Onam is just two days away and one can see marketing muscle being flexed all across Kerala. Like most festive marketing blitzkriegs, Onam marketing fiesta too is led by consumer durables. However, jewellery, automobiles, two wheelers, clothing and FMCG too are determined not to miss the bus. E-tailers too have joined the bandwagon with special offers and gift cards.
Varghese Chandy, Chief General Manager Marketing & Ad Sales says, “Consumer durables and electronics, mobiles, jewellery, textiles, automobiles, Malls and retail etc focus on Onam for selling their goods. Consumer goods sell almost 40% to 50% of their goods during this period. Therefore it is a very important season for advertisers as well as media.”
The marketers, media owners and agencies are gung ho about the mood in the market. While brands are optimistic that brand sales would be higher, media is delighted to see brands trying to tempt the consumer through high decibel communication. Haresh Nayak, Regional Director, Posterscope Asia Pacific. & Managing Director, Posterscope Group India, “This year Onam looks bigger than last year. We are seeing at least 15% increase in the spends compared to the last year. The market as always is low on availability of quality media options. We are seeing good campaigns coming up in next 60 days largely from ecommerce, consumer durables, furnishings and lifestyle brands.”
Consumer durable companies are hoping to get good numbers this Onam as for them it is the biggest shopping window in Kerala. Talking specifically about his brand, Niladri Datta, Head Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics India says, “This year we are targeting sales of Rs 400 crore during the Onam period. To achieve this, we are offering special offers aimed at encouraging consumers to get the world’s first technologies. Further, LG is extending special finance and warranty options on Home Entertainment, Inverter Air Conditioners and Home Appliance products to aid consumers take advantage of the festive offers.”
Ramesh Chembath, Business Head (Kitchen Appliances), Usha International shares similar sentiment. He says, “Onam is a festival that gives us ample reason to celebrate with our much cherished customers in Kerala. In the past, we have received great response to our Onam specific consumer promotion offers. This year also we wanted to make the Onam shopping experience twice as nice for them, and thus we are rewarding our customers with assured complimentary gifts on every purchase.”
To give a couple more examples, while Godrej Interio has launched a new Onam range in the state along with the offer of free décor via ‘Upload and Transform’ contest on Social Media, Hyundai has a Scratch and Win on offer. In the online space Amazon, Snapdeal and Jabong among others have Onam specific offers. Brands are going for optimum media exposure to have a high share of voice and be able to send their message to the consumer loud and clear. Chembath says, “The Onam scheme for consumers would be promoted aggressively with intensive print, digital and below the line activities for which a complete 360 degree promotional plan is in place.”
LG too has similar plans, as stated by Datta, “Our communication strategy has revolved around exciting Onam offers on Print as well as on radio. We have our presence felt on television as well. In addition to ATL, we have also focused on our BTL elements and tried our best to give the festive and exciting in store experience to our consumers.”
Media owners are delighted with the client activity across platforms. Varghese Chandy explains that this year the shopping window is rather short but the brands are making the most of it. He explains, “Onam falls after 'Chingam' 1 in The Malayalam Calendar which is also the New Year. Chingam 1 this year was on August 17. Before Chingam it is the monsoon month. The day of the Onam varies and falls in August or September. Festivity normally starts from Chingam 1, i.e. August 17 and is extended till the actual Onam day. This year it falls on 28 August. This is also the festival related shopping window and therefore is restricted to 11 -14 days. So it is a short Onam. Having said that, Onam is the biggest festival in Kerala and the festivity is assuming its feverish pitch.”
As a result of increased competition and to make the most of the festive season, a number of brands choose to start advertising much before the real festive activities start. Objective is to get higher brand recall and be able to buy media at a reasonable price. Soumitra Bhattacharyya, CEO, Madison OOH opines, “Onam being one of the biggest festivals in Kerela, it is but obvious that all marketers would want to advertise during this period. Now everyone knows how difficult it is to get media during this time. Companies are, therefore, even breaking campaigns much before the date that they actually want to (around the time of Onam) so as to retain the good sites.”
Media industry is expecting a healthy growth this festive season starting from Onam festivities. Media inventories are full and consumer is busy making choices. How well a brand succeeds in riding on the consumers’ buoyant mood would decide how well it does this festive season.