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These are uncertain times. Even though trouble was brewing in the name of COVID-19 across the world for some time, when it hit India, the marketing industry started spiralling out of control.

For most others, it hit where it hurts the most. Ankit Mehrotra, Co-Founder & CEO, Dineout says, “All industries across the globe are severely hit, and none more so than the Travel and Hospitality industry as it thrives on social gatherings. We have initiated a petition with change.org to appeal the Finance Ministry to immediately introduce employee  unemployment pay covers for the restaurant industry so that no one has to worry about their salaries in times of need. Despite the conflict of interest, we are promoting that social distancing and self-quarantine is the need of the hour to flatten the curve.” Their social initiative ‘Dineout Later. Stay Home Now’ was curated in-house by the core marketing team.

We have education videos on 180+ features on our mobile app which helps you do most of your banking services from home.” The bank is putting out creatives to spread the message of BFH through its social media handles. These were made by their social agency, Tonic Worldwide. Talking about whether it has been difficult for the brand to communicate in times of COVID-19, Venkataraman says, “All our agencies are delivering just fine so far. We work with Cartwheel on ATL and Tonic on Social and a few other agencies on BTL and all of them are able to respond and deliver.

On one hand, India’s FMCG majors like HUL and ITC are ramping up production to meet the increasing demand as people panic and hoard goods, while on the other, brands like Coca Cola have suspended production at their manufacturing facilities. Similarly auto-makers like FCA and many consumer electronic firms and smartphone companies have ordered shutdowns, along with cab aggregators like Uber and Ola. Uber says its goal right now is to flatten the curve and at places like Bangalore, it has partnerships with the Government to ferry the local health authorities. The brand, known for its moment marketing campaigns, is not expected to come up with one this time.

Mansoor Ali, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Hamdard says, “Advertising spends have been retracted by most brands except for essential categories. Firstly, advertising is a function of distribution, and points of sale being available. With most sales channels i.e. retail, e-commerce being closed, the walk-ins have diminished. The consumers who do walk in or order are those for essentials. In such a scenario, big spend advertising is not a logical thing to do.”

Another marketer we spoke to says as much as 60% of the planned spends have been slashed for the April-June period.  Especially traditional mediums have taken a hit like TV, Radio and Print, where spends have largely slowed down. Digital engagement continues, however, with disruption in e-commerce supply chains.

Advertising on e-commerce channels, as well as overall advertising will get impacted. A consumer electronics brand head, on condition of anonymity, said that they have reduced their spends on TV by as much as 90%, while completely halting spends on Radio and Print. But engagement on digital mediums continue.

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Tags : marketing Neeta Nair Kotak Mahindra COVID-19 shutdown