26 March 2020

How the pandemic quarantined brands too

The pandemic saw a sudden spike in news channel viewing and a surge of new viewers. Advertisers queued up to get the required GRPs (Gross Rating Point) in the shortest possible duration. The interesting thing that we witnessed was the decline in advertising revenue of the GECs (General Entertainment Channel). This was not because of the increased news viewing, but also since the actual shoots of a lot of soaps came to a grinding halt and channels were compelled to pull along with existing content.

GECs had 2 options in front of them:

  1. To run old soaps/ game shows as re-runs

  2. Switch to their stock of movies

    • STAR Vijay already had a second channel VIJAY SUPER that ran old programmes and movies.

    • SUN had KTV to run movies all 24 hrs

    • Zee launched Vellithirai for movies

While I was watching KTV , I noticed a considerable decrease in advertising but at the same time the spots have increased in the news channels, with numerous ad breaks.

What are the categories that were advertising?
(I really don’t have a reason for their advertising.)
Paints: Jenson & Nicholson, Berger, Nippon
Tiles: Anuj Tiles
Polycab : Wires
Hospitals: SRM
Insurance: LIC
Ecommerce: Flipkart (After they have announced that they will not deliver)
Online education: Byju’s
Luxury Cars: Mahindra, Jaguar, MG
Lifebuoy: Handwashing (social messaging)
*More from TN Market and its channels
From the above list one brand “Lifebuoy” would be my pick, as you feel good that the brand is empathising with you in the current season.
Why on earth will I think about a “Jaguar” when my basic existence is being questioned.

What Brands can do now?

  • Brands like J&J can advertise hygiene tips for babies

  • P&G can revive their “Share the Load” campaign

  • Whisper (from P&G) can talk about personal hygiene at times like these for women

  • Milk brands can talk about immunity

  • Lizol, Harpic, Sabeena, Dettol can preach a little bit more on the cleanliness part

  • Colgate, ORAL B can highlight on the need for brushing twice a day

  • Banks, Financial Institutions should come out and stress on the fact that their hard earned money will be safe and they should also try and provide some benefits to its customers like: Provision buying through credit cards on EMI, Loan interests to be down etc.,

  • Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar should discourage people from watching more ( this will mark a new beginning in their brand building path. More like Cigarrette smoking is injurious to health, Investments in Mutual funds is a subject matter of risk)

  • Amazon Kindle should encourage people to read

  • High potential for Green Tea / Health products

  • Yoga is a big opportunity for brands

I am sure Brand Managers must be having a tough time in recovering revenues, but this is the time for investment as there is a big boom awaiting. There are sectors that will see a slow growth such as Banks, Tourism, Airlines, Luxury, 4 wheelers, High End Real estate, Hotels, Jewellery, Events. But the rise will certainly be on FMCG, Online education, Online delivery, Health, Consumer Durables – Home making, in the coming years.

Subbu P

Vice President,
OTS Advertising