Ujaya Shakya
Jan 08, 2018

View from Nepal: Emerging advertising trends in the Himalayan Kingdom

In the first of a regular monthly column, the author talks about emerging trends in the Nepalese advertising business

View from Nepal: Emerging advertising trends in the Himalayan Kingdom
Compared to our neighbors we are still a young advertising nation which has just completed about six decades of recorded advertising business, that started with the establishment of first daily publication. But when I look back today, I see a vast change, a huge transformation in the industry.
The outlook and practices until a few years ago were vastly targeted towards tactical, offer or direct product promotional advertising. These were the heavily used practices during the last few decades of our advertising history. We can certainly understand that no one was taking a major step to sell story concepts or out-of-box ideas to clients. The size of the market, the restricted budgets and the tested and proven paths were the safest for both advertisers and creative minds alike.
This was not the story for the entire region though. We saw a shift in advertising in our next-door neighbours from mid-1990s and by early 2000s the advertising in the region was drastically transformed. The ‘Pug’ ad for a telecom brand showcased us the power of visuals and the story. It was a shift from tactical route, which created a buzz in the ad world. Then came ads like Surf Excel with “Dirt is Good” theme - they all told and shared the power of stories and the one point they had in common was that they were all high on emotions.
Academic and industry studies have repeatedly proven the effects of emotional advertising on brand and business metrics; it is proven now that emotional campaigns deliver 10 times higher profitability and market share gains than rational ones. Emotion does matter in brand communication. Emotion creates value and sets preferences. It inspires action and pushes sales. There is a rising tide of emotional advertising at the moment in the region, be it India, Thailand or Pakistan. The essential formula on which emotional ads works is simple -- if people feel more, they buy more. To add to my argument, I can share the 2013 emotional advertisement for Google's search engine, which has become a hit in India and Pakistan by surprisingly invoking an intense and traumatic period in the shared history of the sub continent. The commercial already has been viewed more than 14 million times on YouTube in last 4 years, but continues to create a strong same emotional connect for viewers.
While all these changes where happening in a bigger context, in Nepal there was a slow but subtle change, which I noticed and I think it was a sort of a “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” for the advertising industry of Nepal. A few stories, with emotion and substance have entered Nepali advertising during the last couple of years. 
To name a few, the Asian Paints ‘True friend series’, which followed by ‘Gift’ and then the recent ‘Royale - Memories are too precious’ fit the bill. The insights I got from these is that the ‘Asian Paints - a true friend’ campaign, which was released roughly a year ago, created a strong ripple in the consumers’ minds. Even today people recall the year-old commercial that cements my belief that a story well told with emotion can create a strong impression. You can view the ‘True friend series’ here:
The other two commercials of Asian Paints dwelled on the same kind of emotions and this once again proved the power of the story -- which brings emotional context and connects to the consumers’ minds. The ‘Memories are too precious’ commercial got 467K views and 7.7K reach in just two weeks. You can view this new commercial of Asian Paints Nepal here:
You can view the Asian Paints Nepal ‘Gift’ TVC : 
Recently I watched ‘The Yodhas of Nepal’, a Tata Yodha commercial, which once again creates a story with life-like situation, portraying real hardships. Here the emotions lead the viewer on a journey towards fulfillment.  My advice would be, both to my colleagues in the fraternity and our fellow clients in the industry, to let the creative minds explore ideas which connect to human emotions rather than taking only tactical routes for these don’t have a lasting effect.
You can view the ‘The Yodhas of Nepal’ Series of Tata Yodha here:
(Ujaya Shakya is the founder and managing director of Outreach Group based in Kathmandu and the author of ‘Brandsutra’. He is also a Vice-President of the Advertising Association of Nepal.)


Campaign India

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