KOLKATA/ MUMBAI:Leading brands in grocery, home, personal care, smartphone, electronics and some brick-and-mortar retailers are gearing up to resume spending on advertisements that they have halted during the lockdown. They are now waiting for malls to reopen and restrictions on retail store timings to be eased.
Some early shoots of revival are already visible, marketers said. For fast moving consumer goods companies, the spending will be on categories which are in demand, like packaged food, immunity boosters and health and hygiene products. Electronics and smartphone makers will promote new launches as well as consumer offers to liquidate stocks. But a major boost to ad spending will happen only around the festive season, they said.
ITC NSE 1.29 % said it has been ramping up advertising of essential foods brands in categories like atta, noodles, biscuits, juices and hygiene products across all platforms since last month, and that it will soon touch pre-Covid levels. “This (advertising) is expected to increase further as things start normalising and consumption demand gets a further boost,” a spokesperson at the FMCG-to-hotels group said.
Frontline FMCG firms like Dabur, Marico, Godrej and Amul too are set to increase ad spending, having launched more than three dozen new products among them in the past two months.
Vivo has started a campaign for its new smartphone across media, including outdoor and television. LG India and Sony said they are readying media campaigns, as they have started witnessing pent-up demand.
India’s largest smartphone brand, Xiaomi, said it has not cut its marketing budget and has already started spending with several new product launches.
"The share of voice is very important and consumer companies fear market share loss if they don't invest on advertising,” IPG Mediabrands India chief executive Shashi Sinha said. “We expect about 80% of the FMCG firms to bring back their advertising spends at pre-Covid levels after their distribution reach normal levels," he added.
It is critical to have a top of the mind recall and investing on advertising is more important now than earlier, as consumers are buying whatever they can find on the shelves, said B Krishna Rao, the category head at India’s largest foods company, Parle Products. "We will spend aggressively on advertising which will help us stay relevant and take advantage of a situation when rivals could lower their marketing spends to save costs," he added.
Marico’s chief marketing officer, Koshy George, said his company will be selective on advertising and promotional spending during this time. It will rationalise spending on discretionary segments while reallocating budget from non-media to media channels in the near-term, he said, adding: “This is primarily to drive the share of voice in the core."
Godrej Consumer Products CEO (India & Saarc) Sunil Kataria said new developing categories like hygiene will require more investments to ensure habit creation among consumers.
Most apparel and electronics retail chains are waiting for a majority of their stores to reopen to resume advertising. In foods and grocery, however, companies have started advertising as they aim to entice consumers back, with the massive surge in orders in the early days of the lockdown easing out as consumers stop pantry hoarding.
Devendra Chawla, the managing director of hyper and supermarket chains Spencer’s Retail and Nature’s Baskets, said the focus of advertisement was on digital, but it would change now. “Promotion in mass media will support in generating more demand, draw more footfalls and online orders as well,” he said.
“We have big plans to revive spending similar to pre-Covid levels to energise consumer sentiments and increase business,” Mumbai-based Kohinoor’s director, Vishal Mewani, said.
Even ecommerce companies including Flipkart and Amazon may restart their advertising campaigns once the sales events return, even as they have restarted digital ads. “As business gets back to normal, spending will also return,” said an executive of one of the marketplaces. Emails sent to the companies seeking comment remained unanswered till press time Wednesday.
Arvind Fashions, which manages more than a dozen fashion brands like Sephora, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Arrow, has started digital ads but is on a wait-and-watch mode for malls to reopen before considering mass media promotions, CEO J Suresh said.
Marketers said the main boost to spending will come during the festive season when they expect consumer sentiment to recover significantly. IPG Mediabrands’s Sinha said sectors like auto will see higher spending around then.
May 27, 2020