy reality competition series - Comicstaan.
What's noteworthy is that in our e-commerce category, rival brand Flipkart has filled its 'cart' with gold, while, in the main list, Amazon has defeated it by a huge margin in both audience and jury votes.
Since its entry into the Buzzies Brand Awards in 2017, Jio has managed to retain a position in the top 3 list every year. It was the first-runner up in 2017, the winner last year, and is the runner-up this year. This showcases the customer's trust in the brand which introduced them to the term 'Free data', ushering in a data revolution.
This year, a major announcement was made by the third largest telecom brand in India (subscription as the base), to launch Jio Fiber - a highly advanced fibre internet option. The ultrasonic speed of 100 Mbps is provided for 100 GB (free for 3 months).
Additionally, it also offers JIO TV which offers content from over 575 channels across genres including kids, entertainment, sports, devotional, movies, regional channels and more.
What a year this brand has had! This is the first time the leading food ordering and delivery provider has entered the Top 10 Buzziest Brands list and early on ended up with a bronze. The brand continues to dominate the market with top-in-class customer service, frequent discounts and partnering with over 40,000 restaurants (premium, mid-range and small scale).
Belonging to a cash-pumping domain, the brand's recent billion dollar funding has elevated it to the top of the valuation chart in its segment. And how can we miss its quirky campaigns, majorly across digital and social platforms? The list is long, but these two have clicked the most - the video thanking its delivery partners (boys) on their fourth anniversary and the 'What's in the name' campaign, which asked customers to call delivery partners by their name.
The global leader in online streaming platforms entered the Indian OTT market last year with a bang! Considering the high number of 'online users' in India, the decision to offer premium content to the 'desi' audience has been fruitful. This will be the brand's first entry into the Buzzies Top 10.
The major breakthrough for Netflix came through its original - Sacred Games. The perfectly plotted crime-drama series starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui created a buzz which has only grown. In addition to its originals, the distinct advantage that this brand has over other OTT players is a distinguished and massive inventory of shows across the globe, cultures and languages.
Currently, the monthly subscription of Netflix is the most expensive among all the OTT players, but it seems like the Indian audience knows the worth of good content.
In its current spot, Google has become the second brand, after Airtel, to feature the maximum number of times in the "Top 10 Buzziest Brands' list with 8 entries. It was also crowned the Buzziest Brand in the website category.
In the ad world, Google's Creative Intelligence Partnership with Ogilvy created waves by being a first-of-its-kind. In the tech world, its premium mobile, the Pixel 3, launched at a jaw-dropping Rs 60,000 (starting price). And in the real world, with constant innovation across segments and products, the brand has created a reputation of being a when-all-hell-break-loose friend rather than just a brand.
Its constant improvements in AI to provide users with accurate and helpful information seems to have its users quite buzzed.
The homegrown e-commerce giant, despite being in the top 10 Buzziest Brands list six times, failed to find a spot last year. This year, the brand is back making it the third brand to have the highest appearance on the top 10 list since the Buzzies' inception in 2006. Recently being acquired by Walmart for a whopping $16 billion, the successful exit of one of the Bansal duo and the resigning of the other have created quite a stir. There was also the discount-marathon - Big Billion Days - where products were offered at hard-to-pass-up prices.
Though the brand may be trending for some not-so-good reasons, it created enough buzz to land on the sixth spot.
With underdog Xiomi and old-time competitor Samsung maintaining a strong foothold in the mobile handset category, Apple's loyal customer base still seems to be holding on to their favourite fruit. With numerous launches in the mobile, laptop and accessory segment (iPhone Xs, Xs Max, XR Updated MacBook, Watch Series 4, iPad Pro etc.) the brand has definitely stayed in the news.
Apple also entered the $1000 price bracket with its iPhone X, critiqued as one of the best in the ultra-premium category. The brand had the highest number of votes submitted for a brand by the audience but lacked the same from the jury. What is commendable is that as per market share, the brand did not make it to the top 5 mobile handsets in India; yet, it has created substantial buzz to be on our main Buzzies list.
Topping the mobile handset charts, the brand's extension into TV, fitness bands, smart home appliances, and accessories, have further added to the buzz. Though its buzz has dropped a position since last year, the brand nonetheless, rules the mobile segment category. Credit goes to its premium quality product line which is available at economical rates.
Seeing the overwhelming response, the brand has also found success in offline retail. Though the brand's online exclusivity is now no longer limited to Flipkart, it can be bought from Amazon, as well as other e-commerce platforms. In spite of joining the advertising bandwagon of celebrity endorsements and TVC's quite late, Xiaomi seems to have touched Indian hearts and pockets.
9. Tata Motors
Tata Motors who could not make it into even the top 100 last year, this year, made its way into the prestigious main list. The list which has been fairly dominated by e-commerce, FMCG products, mobile handsets, and networks, this time, saw one motor brand replacing another (Maruti Suzuki).
Year on year, the brand has been rolling high on the C-SUV category especially with its flagship product - Tata Nexon. If this wasn't enough, it recently became the first made and sold in India car to achieve Global NCAP's coveted five-star crash-test rating.
Airtel does not surprise us at the Buzzies anymore. With this year's entry, the brand owns the title of "Most entries in Top 10 Buzziest Brands". They have been listed nine times (five-time winner, one-time runner-up and one-time second runner-up). They even won the first edition of Buzziest Brands, back in 2006.
From taking digs at competitors in TVC's to offering 3-month Netflix subscriptions to its postpaid customers, the brand just can't stop coming up with innovative, customer-friendly 'plans' to add and retain customers. Other than its flagship mobile network, the brand has also been doing fairly well with its extended arms - Airtel Digital TV, Airtel DTH, and Airtel Broadband.
Click here to see the complete list of winners.