2013 witnessed the true potential of digital video advertiseing in India with many online campaigns launched through the year. Advertisers are gradually following the trend of releasing ads on YouTube first and then broadcasting them on television channels.
The Indian online landscape has been growing at a rapid rate. According to a comScore report, 54 million Internet users in India watched online videos on their computers in 2013, up 27% over 2012. The comScore Video Metrix report also states that total online video consumption has doubled in the past two years to 3.7 billion videos per month in India. The boom is mainly because of easy broadband availability and the smartphone revolution.
This sort of a growing Internet user base is making brand managers and creative agencies realise the true potential of the web, according to Nikihil Pahwa, founder of digital media company Medianama. “Digital ads create a level of brand engagement that is not possible through TV alone,” says Pahwa. “On the Internet, people don’t just watch ads, they like them, comment on them, share them with friends and in some cases, even remake them. Besides, collating data in terms of hits, comments, likes and shares is possible on the online medium whereas offline, one cannot even be certain that an ad has been viewed.”
In February, Unilever released one of its most emotional ads for its Lifebuoy soap. In the three-minute film, created by Lowe Lintas and exclusively released on YouTube and Facebook, protagonist Gondappa ‘hand walks’ a long trail to reach the temple in Thesgora to pray for a long life for his child. The ad has received 1.6 million views thus far, and ranks high in the annals of India’s viral ads.
“It pulls on three very receptive strings in humans — emotions, superstitions and babies,” says Sandeep Dighe, brand strategist at FutureBrand. “The ad performed strongly particularly because of its creative content. It elicited from its target audience the intense emotional responses of warmth, empathy and knowledge — one of the key factors behind a video’s sharing success. A video really soars when consumers don’t just watch it on YouTube, but also share it with their friends. That’s why good content is a key starting point.”
Among the many ads that went viral this year were the KitKat humorous babies ad, the iconic Ramesh and Suresh Cadbury 5 Star ad and the recent Old Spice ad starring Milind Soman. The digital ad that left the biggest impact, however, was the Google Reunion ad — a highly emotive film about Google services reuniting friends separated by the 1947 India-Pakistan partition.
Slightly over 3.5 minutes long, the ad was released on YouTube and became an instant hit, crossing 10 million hits within days of going viral, a testament to the fact that Indian digital ads are here to stay.