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January 12, 2022

Innovative, Trend-Setting Media Promotions – 2021

"It is not news when a dog bites a man, IT IS NEWS WHEN A MAN BITES A DOG". Originally from the field of journalism, this term has found tremendous traction in the field of marketing, especially in Product Promotions. Promoting products and services has become a headache in the highly fragmented world. The surfeit of media options is leading to overexposure, overstimulation, media fatigue, and Déjà vu. Getting eyeballs is very important, come what may!

Getting customer eyeballs is becoming increasingly expensive with the fragmented media and falling customer attention spans. Attention spans are down to 8 seconds! It has become increasingly difficult to get into the customer's mind! Discussed here are four innovative methods used to get attention from customers in 2021.

1. "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" campaign by GOI: Usually, it is assumed that media innovations are the prerogative of the private sector. But in this case, the innovation came from the government of India. The campaign was, "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav campaign".

As India celebrated its 74th Independence Day, the Honourable Prime Minister of India and GOI came up with a campaign called "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav". The theme was "Let us sing the national anthem together." At that time, COVID-19 was ravaging the country. The event had to have large participation, but at the same time, India could not afford large gatherings. We needed to respect the COVID norms of social distancing.

The solution was breathtakingly simple and absolutely breathtaking. An official website called was developed. Anyone interested in singing the Rastragaan (the national anthem) had to go to the website, get registered, sing the national anthem and record it with their mobile/laptop video.

To help them, the entire national anthem script was available in all the official Indian languages, and one simply had to sing the national anthem in the stipulated time. Once the recording was done, the national anthem had to be submitted.

The minute the song was submitted and accepted, a certificate of participation could be downloaded. All the submitted entries were played at the Red Fort on the 15th of August 2021. The best 100 entries were put up on the official website, (In reality, 262 were put up). The campaign was hugely successful and more than 1.5 crore Indians across the world participated.

2. Ola Scooters' "Friends, Indians, Countrymen, lend us your voice" campaign: After many years, a product category that has caught the imagination of the Indian public is the e-Scooters category, and the company that raked in attention on offer was Ola. 

Ola cashed in on the craze. In August, Ola sent e-mailers to all its customers (existing Ola users). The mail said, "Friends, Indians, Countrymen, lend us your voice".

Yes, the famous words from Mark Anthony’s speech! Written below was a pitch for Ola’s in-built AI-powered Voice Assistant. Ola requested voice samples from across age groups, genders, accents, and even pitches to be used for its Ola scooters.  A wonderful way to engage and keep connected with the present and prospective customers.

3. "Not just a Diwali Ad" Campaign by Cadbury: 2021 was no different from 2020. Covid-19 had the entire world, including India, in its vice-like grip. Everyone was suffering, and the worst hit were the informal sector workers, the small shop owners, and the petty dealers. Faced with little reserves and rapidly falling footfalls, their future looked bleak. The sales were down, and consequently, they had very little cash reserves to spend on advertising.

Cadbury stepped in with a brilliant campaign "Not just a Diwali ad’, which became one of the most talked-about campaigns during Diwali 2021.

Cadbury India gave an opportunity to small local businesses to "hire" one of India’s biggest brand ambassadors, Shahrukh Khan. In 2020, India had about 6.3 crore MSMEs and 12.8 million grocery retailers (source: It is impossible to cover all these stores in a single campaign as multiple locations, languages, and businesses pose insurmountable challenges.

Cadbury used Artificial Intelligence from Rephrase's Tech and deployed Machine Learning to recreate Shahrukh Khan’s voice and face to take the local store’s names in the advertisement. The different versions of the same advertisement with local store names were targeted as per the pin code of the viewer, showing only the nearby stores.

Any small or medium-sized businessman could visit Cadbury India’s website and create their own version of the advertisement and share it on their social media platforms. The local store owners were thrilled to have Shah Rukh Khan endorsing their products, brands, and stores. What a brilliant marketing ploy! Cadbury turned small and medium businessmen into being brand loyalists or even becoming its brand evangelists.

4.  "Cadbury’s Iconic Cricket advertisement (new)" Campaign: If you ask any media/advertising buff to name his or her favourite Indian advertisements, Cadbury's iconic cricket advertisement will undoubtedly be among the top five remembered and loved. Made in 1993, it tells a lovable story of a player hitting the last ball of a match for a six, winning the match and the heart of his girlfriend. It is heartening to think that the advertisement told the story in 60 seconds and it took the makers of Laagan, 3 hours and 40 minutes to tell the same story! Talk about the skill of telling a story in a minute!

But this time, there was a twist in the tail (tale)! Instead of a young man hitting the six, it is a young woman who does the honours. And in a gender twist, it is her boyfriend who dodges the security guard, runs onto the field, and does a no-holds-barred jig (dance). The advertisement was topical and celebrates women achievers in sports and in life. Way to go, Cadbury, 2 out of 4 trending and innovative campaigns were executed by you.




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