Brands Latching onto Festivities to Communicate their Initiatives

The world, as we know, has entirely changed since last Dussehra. The pandemic has changed the way we live, think, and even celebrate. And, the brands and marketing leaders are hyper-aware of this seismic change.

Hence, festive campaigns this year are bound to reflect this change. The tone, tenor, and storytelling will be different, keeping in mind the general mood of the nation. It must be said that the festive season brings with it a whole lot of positivity, cheer, and merriment with it. And is a definite tailwind as far as trade and business in the country are concerned. Despite the current mood, after a prolonged economic slump, sectors such as retail, F&B, and even travel to some extent are reviving, all thanks to the festive season.

In fact, according to a recent survey, 54% of Indians are very positive and hopeful of the economy recovering completely by 2022.

Hence, on one hand, brands have to ensure that they make the most of the festive induced upturn in the economy. While on the other hand, they have a moral responsibility to ensure that they craft communication that is sensitive, appropriate, and purposeful during these times.

According to the Pitch Madison Advertising Mid-Year Report (PMAR) 2020, AdEx will recover by 60-72% in the second half of the year compared to the first half. The IPL has already resulted in a massive boost to TV advertising, as brands consume TV spots with festive centered communication. And given the usual clutter during the festive season, creating communication that would be truly memorable is the real task.

Categories such as fashion and lifestyle typically see a higher purchase intent during the festival period, which starts with Raksha Bandhan and ends with Christmas and New Year in India. The four-month period sees fashion brands acquire new customers while wooing their existing customer base with seasonal deals and offers and new product launches.

This year, the approach is pretty much the same, but the communication a little different. The Vighnaharta campaign done by Tanishq during Ganesh Chaturthi was a great example of a jewellery brand creating mood appropriate communication, very much in line with the brand’s communication strategy of evoking emotions. Through a compelling narrative, the brand told the story of a young woman who looked after senior citizens during the pandemic and was gifted a Ganesha pendant by them as a token of gratitude. Highly contextual and equally high on EQ, this campaign managed to break away from the festive clutter.

Fashion etailers and brands such as Ajio and Myntra have taken the celebrity route this festive season with Durga Puja centric campaigns featuring actress Aditi Rao Hydari (Ajio) and sibling duo of Saif Ali and Soha Ali Khan for Myntra. Appealing to the Bengali sentiment with a smattering of Bangla, these ads manage to spread a little festive joy and positivity – the two emotions that the audience is currently the most starved of.

Pantaloons’ Pujo Begins with You campaign is all about bringing Durga Pujo to your doorstep this year and rising to the occasion. It imparts an important message of staying indoors and prioritising safety while not compromising on the festive revelry.

However, the brand that truly made a mark with their brilliantly well-timed messaging this Dussehra is Welspun with their campaign #ChaloPaltai. A product as commonplace as a reversible bedsheet was integrated beautifully into a narrative that made a pertinent observation about the many rituals of Durga Puja – the complete absence of women. From the dhakis (drummers) to the idol makers and even purohits, there is no place for women in these professions that eventually work towards worshipping a female force – the Goddess Durga.

Through this campaign, Welspun imparted the message of gender equality and changing mindsets.

In his, address to the nation on October 20, 2020, the Prime Minister cautioned the nation against reckless behaviour during the festive season and urged citizens to be responsible towards themselves, their families, and communities as the festive season ensue.

Columbia Pacific Communities’ 9-day campaign #GoodOverCOVID, which was initiated on October 17 across our social media channels as a public interest campaign, echoes the same message. The message is simple – let goodness and good sense prevail and let that help us battle the virus this year. Through simple pearls of wisdom, it attempts to give people wise advice on how to soak in the festivities while maintaining COVID-19 protocols. The wisdom comes from our senior residents who are the most vulnerable demographic in the pandemic.

Whether it’s an initiative such as the one taken by Welspun or a more straight jacket product-centric communication, for brands this festive season, it’s all about staying contextual and sensitive, spreading a sense of hope, joy, and happiness, and attempting to revive some of the lost vigour.


About the Author

Piali Dasgupta is the Senior Vice President, Marketing at Columbia Pacific Communities. She is Multi-award winning marketing and communication leader with over 13 years of cross-category experience across e-commerce, retail and real estate.