Home // Cover Story



Share It

There are certain things that define an Indian summer; mangoes, an ice ‘gola’ by the beachside, summer holidays at a hill station or just a cool glass of buttermilk. Our summer months are typically replete with memories of at least one of these things, if not more. Over the years, summers have become synonymous with the season for cricket, thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL) frenzy. In many ways, the summer of 2019 has been no ordinary season. While most of us were looking for ways to escape the searing temperatures, a huge majority of brands recognised this as a season of big opportunity! From the IPL and the general elections to the ICC World Cup and the release of big entertainers such as Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones, this year’s summer gave brands many reasons to cheer.

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia of Dentsu Aegis Network puts the ad spends by brands between the months of April and May this year in the region of Rs 10,000-Rs 11,000 crore. “Summer marketing spends have increased by about 10% over last year. This year, the IPL is almost instantaneously being followed by the World Cup so I expect that the brands who have a summer theme campaign to run will probably be also considering cricket in a big way,” he says. While the summer season typically entails an increase in spends among certain categories like cold beverages, travel and electronics, Indian summers can no longer be viewed in isolation. Pointing out the importance of media properties, Shekhar Banerjee, Head (West), Wavemaker India explains, “While there are categories that still leverage the summer weather like beverages and fashion, there are also brands targeting kids on vacation. The largest trend is brand advertising led by media properties such as the IPL during summer. These three merge to make summer the most important quarter of the year.” Here’s a look at how brands from categories such as food & beverages, travel, electronics, retail, lifestyle and entertainment pushed the marketing envelope during the summer of 2019.

Advertising spends in the months of April and May 2019 would roughly have been in the region of Rs 10,000 to Rs 11,000 crore. Summer marketing spends overall have increased about 10% over last year, with cricket playing a key role in the advertising strategy of most brands.

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia of Dentsu Aegis Network

There was a time when every summer meant endless visuals of colas and ice-cream sticks. The past few years have seen a few changes in the way food and beverage manufacturers have ramped up their portfolio of cool products. One such manufacturer is Parle Agro, with campaigns for Frooti and Appy Fizz in full throttle to grab consumer mindshare. Nadia Chauhan, Joint MD & CMO, Parle Agro, says, “We kick-started our summer campaigns for Appy Fizz and Frooti in March, and are following a 360-degree approach with strong reflections on TV, Digital, OOH and Print. With aggressive strategies across our sales and distribution system, pricing and packaging too are playing a big role for the brand this summer.” Parle Agro has signed on actor Allu Arjun for Frooti in the South and Junior NTR as ambassador for Appy Fizz in the south region making its commitment to the market very clear. The summer of 2019 demonstrates a maturing of the juice category, as consumers have become discerning. Brands are now experimenting with local flavours and launching products with greater health benefits and lower sugar content. This can be seen from Coca-Cola’s recent launch of three fruit-based drinks under the Minute Maid label as well as from the ramping up of PepsiCo’s Tropicana Slice portfolio with local flavours. Meanwhile, Mayank Kumar, Head of Marketing- Foods, Dabur India, says that the brand has expanded the Real Juice portfolio this summer with the addition of the new masala range. “Post the successful test launch of Masala Guava and Masala Pomegranate, the masala range is being further strengthened with the addition of two new variants, Masala Mixed Fruit and Masala Aam Panna,” Kumar says. In the light of new launches and increased demand, the company is spending most of its budget on TV this summer, supplemented by increased spends on Digital. Another brand that has had a series of product launches this summer is dairy giant Amul. The company will focus on three key product lines – ice-creams, beverages and fermented offerings like buttermilk and curd. RS Sodhi, Managing Director, Amul says, “The season has begun very well for us with the month of April being much hotter than last year. Overall, we have already seen a good 18-20% volume growth. From our annual advertising budget, we use about 40-50% of our spends in the months of April, May and June.” Amul has also joined hands with the Afghanistan cricket team as the principal sponsor for the ICC World Cup. Sodhi explains that the rationale behind this partnership is the need to reach out to its target audience, especially the youth. “With cricket being such a craze in the subcontinent and the ICC World Cup being the biggest event the sport sees, we wanted to seize the opportunity to associate with the tournament,” he adds.

The season has begun very well for us with the month of April being much hotter than last year. Overall, we have already seen a good 18-20% volume growth. From our annual advertising budget, we use about 40-50% of our spends in the months of April, May and June.

RS SODHI, Managing Director, Amul


• Parle Agro – Region-specific marketing; launch of Rs 10 Appy Fizz pack; signing on Junior NTR and Allu Arjun for Appy Fizz and Frooti respectively, targeting the South market

• Kingfisher – Leveraged new non-alcoholic beverage launch Kingfisher Radler during the IPL, both on TV and Hotstar

• Amul – Clear focus on ice-creams, beverages and fermented offerings like buttermilk and curd this summer; has signed on as principal sponsor for the Afghanistan cricket team during the upcoming ICC World Cup

• Dabur – Launch of new ‘masala’ range of flavours and Real Mix berries juice variant; advertising focus on TV and Digital

• Coca-Cola – Launched three fruit-based drinks under the Minute Maid portfolio with a clear South market focus

• PepsiCo – Ramped up its Tropicana Slice portfolio with local drinks and new flavours; released the Swag campaign to woo millennials

• Baskin Robbins – went live on national television in India after nearly two decades during the IPL; gave its stores a fresh fruit makeover

• Havmor – Allocated up to 7% of turnover towards summer marketing in order to reach the Number 3 position by the end of the season

There are two things every summer brings to the Indian advertising industry - the dual focus of traditionally summer season-focused brands and the Indian Premier League (IPL). This time around, the elections and the release of big entertainers like Avengers: Endgame have made the season even more interesting, believes Varun Duggirala, Co-Founder & Content Chief, The Glitch. “Summer campaigns used to have a massive share of FMCG companies focussed on the weather, but that share has definitely gone down with other categories like tech and e-commerce taking a large chunk of the pie. The campaigns that really stood out for me were the ‘Don't spoil the endgame’ one for Avengers: Endgame and Hotstar’s campaign for Game of Thrones,” he says. One brand that leveraged the Game of Thrones hype in a big way is Fastrack. “The biggest talking point across the globe this summer was Game of Thrones. We were the official merchandise partner and have introduced a range of products for the fans - watches, bags and sunglasses,” says Ayushman Chiranewala, Marketing Head, Fastrack, Titan Company Limited. He adds that the brand is taking an aggressive stance this summer with 20% of its annual marketing budget devoted to this season’s initiatives. Additionally, with its association with the IPL and big collections set to release, Chiranewala says that Fastrack is aiming for double-digit growth this season.

We started seeing the ad spends increase from the month of March itself on the back of elections and the IPL. The adex growth on TV for March has been almost 25-30% over Jan-Feb. April had also been substantially higher than March.

Vaishali Verma, CEO, Initiative

Apparel brands spent 20% of their annual marketing budget this summer


• Fastrack – Introduced the Game of Thrones range of watches, bags and sunglasses

• Pantaloons – Released summer-themed clothing collection campaign in cinemas along with Avengers: Endgame release

• Bata – Rolled out the ‘Ja Ungli Dikha’ campaign during the elections, giving voters a 10% discount on purchases

• Max Fashion – Held the eighth edition of the Max Kids Festival in stores this summer; also released an Avengers collection

• fbb – IPL association for the third season in a row, also associated with the Miss India 2019 property as title sponsor

• Shoppers’ Stop – released the ‘It’s Our Time’ campaign with a core message of women’s empowerment; leveraged special days like Mothers’ Day this season

Soaring temperatures definitely spell good news for the country’s electronics players. Categories like air-conditioners and refrigerators look set to witness a healthy, double-digit growth boosted by increased consumption from Tier I and Tier II cities. For most brands of course, the media selection is largely dependent on category and objective. The impact of properties like IPL mean that despite the growing spends on Digital platforms, TV continues to get the highest share of the ad spends pie. For Godrej Appliances, which launched a slew of 38 new AC models and a new refrigerator, the Godrej Edge Duo, TV continues to be the dominant medium. “However, the increasing penetration of Internet and smartphones is a trend here to stay and in a category like ACs where the product research trend is playing a big role, Digital is the key medium apart from ground presence,” says Swati Rathi, Marketing Head - Godrej Appliances, adding that the brand is looking at a 25% growth this summer.

Air conditioners and soft drinks are expected to devote more than 80% of their spends during the summer, while other categories like educational institutes, travel, tourism and smartphones use about 50% of their budgets during this season.

Mohit Joshi, Managing Director, Havas Media India

Consumer durables brands spent 20% to 40% of their annual marketing budget this summer


• Crompton Greaves: Rolled out 360-degree campaign for new product launches with a larger focus on TV

• Haier: Predominant focus on TV in the light of properties like the IPL and the World Cup

• Lloyd: Signed on power couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh for its latest range of ACs

• Godrej Appliances: Targeting 25% growth this summer with 38 new AC launches and Digital as a key medium

• Croma: Introduced consumer loyalty programme ‘Croma Privileges’ allowing customers to avail benefits like upgrade bonus on purchase of inverter ACs, e-waste disposal for non-functional ACs, etc.

• Livpure: Made entry into AC category for the first time with smart ACs equipped with Wi-Fi, Internet of Things module, embedded with AI

• Orient Electric: Signed on MS Dhoni for new summer campaign

You really cannot get through the scorching summer sun without a trusted sun block cream, can you? It’s no wonder then that beauty and personal care brands are definitely bringing out their best summer game in the frenzy to grab consumer eyeballs and market share.

We peg spends in April and May at over Rs 10,000 to 11,000 crores, especially on the back of special events like IPL and elections, potentially leading to 10% higher spends in these two months than the annual monthly average..

Anand Chakravarthy, MD India, Essence

Skincare and deodorant brands spent 40% to 50% of their annual marketing budget this summer


• Emami – Launched Navratna Cool’s ‘He Magic Deo’ roping in Varun Dhawan. Association with IPL 2019 for Fair and Handsome

• Marico – Launch of Parachute Advansed Coconut Crème Oil campaign

• Wild Stone – Riding high on millennial connect through the #JustFriendsNoMore campaign

• Bajaj Consumer Care – campaigns for Bajaj Cool Almond Drops hair oil and NoMarks Ayurvedic sunscreen; to grow market-share in hair oil and sunscreen market

• Nivea – Launched the ‘healthy skin series’ on diverse platforms to leverage Nivea’s skin expertise

What’s a summer without a summer holiday? As the mercury rises, brands in the travel and entertainment space are also seizing the opportunity to offer consumers new travel and entertainment offerings. A case in point is SOTC’s latest Customised Holiday launch that offers Indian customers flexibility while on holiday. Talking about the brand’s approach for marketing this summer, Asif Riaz, AVP & Head Marketing, SOTC Travel Ltd explains, “Our marketing spends are skewed for summer travel, owing to the longer duration of summer holidays for children. That said, we are also focussing on promoting a 12-month holiday calendar targeting varied segments of travellers like DINKS (Double Income No Kids), senior citizens and others.” Digital has emerged as the key platform for brands to talk to consumers today as travellers plan their itineraries at the click of a button. Pointing out that consumers today are spending a lot more on leisure-related products like travel, Chandni Shah, Co-founder and COO, Social Kinnect says, “With kids out of school for the summer and people planning their vacations, budgets and expenditures are naturally higher. Brands should allocate and plan for their marketing budgets in proportion to this.” Since vacation planning for summer travellers begins around the months of January and continues till March, some brands invest around 40% of their annual budget on marketing initiatives within this period. One such example is Thomas Cook. The brand has rolled out a variety of campaigns throughout the first half of the year, including the ‘Grand India Holiday Carnival’ and the 'Ghar Jao Vote Karo' campaign encouraging people to vote. Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head - Marketing, Service Quality, Value Added Services & Innovation, Thomas Cook, says, “About 60-65% of our budget (cumulatively) is invested before the conclusion of the first half of the year (H1 period). This summer, we have aligned about 50% of our total budgets on digital platforms, followed by 40% on Print and 10% on BTL activations.” Another massive opportunity comes from the e-commerce sector, especially in hotel bookings. There is no one-size-fits-all for travel bookings, which is where e-commerce comes in with options that can be tailored for various consumer preferences. MakeMyTrip launched its summer campaign in the month of March, featuring actors Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. Saujanya Shrivastava, Group CMO, MakeMyTrip, explains the rationale behind the campaign. “We launched the campaign with an aim to showcase reliability of booking hotels online for business or family travel on MakeMyTrip. As India’s one-stop-travel-shop we have incredible insights on what elevates the hotel booking and stay experience for travellers,” he says. Likewise, other e-commerce players like Yatra and ezeego1 also leveraged the election season to encourage people to head home to vote.

We have seen a swing in political spends and beverages categories. The summer spends indicate that there has been a significant amount of activity surrounding elections and IPL, thanks to which, the channel innovations are focused on digital platforms, shorter edits, smarter dominance of spaces in Print, and the OTT advertising in the Digital space has also bought about new elements.

Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD India

In the Travel sector, brands are spending 40-50% of their annual ad budget for summer marketing


• MakeMyTrip – Launched Knock-knock, travel game show series aimed at customer engagement through travel bids, deals, rewards and games

• VIP – Revamped the brand with a ‘Hello Holidays’ philosophy and tied up with Kings XI Punjab during the last season of the IPL

• American Tourister – Rolled out the Access to the World campaign with Virat Kohli to leverage the upcoming World Cup

• SOTC - Launched ‘SOTC On The Go’ customised holidays, introduced VR-enabled Customer Experience Zones at select SOTC outlets

• Thomas Cook India - Launched experiential regional tours and Grand India Holiday Carnival this summer

• Sony YAY! – Added 100 hours of summer programming, featuring 109 new episodes and 13 movies in seven languages

• Hungama – Hungama Play rolled out a wide content library of 5,000 films, and original content shows

• Nickelodeon – Launched its 8th IP ‘Golmaal Jr’ for Sonic; to roll out over 200 hours of content for this financial year

Share It

Tags : Cover Story