dentsu India Team

thought leadership

This column was originally published at FREE PRESS JOURNAL.

Some watch-outs for media planning and execution in the festive season

This is a column that reflects the thoughts and aspirations of young talent in the advertising industry. Read these workday musings from a young planner on festive campaigns

India is a land of festivals, where every occasion of any religion is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The festival season brings with it holidays, family get-togethers and a lot of joy. The widespread celebratory mood gives people reason enough to indulge in culinary delicacies and exciting shopping sprees. It is a fact that amidst festivities, people are willing to spend much more than they would on usual days. This directly translates into huge sales opportunities for advertisers, forcing brands to design their marketing strategies accordingly. And for these reasons, festive campaigns should not be looked at as tactical campaigns, but they should be more strategic in nature such that the brand’s festive activation is fulfilled while continuing to build its equity too.

The festive season provides an opportunity for brands to create a lasting emotional connection with their customers while also discovering new audiences. Festival is a big opportunity for advertisers to generate revenue, but at the same it is a huge challenge to reach out to your audience during this cluttered period. As ad volumes on each medium climb to the highest levels every year, advertisers face a wide range of challenges that must be dealt with appropriately, so that the festive media campaign is not impacted.


To deliver a successful festive campaign, brands must overcome a few challenges to stand out versus the competition, i.e., the festive time is always cluttered, so how will a brand get noticed? There will be an inventory crunch across mediums, so how will a brand deliver the desired reach in its target audience? While these three issues are inter-connected, there is still a way to deliver your festive campaign effectively.

Ad Clutter: As per industry observers, the festival period this year witnessed a 20-30% spike in ad volumes, as compared to the same quarter in 2021, and more than 20% new brands got active during the season. Categories like FMCG, automobile, e-commerce, BFSI, and gaming led the troops.

While we cannot control the number of advertisers that will get active during the festive season, what we can control is our brand’s festive campaign. For agencies, it is important to start discussions with brand teams and media teams on the festive campaign in order to get the brief as early as possible. A well-written brief can help pinpoint the exact objective for the brand, for which the media solutions can be laid out strategically and there is enough time to get the concept and the creative right.

Inventory Availability: After losing two festive seasons to COVID-led restrictions in 2020 and 2021, 2022 is seeing an uninhibited celebration of festivals, hence ad spends are likely to get double-digit boost as festive cheer returns. Additionally, all categories are activating their established brands during the festive season, leading to a shortage of media inventory.

A well-planned festive campaign can help secure inventory well in advance. Early approvals of media strategy and plans can help book the desired slots and if not eliminate, at least reduce chances of any last-minute setbacks. Concerns around inventory can be mitigated with the help of multimedia campaigns.

Creative Effectiveness: Last, but not the least, is the creative effectiveness. The brand communication must have a specific theme or a new message specifically catering to the festive buyer. Adding a certain depth and insight about the way a festival is celebrated, and intertwining the brand within that communication with the consumer at the centre, is the recipe for creative effectiveness. 

Measure your Results

To ensure that the festive season is not just a tactical element of your media calendar, do measure your campaign effectiveness to get more confidence and be more adept at delivering festive campaigns in future. Apart from the usual plan versus achieved metrics, do look out for brand lift studies, or check the quarterly brand imagery scores to attribute the festive campaign impact on the scores.

(Abhishek Tatkar is Director - Planning, Carat India)