Impact - - FRONT PAGE - BY SIMRAN SABHERWAL & SAMARPITA BAN­ER­JEE with in­put from Di­pali Banka, Beryl Menezes and Christina Moniz

How tough is driv­ing e ec­tive­ness of an ad cam­paign in an era of de­creas­ing at­ten­tion spans and short for­mat ads?

Effectiveness - in short, how a com­pany’s mar­ket­ing cam­paigns achieve its busi­ness and brand ob­jec­tives - their end goal of ad­ver­tis­ing. Com­pa­nies spend huge monies to build in­ter­est about their brand and at­tract ac­tion from the tar­get au­di­ence. How­ever, with the chang­ing in­dus­try ecosys­tem and in­creas­ingly short at­ten­tion spans of the con­sumer, there are chal­lenges ga­lore in en­sur­ing effectiveness. We at­tempt to find out just what those chal­lenges are and how ad­men and mar­keters are tack­ling them.


What are the pa­ram­e­ters that make a cam­paign ef­fec­tive? Ac­cord­ing to Madi­son Me­dia Group CEO (Me­dia and OOH) Vikram Sakhuja, who is also Pres­i­dent of The Ad­ver­tis­ing Club and Chair­per­son of the Effie awards that hon­our effectiveness in ad­ver­tis­ing, “The four pil­lars of effectiveness are strat­egy, idea, ex­e­cu­tion and re­sults. At the Effies, we are find­ing that effectiveness in ad­ver­tis­ing is get­ting in­creas­ingly medium ag­nos­tic. Ac­cord­ingly, ideas are be­ing brought to scale in a re­mark­able num­ber of ways.”

It is im­per­a­tive to clearly lay down all the met­rics be­fore a cam­paign, says Rabe Iyer, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Mo­ti­va­tor. “There should be com­plete align­ment on what we are go­ing af­ter, and it should be clearly stated too. Effectiveness would be de­liv­er­ing on a set met­ric, ei­ther as ex­pected or be­yond. Ul­ti­mately, chang­ing be­hav­iours or in­creas­ing sales and aware­ness, help­ing peo­ple un­der­stand about a cer­tain fea­ture or a prod­uct bet­ter, are the met­rics,” he says.

So how dif­fi­cult is it for mar­keters to pro­mote their prod­ucts and drive effectiveness in the bar­gain?


Effectiveness can be mea­sured at three lev­els - Busi­ness out­come – i.e., sales, dis­tri­bu­tion, prof­itabil­ity, etc; Brand out­come – i.e., brand

aware­ness, brand pref­er­ence, brand lik­ing; etc., and Ac­tiv­ity mea­sures – i.e., GRPs, reach, etc. Typ­i­cally, when mak­ing a me­dia plan, the ac­tiv­ity mea­sures are in­tended to reach as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble in a spec­i­fied time pe­riod that will then re­sult in brand mea­sures, which in turn re­sult in busi­ness mea­sures. In this sce­nario, are sales fig­ures the best way to mea­sure effectiveness? “Yes,” says Sudip Ghose, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Sales, Mar­ket­ing and Ser­vices, VIP In­dus­tries, “A cam­paign is meant to sell prod­ucts and if the cam­paign is ef­fec­tive, sales will go up. That is the ul­ti­mate mea­sure of any cam­paign. Good cam­paigns are the ones which move the sales nee­dle and the brand salience and pref­er­ences. I haven’t come across a cam­paign which does all that and doesn’t show the re­sult in sales. For me, sales is the ul­ti­mate mea­sure of effectiveness of a cam­paign.”

Reit­er­at­ing the same point, Kaa­con Sethi, Chief Cor­po­rate Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer, Dainik Bhaskar

Group says, “For us, effectiveness is about how closely we can re­late a cam­paign to rev­enues. Every cam­paign has a dis­tinct task with a spe­cific ob­jec­tive; it could be to gen­er­ate leads, or to bring ‘x’ num­ber of peo­ple to a venue and you just mea­sure your­self against that. So, if you do a brand cam­paign, then you are ob­vi­ously measuring it against the pos­i­tive, the affin­ity that your brand is de­vel­op­ing with your reader base. Or if you are do­ing a tac­ti­cal cam­paign, then how many re­sponses did you get, what did you want them to do - it’s very clear, pre­cise, ROI-driven ob­jec­tives these days.”

One big chal­lenge is at­tri­bu­tion of ad­ver­tis­ing to effectiveness and iden­ti­fy­ing which medium is more ef­fec­tive. Says Shekhar Ban­er­jee, COO, Madi­son Me­dia, “If you are able to pin­point and ar­tic­u­late the ad­ver­tis­ing and the me­dia plat­form or touch­point that works more ef­fec­tively for the brand and for the task, you will be able to op­ti­mize your plan mix and there­fore de­liver more effectiveness. It’s more about do­ing the right at­tri­bu­tion, know­ing what is work­ing for your brand, and then re­work­ing your me­dia mix

ac­cord­ingly. That will give you bet­ter re­sults than think­ing that the over­all effectiveness has re­duced.”

Mo­gae Group Chair­man San­deep Goyal adds an­other di­men­sion to effectiveness - brand per­cep­tion. Goyal says, “Effectiveness in the mar­ket­place is cre­at­ing a brand dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion which will even­tu­ally cre­ate mar­ket suc­cess. Un­less you are seen and per­ceived to be dif­fer­ent, you will never be able to com­mand any­thing which is close to a pre­mium in the mar­ket­place. The first re­quire­ment of per­for­mance is vis­i­ble brand dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, pric­ing and the prod­uct can cre­ate that, and that can be the driver for per­for­mance.”


In an era when mar­keters are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing re­liant on data, is it the go-to tool to drive greater effectiveness? For mar­ket­ing vet­eran V Chan­dramouli, CEO (Spe­cial Projects), Pidilite In­dus­tries, mar­ket­ing is a com­bi­na­tion of art and sci­ence and if one were to only look at it as sci­ence, then it will not work. Chan­dramouli ex­plains, “The big­gest chal­lenge of effectiveness is to im­prove the art side of mar­ket­ing. The sci­ence side of mar­ket­ing, on a scale of 1 to 10, is at 9. The art side of mar­ket­ing on a scale of 1 to 10 is at 5 or 6, and this has to im­prove if we have to keep get­ting bet­ter as busi­nesses and as mar­keters. The con­sumer is not a sci­en­tific en­tity, and your ap­pre­ci­a­tion and your abil­ity to truly have that in­sight is im­por­tant to lead the con­sumer. That is the real chal­lenge. It’s not just cre­ative, it starts with busi­ness un­der­stand­ing.” Giv­ing the ex­am­ple of Dr Fixit – Pidilite’s water-proof­ing so­lu­tions busi­ness – Chan­dramouli says, “In our com­mu­ni­ca­tion for Dr Fixit, the great­est effectiveness chal­lenge is that the bulk of the ad­ver­tis­ing is aimed at peo­ple who are go­ing to con­struct a new house. How­ever, only one con­sumer out of 100 is prob­a­bly look­ing at con­struct­ing a house. A lot of me­dia is wasted be­cause I don’t have a mech­a­nism of reach­ing out to only those who con­struct their house. How do we get cre­ative then? That’s also an effectiveness chal­lenge.” This is a chal­lenge faced by many big ad­ver­tis­ers, span­ning Con­sumer Durables, Auto, Realty, etc. Once a con­sumer makes a big-ticket pur­chase, such as a car, it is un­likely that they will look at buy­ing

an­other car for an­other five to 10 years. In this case, what is the role of mar­ket­ing to this con­sumer in this pe­riod? This is also an effectiveness is­sue.


An­other hur­dle in driv­ing effectiveness is the di­min­ish­ing at­ten­tion span of the con­sumer and frag­men­ta­tion. Ac­cord­ing to Karthik Ra­man, Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer, IDBI Fed­eral, a big chal­lenge for mar­keters is the frag­mented en­vi­ron­ment, be it in the pro­lif­er­a­tion of brands in var­i­ous cat­e­gories, con­sumer in­ter­ests or the way they en­gage in those in­ter­ests. He says, “Ear­lier, you could ad­ver­tise on the net­works or spon­sor a few big sports or en­ter­tain­ment events and rest as­sured that your brand mes­sage was be­ing de­liv­ered. Now, you have dozens of me­dia av­enues with con­tent that draws pas­sion­ate fol­low­ers. The land­scape to­day is much more di­verse, and with so­cial me­dia im­pact,new trends and pas­sions are emerg­ing every day.”

For Ankur Agar­wal, Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, TTK Pres­tige, the chal­lenge to catch the mi­cro-sec­ond at­ten­tion in the clut­tered ad space and time avail­able, throws up in­ter­est­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. He says, “If we hap­pen to study con­sumer be­hav­iour closely, we would un­der­stand that ur­ban and ru­ral pop­u­la­tions in our coun­try con­sume com­mu­ni­ca­tion dif­fer­ently. There is a shift to con­tent mar­ket­ing to­day, which is lead­ing to cre­ation of in­no­va­tive and in­ter­est­ing prospects for mar­keters like us in the ur­ban mar­ket. In the ru­ral mar­kets, we still wit­ness high ad­ver­tis­ing con­sump­tion.”


Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strat­egy Of­fi­cer, Leo Bur­nett, South Asia has a con­trar­ian view. He says it’s a myth that con­sumers have short at­ten­tion spans. The fact that more and more peo­ple are in­creas­ingly binge-watch­ing con­tent shows proves that it is im­per­a­tive to tell an en­gag­ing story that cap­tures the viewer’s in­ter­est and talk about them rather than just talk­ing about your brand. Says Sinha, “Gone are the days when you could make a piece of ad, fill it with fea­tures and ben­e­fits and load it with huge me­dia money to build a brand. En­gage­ment and be­ing use­ful and mean­ing­ful to peo­ple in their lives, is what is be­com­ing im­por­tant. If you are en­gag­ing, at­ten­tion span is not an is­sue. That is the key fac­tor for effectiveness. Does your con­tent en­gage peo­ple? Is it some­thing that they want to watch, play and share?”

In ad­di­tion, en­sur­ing cus­tom­ized con­tent for the plat­form of de­liv­ery is a chal­lenge. “It fu­els a need to cre­ate cus­tom­ized con­tent for cus­tom au­di­ence sets based on the con­tent con­sump­tion pat­terns of the ve­hi­cle. It is not only the du­ra­tion but also the whole treat­ment of a con­tent piece which needs to be tai­lor-made for each chan­nel. In tra­di­tional me­dia, the shorter du­ra­tion works well for build­ing re­call and ur­gency. A fivesec­ond slot com­ing every five min­utes on Tele­vi­sion or Ra­dio gets etched in the con­sumer’s mem­ory to the point of it be­ing ei­ther ir­ri­tat­ing or hummed,” says Am­rith Gopinath, Brand Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor, Adi­das.


While the de­bate of short-for­mat and long-for­mat ads and which is more ef­fec­tive con­tin­ues, ex­perts say that both have their place in the sun. Ac­cord­ing to Sonal Dabral, Group Chief Cre­ative Of­fi­cer and Vice-Chair­man, Ogilvy In­dia, “The short ad for­mats while be­ing a chal­lenge are also a great op­por­tu­nity of telling sto­ries dif­fer­ently. It’s just a ques­tion of how you uti­lize that time cor­rectly, be it 60 sec­onds, 30 sec­onds or 5 sec­onds. As cre­ative peo­ple, it’s up to us that we use our in­tel­li­gence and cre­ativ­ity in a way that we make the best use of that, to de­liver the mes­sage in the most im­pact­ful man­ner.”

Tarun Jha, Head of Mar­ket­ing and Prod­uct, Skoda Auto In­dia, also says that short-for­mat ads and long for­mat ads both,

have their own pur­pose. “The short for­mat has snappy, short mes­sages. You can give one quick mes­sage and get out, but you still need the long for­mat if you have to es­tab­lish a story and make it more emo­tional. It’s dif­fi­cult to bring in the ‘emo­tional’ in short-for­mat. For ex­am­ple, our re­cent Ko­diaq com­mer­cial was long-for­mat be­cause we wanted to tell a long story that was hu­man and touch­ing,” Jha ex­plains.

DIG­I­TAL = ROI Look­ing at the Dig­i­tal medium, though it has mul­ti­ple met­rics – im­pres­sions, clicks, click to web­site, lead, con­ver­sion - when com­pared to Tele­vi­sion, the im­pact of an ad run on Dig­i­tal and its brand uptick is not fully de­vel­oped. How­ever, on a pos­i­tive note, Dig­i­tal has now started grow­ing into a reach fre­quency medium and with it, build­ing brand effectiveness and im­pact.

Tra­di­tion­ally, me­dia and cre­ative are separate func­tions; the cre­ative agency crafts the com­mu­ni­ca­tion while the me­dia agency puts out - even a bad ad some­times - on reach and fre­quency and blares it out to gen­er­ate aware­ness. It doesn’t work that way in Dig­i­tal. Ra­jiv Din­gra, Founder & CEO, WATCon­sult ex­plains, “In Dig­i­tal, the cre­ative and me­dia can­not be sep­a­rated; both need to be equally good for a cam­paign to work. If some­body came to me with the ad and asked what its effectiveness is, I would first look at whether the mes­sage is telling a com­pelling story. If it tells a com­pelling story, then there are a 100 ways to de­liver effectiveness. It re­ally de­pends on what’s the bud­get and what’s the over­all ob­jec­tive of ex­pos­ing that theme or that cre­ative. If the ob­jec­tive is aware­ness among a small group of peo­ple, it’s pos­si­ble through Dig­i­tal be­cause of tar­get­ing. If the ob­jec­tive is to reach a large au­di­ence, that’s also pos­si­ble to­day with Dig­i­tal.”

Ex­press­ing a con­trar­ian view on Dig­i­tal cre­ativ­ity, Raj Kam­ble, Founder and CCO, Fa­mous In­no­va­tions, says, “About 90% of the dig­i­tal com­pa­nies in this coun­try are me­dia buy­ing com­pa­nies. Show me one dig­i­tal com­pany in this coun­try that does only dig­i­tal ideas and not me­dia buy­ing. They are not cre­ative. If they want to sus­tain, they have to have good cre­ative peo­ple.”

While the jury is still out on what makes a cam­paign ef­fec­tive, one thing that ev­ery­one agrees on is the power of an idea; and a com­pelling and en­gag­ing one at that. Adding a to­tally new as­pect to the effectiveness de­bate, Prasoon Joshi, CEO & CCO of McCann-World­group In­dia & Chair­man McCann Asia Pa­cific ques­tions the way agen­cies, par­tic­u­larly spe­cial­ized agen­cies, work to­day. He be­lieves that for a cam­paign to be ef­fec­tive, it’s im­por­tant for cre­ative peo­ple to not work in si­los and rather con­stantly think about their brand. Joshi says, “Some­times we feel that ev­ery­thing should come out of a brief... No! A true agency is not look­ing and ask­ing for a brief and a true brand thinker will tell you what a brand should be do­ing. If you are not con­stantly think­ing about your brands, you won’t come up with ideas. We do op­er­ate like a a slot ma­chine where you put a brief in and an idea comes out. You should be con­stantly think­ing about your brand and how the brand fits into the lives of peo­ple. Then you don’t need a brief. In fact, some­times you could go to the client and tell them, why not do this?”

Sum­ming up the en­tire de­bate, Arun Iyer, Chair­man and Chief Cre­ative Of­fi­cer, Lowe Lin­tas, says that ev­ery­thing sim­ply boils down to one thing - keep­ing con­sumers en­gaged. “While there have been de­bates about whether the 6-8 sec­ond ads are ef­fec­tive, I be­lieve it has never re­ally been a con­ver­sa­tion about du­ra­tion. It has al­ways been a con­ver­sa­tion about qual­ity. If the qual­ity is good, you will en­gage peo­ple with what­ever time you have. If the qual­ity is not good, a six-sec­on­der or even a longer for­mat is a wasted ef­fort, be­cause there is noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant hap­pen­ing and you are not get­ting the re­quired at­ten­tion. It is not as the­o­ret­i­cal and math­e­mat­i­cal as it’s made out to be.”

The Nayi Soch cam­paign from Star Plus, crafted by Ogilvy & Mather In­dia

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