Raahil Chopra
Nov 15, 2016

Are 'feel good’ festive ads failing to cut through?

With sentimental and emotional triggers becoming ubiquitous, differentiation is a challenge, say adlanders

From the 2010 Cadbury Celebrations Diwali film
From the 2010 Cadbury Celebrations Diwali film
The peak festive season in India has just passed by, and we have seen a lot of advertising around it as we do every year. And, most campaigns played on the ‘feel good’ factor – do good, feel good, et al.

This isn't unique to festive ads in India, reminds Thinkstr’s Satbir Singh. Whether it is Eid in Muslim countries, Christmas in the Western world or Diwali in India, festivities and 'feel good' make a good pair. “It is kind of a given with festive advertising the world over,” says Singh.
He adds, “Everyone in the end wants to sell stuff. However there’s a general feel good factor in life when it comes to festivals. It’s about gifting, doing up houses, buying new houses and the likes. Advertising reflects that mood. Having said that, people advertise to sell something. You cannot in this general feel good atmosphere come across as a sales person, so you level it with heavy messages. There’s an overkill, yes. But there’s nothing wrong in talking feel good.”
He contends though that while doing so, brands should have a differentiated tone of voice. “If there’s no easily identifiable tone of voice, it’ll end up sounding like other brands saying the same. Which is what we’re seeing this year. When they deliver s a similar message, so they look the same,” explains Singh.
Sambit Mohanty, creative head, DDB Mudra North, believes that since its festive advertising, advertisers aren’t left with too many options, but to go with ‘feel good advertising.  He explains, "What Christmas is to the West, Diwali is for the sub-continent. We need to be optimistic (in our communication).I don’t recollect any brand doing anything that was not done in the past this year though.”
Asked about which ads caught his attention, Mohanty points to the first few pages of newspapers featuring e-commerce offers. The media placement ensured the offers stood out, but he says their creatives (film or print) did not. 
Abhijit Avasthi, founder, Sideways, believes feel-good advertising is not a recent trend or limited to advertising for festivals only, and has been happening for a while now. “We started this trend when I was at Ogilvy for Cadbury almost ten years ago. Currently, there’s a sense of sameness. If everyone does the same, then, while there are good films being made, very few get recall. There’s definitely been an overkill in advertising around the festivals.”
Raj Kamble, founder and CCO, Famous Innovations, believes a unique idea coupled with a good media plan can help steer clear of the clutter. Referring to the recent Netflix campaign that spoofed typical Diwali ads, he says. “Just like the film showed, it is Diwali, and so brands are going to show similar settings. The reason behind this is, what else can they show? They want to wish consumers. I do completely agree that lots of ads looks similar, but a smart marketer will get a way to stay out of the clutter.”

All time favourites 
Raj Kamble – Tanishq 

"The film is for Diwali, a day before Diwali. The visual stands out compared to other ads. It was full of insights – a husband and wife sitting and the product was the centre of the idea. People can connect with it, and it puts a smile on your face. The film was very effortlessly made and had amazing music. Two thumbs up to Vivek Kakkad (director of the film)."
Sambit Mohanty – Cadbury Celebrations

"I found the Chacha one memorable because it had a different take from the festive cliches of families coming together, etc. It tells a very endearing tale of elderly people living alone who miss out on the festivities – and how they too can feel as part of the celebrations."
Campaign India

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