As production shuts down in most parts of the country and the Covid crisis shows few signs of slowing down, brands are becoming conscious of their spending. In such a situation, some brands are likely to reuse last year’s Covid campaigns, although experts advise against doing so, saying it could appear unresponsive and affect agency business as well.
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Rohit Ohri, Chairman and CEO of FCB India Group, said they have yet to see their customers redirect communication. He said, however, that a few brands might be oblivious to the reuse of last year’s campaigns and might end up looking deaf.
âThe first and second waves of Covid are different in scale and magnitude. In the first wave, the feeling was around irritation and impatience. In the second wave, there is a deep sense of loss, hopelessness and grief. Consumers experience a different level of emotional stress. Honestly, there is no comparison between the two waves.
Instead of worrying about communication and marketing, brands need to focus on what they can actually do to help humanity, he said.
âFor example, our customer Domino’s uses their delivery infrastructure to help fill oxygen cylinders. Even brands like Amul and Unilever are focused on ways to help the community. Another client, ITC, has done a great job on the ground converting large public spaces into hospitals, âhe added.
Dheeraj Sinha, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, South Asia, Leo Burnett, said people affected by the crisis are not looking for positivity in the situation and brands that broadcast messages for fun could be called on. âCurrently, the situation on the ground is so grim that the question of whether TV commercials are Covid-sensitive or not, is a very short-sighted conversation. People affected by the crisis are not looking for platitudes of positivity and brands that broadcast symbolic messages will be called upon. However, that doesn’t mean the advertising will stop. Brands that need it will continue to advertise as the consumer economy continues to operate. But brands have a bigger role to play in this situation where the public system has failed. Brands need to reach out to people on the ground and work in ways that make a real difference in their lives. “
Mithila Saraf, business manager, Famous Innovations, said they are constantly working with information relevant to their brands, keeping an eye on the ground and finding ways to actually help rather than just sending superficial advertising. âWhat we learned from the last year is that content production continues even without filming. We continue to use new ways to keep content up to date. “
âThe situation and consumer sentiment this year are completely different from last year. Brands need to be a hundred times more careful, empathetic and authentic in their communication during such sensitive times. It would be very deaf if brands reused last year’s communication, âshe said.
According to Nagessh Pannaswami, director of Curry Nation, there will certainly be an impact on agencies if brands repurpose their campaigns. âEveryone is doing new work that’s specific to what’s going on today. I am not aware of what is going on with the other agencies. But if this (reuse) happens, there will definitely be an impact. But I have a feeling that even if it does, it will happen with large scale projects such as new campaigns that require large production, filming, etc. These are the places where brands can think about reusing or editing last year’s work. no need to put a lot of money. “
He said that with the holiday season quickly approaching with the advent of Ganesh Chaturthi, customers will want to do new jobs.