Procter & Gamble Health, the health wing of the FMCG giant, recently partnered with Reliance's music streaming app JioSaavn on 'World Music Day'(June 21) for a campaign for brand Polybion. The campaign includes Polybion branded JioSaavn playlists, native ads and regional language jingles between songs. The delivery also included continuous SOV (Share of Voice) follow-up, meaning once a user is exposed to a Polybion ad on the platform, they will then be exposed to more such ads for a period of time.
At a glance, it might look like another brand advertising on a digital platform. But what's worth noticing is the advertiser, the brand and the ad format itself. Such a campaign is a first for P&G Health. The formats are relatively new, even by digital standards, but the ad jingles are reminiscent of radio jingles that play in-between songs on FM stations. The brand advertised is Polybion, an OTC (over-the-counter) vitamin supplement. The product is available in syrup, injection, capsule, and tablet formats.
Polybion, originally from German pharma company Merck, is now owned by P&G Health. Merck had sold its consumer health business to P&G in December 2018. P&G Health's boosting the brand on popular platforms like JioSaavn, could be an attempt at consumerising the brand and getting it to become something consumers consider when thinking health. The jingles mention the Polybion syrup and target a very wide age-group of 'eight to eighty' years. The brand's creatives on its official website feature all from the grandchild to the grandparents.
"Audio branding on digital is a marketing technique that helps cut through the clutter of 'visual' digital platforms bringing in more impactful brand recall. We are looking forward to energising the health of consumers across the JioSaavn user-base through a dedicated Polybion playlist for daily active energy supported with audio spots, native ads, companion banners, and a dedicated SOV follow up," says a P&G spokesperson in response to our queries.
Music streaming apps, the likes of JioSaavn and Gaana, boast huge user-bases and follow both freemium and ad-based revenue models. They offer ad inventories for desktop websites and apps. The formats figure in the space of in-stream and programmatic audio advertising. JioSaavn had first run a programmatic audio campaign for mobile devices in 2016. In April 2019, JioSaavn announced that its programmatic audio inventory is available on Google's Demand Side Platform (DSP) - Display & Video 360 (formerly DoubleClick Bid Manager).
On a similar note, Spotify and Tinder partnered up for a campaign where Tinder users could use connected accounts and share music preferences on profiles. JioSaavn and Snapchat partnered up to allow JioSaavn users to share what they are listening to on Snapchat.
Sabyasachi Mitter, founder and MD, Fulcro (a digital agency), lauds P&G's strategy to have a vernacular approach towards content which can build a deeper connect. "Users have a primary reason to be present on a platform; if that experience is intruded upon, it can have a negative effect on the platform and the brand. Say one is watching cricket and ads are enforced during breaks, it is fine if I am consuming the content free. However, if I miss a live ball due to an ad, that would be unacceptable. In the same way, an accompanying advert, while listening to a song is fine, but interrupting the primary intent midway is not," Mitter says.
"Like many FMCG majors, P&G has realised that brand impact needs to balance advertising and experiences, and digital has been increasingly used to deliver experiences. Gillette, with whom we have worked for years, has done that quite successfully in India as well as globally," he adds.
Shourya Ray Chaudhuri, managing partner and creative head (South), Tonic Worldwide, opines that such short formats require two pivots for memorability - creativity and relevance. He says, "When medium and matter go hand in hand is when magic is created."
He continues, "Advertising follows the 'adapt or die' formula, meaning either find a way to be relevant to audiences and their preferred media or perish. P&G is smart. I'm sure they'd have done their due diligence to finalise this platform. Brands are now recognising the power of vernacular and while this ad may not have anything special creativity-wise, the use of Bengali may just see it through to the audience's mindset. Formats don't create an impact. It's how they are used. Things such as relevance, context and creativity impact memorability. Platforms need to ensure that ads cause less annoyance to audiences. How many times have we stopped watching the entire video thanks to annoying ads?"
Yash Kulshresth, ACD, Dentsu Webchutney, says, "A monumental change of the past decade was the way people consume content. They weaned off the traditional TV sets and radios and gravitated towards OTT platforms and music apps like JioSaavn. That opens possibilities of interception for advertising and doing so with the creative filter of radio-like jingles, that too on World Music Day, holds promising potential for lasting impact. Not to mention that there's an undeniable nostalgia value attached to it. This can easily be replicated into an actual radio spot. But what percentage of people are in close proximity to radios 24/7, against their smartphones - their music apps?"
Speaking on P&G's choosing a digital format, Kulshresth says, "A lot of brands resisted initially, but came around in the end. It takes some time to change the old ways, but as the adage goes - change is inevitable. It's great to see traditional brands embrace the concept of Learn, Unlearn and Relearn.
He adds, "The reach is impressive. Regional languages make for a nationwide spread without alienating sections of society. It's a tad intrusive, a better composition or even an earworm would make it more palatable."
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