By Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos India, and Operations Director, APAC, Ipsos
India is evolving at a frenetic pace. It began with Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Daughter’s Day. These dedicated days appealed to Indian sensibilities as they became conduits for expressing feelings. Marketers eased it for Indians and raked in the moolah, too. Are such concepts becoming large marketing opportunities?
Black Friday to Comic Con
Black Friday comes a day after Thanksgiving, falling on the fourth Thursday of November. In India, Black Friday had a soft launch three years ago, when Amazon India came up with deals for online shoppers. Two years ago, Black Friday extended from online to brick-and-mortar stores, and brands capitalised on the opportunity. But now, it’s no longer a 24-hour sprint, but a multi-day international marathon.
Black Friday offers have come from a multitude of brands — high street brands like Vero Moda and Only, smartphone companies like Xiaomi, Sony and Honor, beauty brands like Body Shop, Kiehl’s and Nykaa — infusing much joy among shoppers.
The country’s largest pop culture event, Comic Con India, celebrates comics, TV shows and video games. Though niche, it has been a marketing success story among urban, nerdy youngsters. Apart from global franchises of Marvel, Amazon, Star Wars and Hasbro that have big monies riding on them, consumer brands like Mountain Dew, Vodafone and Maruti Suzuki have also been engaging audiences with brand activations.
Maruti Suzuki Arena, which has been locked in as the title sponsor till 2020, set up a performance packed circuit to enable visitors to test their speed, stamina and endurance in demanding scenarios. Vodafone and Mountain Dew had put up selfie points for visitors. And uploading their photos on social media platforms using the official hashtags of Vodafone and Mountain Dew fetched them freebies and merchandise, amplifying the buzz manifold. Meanwhile, Keventers had cosplayers dress up as the Keventers bottle for publicity and consumer pull.
AXN, Amazon Prime Video and Hot Wheels had created fan experience zones. Some of the other biggies that participated were TVS, Uber Eats, Red Bull, Paytm and Swatch. Given that there are over 1,200 exhibitors, the Comic Con has demonstrated that built-in fan following is not necessary for impactful audience engagement. For attendees to have prior interest in your brand is also not necessary.
Since its inception in 2011, with one event in Delhi attended by 5,000 people, it has scaled up to over two lakh visitors cumulatively in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Halloween has caught on in India. Apart from theme parties with scary monikers of Ursula, Maleficent, vampire and ghost busters at some of the restaurants, consumer brands like Yatra, Mother Dairy, Starbucks, KitKat, Lotus, Motorola and others have been going ballistic with spooky, witty and gripping Halloween creatives.
Lifestyle Stores’ Halloween creative on social media with lipsticks in hues of red tied in with the theme generated consumer pull. Likewise, Netflix and Practo came up with highly engaging social media campaigns. Uber Eats’ engaging creative, ‘Fear does not make our stomachs rumble, hunger does!’ amused the audience.
Restricted to the top six to eight metros, these events provide an opportunity to connect with a globally aligned, mobile generation of Indians who have deep pockets, fine taste and are more open to newer experiences. Other concepts such as art fairs, literary fairs, food fests, mall festivals, too, are catching up.
What’s next? Night bazaars?