For the advertising and marketing community, 2017 was a year when, thanks to demonetisation and GST, in brand strategist Harish Bijoor’s words, “even biscuits became items of selective consumption”. Both consumers and marketers spent cautiously. “FMCG companies bore the brunt of demonetisation, and durables, auto and literally every category got a sock in the gut,” says Bijoor.
In a ‘Crystal-Gazing’ press release, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO – South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, says the ad spend’s CAGR of 12 per cent over the last five years dipped due to demonetisation in late 2016 and its continuing impact this year. However, the 12 per cent CAGR will resume from 2018, he added.
Digital powers up
A clear trend was the boost in digital advertising. There was much digital output. Across agencies and brands, digital amplification was a major component of campaigns, observes Senthil Kumar, Chief Creative Office, JWT India. According to Zenith Optimedia, Internet advertising will account for 20.4 per cent (of projected ₹58,422 crore ad spend) compared with 11.6 per cent share of (₹53,918 crore) this year.
Living with disruption
Anil Nair, CEO & Managing Partner, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi, says, “Business is being disrupted by technology, of which digital is only a smaller part.” Traditional businesses are having to compete with rivals outside their categories for a share of the consumer’s wallet, especially in fintech and entertainment. Advertising’s challenge, as a business enabler, is to help traditional businesses and brands deal with these changes, he adds.
According to JWT’s Kumar, there was significantly more creative output in languages other than English and Hindi.
Talent crunch was the biggest challenge, Nair says. “The margins are gone. For the challenges thrown at us, we need talent of high calibre but clients are forcing us to take less and do more. Every other challenge is related to this,” he added.