afaqs! news bureau
The Planner’s Special

"Advertising sufficiency allows for robust consumer sentiment"

An interview with Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD India. This is part of a special series of conversations with media agency heads - interview 4 of 31.

What, in your view, was your agency's best campaign of 2019? What about it impressed you?

Our campaign for Renault ‘Triber’, for which we used the ‘demonstration’ route to bring the brand to life, stands out. Equipped with the insight that almost every household owns a television set and most families end the day watching their favourite shows, the creative idea was to capitalise on this popular mass entertainment space, through daily soaps and high-impact shows.

The scripts were meticulously prepared, and the storylines and protagonists of the shows were identified bearing in mind the product offering and target audience. The project gathered pace as these daily soaps were used to map the entire consumer journey, from awareness to consideration to purchase.

The high-impact shows helped create immediate awareness, and our spatial demonstrations highlighted the product as the living embodiment of space, modularity and flexibility.

To create buzz through print – historically, the most powerful medium for the automobile category – we explored an industry-first format of integrating the masthead in leading dailies. For example, a flap on the front page of The Times of India newspaper made consumers read the masthead as ‘TRIBER of India’. Additionally, large format ads were splashed across the front pages of leading publications.

In 2020, what is that big trend that ought to concern or excite media agencies?

Precision marketing that allows brands to make better decisions, faster. Leveraging data to help brands play and interact with consumers throughout their journey is a reality and an expectation now. We do this through our Omni platform, which delivers a single view of the consumer that can be dynamically tracked and shared across all marketing practices.

In the context of media planning/buying, what's the one global practice/trend India will do well to catch up with fast?

Real-time, data-led planning and buying that delivers precision marketing for brands. Digital is standing its ground as digital-only campaigns are now more than just experiments; brands are being launched through digital-only efforts.

From a media spend perspective, which product groups do you suppose will be most affected by the economic slowdown that has crept up on us - and least?

We have seen it affect automobile and premium FMCG brands. However, we’re also seeing the value equation of products countering this trend. Advertising sufficiency allows for robust consumer sentiments.

And within that, what consumption trends are you seeing in rural versus urban markets?

Rural India is getting more ‘short-term’ – that is, we’re seeing smaller purchases that take place daily or weekly. Hence, more recency in advertising is the norm.

In the next 12 months, the solution to the digital ad fraud menace will come from...

... increasingly sophisticated technology and the skills to navigate it. Understanding the ecosystem while staying on top of the latest developments will enable the industry to mitigate this problem. It needs to be a collective effort – for the benefit of the entire trade, we should all come together to form a coalition and tackle this.

What kind of specialisation/talent is missing in media agencies today?

We, as an industry, are becoming a lot more data-focused and outcome-oriented. Therefore, we will see an increasing breadth of roles in this space as it continues to evolve.

I wish clients would...

... continue planning for the long term, while keeping an eye on the short term.

Note: This interview was conducted for the mid-March edition of our magazine afaqs!Reporter. It is a special issue dedicated to the top media planning and buying executives, who service some of India's largest advertisers. Market conditions have changed dramatically since this interview was first written and any apparent obsoletion therein must be seen in that context. To read/download all 31 interviews, please click here.