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No swirling to the rhythm of Garba for brands this year

By Pray Jani - October 09, 2020

Even after receiving some relaxation from the government, Gujarat’s regional media owners are in no mood to participate in branding or promotional activities during this year’s Navratri festival

Highly dependent on festive season, Gujarat’s regional outdoor industry may have to compromise with revenue loss this year. Navratri festival may not be bustling with glittery branding and promotions as the media owners do not seem to be interested in promoting any initiative looking at market condition.

As per the standard operating procedures issued by the health ministry, events such as exhibitions, fairs, puja pandals, ramlila pandals, or concerts, and plays which are planned to last for many days or week should have adequate measures to ensure a cap on physical numbers. Staggered timings and restricted entry may be considered. However, Nitin Patel, Deputy CM of Gujarat indicated that commercial events like garba may not be allowed this year. 

Having licence to advertise at Gujarat’s biggest garba gathering, Pritesh Shah, Director of Sun Outdoors Advertising Agency, said, “There are only traditional outdoor formats available because party plots are not permitted to host garba. Although we see that inquiries are increasing as the Navratri festival is coming closer, we know that there will be very little activity this year. National brands will not appear as prominently as they are used to do.”

“Personally, we would like to avoid such activities because we do not want to become the cause of transmission of the disease. It is best if we follow the safety measures so that we all can soon come out of this,” Pritesh added.

Generally, fashion, beverages and media & entertainment categories have been the front- runners in creating mammoth advertising and taking branding initiatives at garba pandals.

Haris Zaidi, Associate Vice-President (West), Coral Media, explained, “It can be understood that many brands may not have financial strength to execute a 3-month campaign in a city like Mumbai. However, as we see today, campaigns remain live only for about a week to 10 days. This is as good as not running a campaign at all. OOH campaigns ideally rely on top-of-mind recall and brands need to realise that people do not leave their houses daily. So, this is not possible if they have seen the campaign only twice or thrice. About 90% of offices have resumed work in Mumbai, however, they operate only three days a week which gives a potential audience just three encounters with the ad in a week which is just not enough.”

Coral Media offers activation services which serve as a strong medium of engagement. However, with social distancing protocols, these activations are permitted only in the selected locations and to lesser audience which fail to get desired return on investments.

Media owners are starting to offer packaged deals that can bring high return on brands’ investments and an added revenue to them. Sun Outdoors Adverting offers OOH, radio and TV ads to their clients for a wider coverage opportunity. Similarly, Coral Media has a retail wing which continues to perform well even when the OOH activities go slow.

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