The Digital Divide Doesn’t Exist Anymore

The Digital Divide Doesn’t Exist Anymore

The most memorable and impactful digital campaigns as recalled by practitioners are often the same as the top of mind campaigns seen across media.

Team BrandSutraUpdated: Tuesday, November 07, 2023, 10:32 AM IST
Representative image |

Vejay Anand, CEO, Ironhill India & Branding Expert

Vejay Anand

Vejay Anand |

Indian advertising thrives, especially during the festive season, thanks to a surge in brand promotions. As people are in a spending mood during festivals, more advertising naturally follows.

One of the most influential digital Diwali campaigns from the past was the initiative by Cadbury. Cadbury India's remarkable feat of involving numerous small businesses in their marketing campaign with Shahrukh Khan was made possible through the application of Artificial Intelligence. By harnessing Rephrase's cutting-edge technology, the team employed Machine Learning to recreate the voice and appearance of Khan. This AI-driven approach facilitated the seamless integration of local store names into the advertisements. 


Barin Mukherjee , Co-Founder and CEO, Digital Refresh Networks 

Barin Mukherjee

Barin Mukherjee |

It will be unfair to say that festive brings the best in advertising; it surely gets brands excited to create communication which is emotional and build the relationship with consumers.

‘India comes back home in a Maruti Suzuki’ is the ad that has stuck with me. It was centred around the theme of Diwali. Also, Cadbury SRK campaign using AI for creating ads for local merchants. No campaign in 2023 has stood out as of yet. This year due to the cricket World Cup, the focus on Diwali seems diluted to a certain extent.


Aakash Goplani, Account Director, SoCheers

Aakash Goplani

Aakash Goplani |

I believe the combination of topicality and relatability overpowers everything else. With the increasing number of advertisements during the festive sales, it becomes challenging for brands to capture the viewers' attention. However, one activity that stood out for me was Croma's response to Flipkart's Big Billion Day iPhone 14 Sale. Croma gave away free iPhone 14 Pro Max without requiring any tasks to be performed. This move not only grabbed the attention of viewers but also helped Croma gain a competitive edge over the rest.

Rohit Sakunia, Founder and Director, Art-e Media

Rohit Sakunia

Rohit Sakunia |

Of course the festive season brings out the best of Indian advertising. While it's a cluttered time, a crafted creative piece that cuts through the clutter can also establish a strong brand presence in the minds of consumers. 

One of the most memorable and impactful digital Diwali campaigns I've seen was the Coca-Cola advertisement from 2018, featuring Ayushmann Khurrana. In this heartwarming ad, Ayushmann is situated in a South Indian city during Diwali and has a heartfelt conversation with his mother, contrasting the festivities there with the hustle and bustle of Delhi during Diwali. What makes this campaign exceptional is the seamless integration of the brand, Coca-Cola. It underlines the idea that Coca-Cola is not just a beverage but a companion that enhances moments of togetherness and joy, making it a perfect fit for Diwali celebrations.

Yasin Hamidani, Director, Media Care Brand Solutions 

Yasin Hamidani

Yasin Hamidani |

Indian advertising during the festive season often brings out some of the most creative and impactful campaigns of the year.

One of the most memorable and impactful digital Diwali campaigns in recent years was executed by Amazon India in 2020. The campaign ‘Deliver the Love’  was widely praised for its emotional impact, relevance to the times, and the way it resonated with audiences during the challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic. It exemplified how digital advertising can connect with people on a deep, emotional level and build a positive brand image by addressing the real-life experiences and emotions of the audience.

From 2023, according to me, Cadbury Celebrations’ #ThisAdIsMyStore is very amazing. The campaign is a clear-cut mixture of emotions, bonding, technology and supportive messaging.

Ambika Sharma, Founder and MD, Pulp Strategy 

Ambika Sharma

Ambika Sharma |

This year’s festive season is bound to be better than last year’s because of the cricket World Cup. With almost 30 to 35 pc of sales happening during this period, key categories that will increase their spends include auto, consumer durables and electronics, mobile phones, real estate, jewellery, apparels, FMCG, chocolates and biscuits, beverages, e-commerce (Big Billion Days and Great Indian Festivals) and paints. Usually, cricket is the most popular advertising subject, but there are also other things that interest people. Memories of the past, family bonds, local festivals, and inspiring stories all make people feel connected.  

Most memorable and impactful campaign – Cadbury, because they have been consistent in their messaging while evolving their creative direction.

Prateek Sethi, Founder, Trip Creative Agency

Prateek Sethi

Prateek Sethi |

With more mediums and technologies to play with, the amount of fun that brands and creatives are having with our Indian festive season is only going to get better and more engaging.

Recently I remember watching the Dussehra ad made by VW with Ram offering Ravan a lift. The ad ends with "Let the good in you drive away the evil". Beautifully done, nicely shot, fantastic copy and lovely message. 

The most delightful Diwali or for that matter any festival campaign I’ve seen is the usage of WhatsApp to share greetings. The static creatives, stickers, gifs, films that are shared irrespective of their visual, conceptual, existential or pixel quality, all lead to a counter message.

Gautam Reddy – Founder, PAD

Gautam Reddy

Gautam Reddy |

Yes, the festive season brings about the best of Indian advertising. 

A Coca-Cola advertisement captured all the micro nuances of Durga Pujo, with visual animation inspired by the print design on typical Bengali puja stall tabletops. The food and gastronomical experiences were well-captured, right from khichdi to chicken chop. It had relatable instances like footwear misplacement at a busy stall, late-night pandal hopping, and adda with friends.  

Asian Paints' Durga Pujo effort is another excellent example of integrated marketing, exploring cultural nuances, using the iconic Kolkata Tram as a museum of art and culture. 

Archit Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Tikshark Solutions

Archit Agarwal

Archit Agarwal |

Diwali is that special time of the year when brands pull out all the stops to create memorable and impactful campaigns that resonate with the spirit of the festival. 

One digital Diwali campaign that truly stood out in 2023 is Realme's 'Dare to Shine’. The campaign featuring actor Shahrukh Khan paid a beautiful tribute to the enduring human spirit of resilience and self-belief. It was a heartwarming reminder of the inner light that resides in all of us, aligning perfectly with the spirit of Diwali. The campaign's emotional depth and the star power of Khan made it incredibly impactful.  


Deepali Vijay Jain, Founder and Chairwoman, DiamondXE (an online diamond trading platform)

Deepali Vijay Jain

Deepali Vijay Jain |

The festive season undeniably brings out the best of Indian advertising each year.

The 2023 Diwali TVC from a leading Indian jeweller featuring two renowned actresses is impactful for its emotional storytelling. Its tagline ‘Speak your heart with a diamond’ beautifully captures a range of emotions from romantic love to familial bonds, and self-love. It appeals to a wide audience, emphasising the idea that diamonds are for everyone. The high production quality, inclusivity, and clear messaging add to its charm. 


Devdatta Potnis, CEO, Animeta

Devdatta Potnis

Devdatta Potnis |

The festive season in India continues to be a showcase for the best in advertising. With festivities now spanning from Independence Day to December, brands have a longer period to connect with consumers and celebrate the spirit of the season. 

One example that stands out is the Cadbury campaigns over the last few years. These campaigns blend technology and the importance of supporting local businesses, often featuring Shahrukh Khan. Their emphasis on going local is a clever and strategic move, as Cadbury is trying to position itself as a modern alternative to traditional sweets.  


Anand Nair, Chief Creative Officer, 4AM Worldwide

Anand Nair

Anand Nair |

Indian advertising does tend to bring out the best in creativity, storytelling and emotional connection during the festive season. However, thanks to social media, consumers are bombarded with ads around Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali leading up to Christmas and the New Year, which creates some fatigue. 

To be of genuine impact for the brand, it's important that businesses do not jump on the festive bandwagon due to FOMO but do so because they sincerely believe in the story that they want to tell.  

Cadbury has managed to crack a great recipe and hit the sweet spot in their Diwali advertising. An insight about shopping from local stores, the use of technology, the one and only SRK, and yes, great media spends to boot – have resulted in producing one of the more memorable campaigns I've seen.  

From a pure uniqueness standpoint Netflix's Cherrapunji ki Diwali campaign was lovely just for the way they brought a hitherto "unseen" side of Diwali for the rest of India to see.  


Jetesh Menon, Creative Head, Ideas Farm

Jetesh Menon

Jetesh Menon |

The festive season brings about a lot of advertising because every brand feels compelled to say something. But, unless you have something relevant or refreshing to say, it doesn’t register.  

I’m sure there have been several great campaigns over the years and I probably don’t recall them at the moment, but Cadbury’s ‘NotJustACadburyAD’ from 2021 was path breaking.  

I’d like to talk about another piece of communication I know for a fact has been impactful. It’s Legrand’s Diwali film from four or five years ago featuring electricians as the unsung heroes of Diwali. It shows the journey of an electrician who prioritises attending to a customer on the eve of Diwali and comes home to find his home brightly lit, thanks to Legrand’s initiative.  


Nidha Luthra, Executive Director, Thought Blurb Communications

Nidha Luthra

Nidha Luthra |

Advertising in India throws everything it has got into the festival season. And over the years, advertising spending and the quality of work have both increased. Social changes have also had a hand in this. 

HP Printers have consistently created brilliant emotional films for Diwali, like the kid who helps sell out an old lady's inventory of homemade diyas. Or the one where a lady helps a painter set up his own show. These films are exactly the type of campaign that India needs during the festive season. They are heartwarming, uplifting, and meaningful. Besides, they integrate the product perfectly into the messaging.


Lokesh Uchil, Copywriter, BC Web Wise

Lokesh Uchil

Lokesh Uchil |

What sets this festive season apart in India is its ability to create a deep emotional connection between brands and their audience. The reason these advertisements work so well is their focus on creating a connection with the audience rather than hard-selling a product. 

Over the years, many brands like Cadbury, Tanishq, JK Cement, etc. have crafted memorable Diwali campaigns. While it's challenging to pick a single standout campaign, Cadbury's ongoing Diwali activities, starting in 2020, showcased a creative blend of innovation and compassion. These campaigns upheld the same central theme of fostering a sense of community and helping local businesses thrive during the Diwali season. In essence, the festive season in India continues to bring out the best in Indian advertising because it goes beyond traditional marketing tactics.  


Sonika Gothwal, Account Director, The Hype Studio

Sonika Gothwal

Sonika Gothwal |

The festive season in India has consistently been a time when advertisers and marketers bring out their creative best. With the rise of digital marketing and social media, Indian advertising during the festive season has become even more dynamic and engaging.  

The best campaign we became a part of was to promote the sanctity of a safe environment and have a cracker-free Diwali . We encouraged our team and clients to not only look at Diwali as a festive extravaganza but as an opportunity to spread the message of ‘prosperity with responsibility’. We are really proud of this endeavour and this phrase and we hope to cultivate this going ahead.



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