Oh, what a year it has been for brands and marketers! Tumultuous, topsy-turvy, ambivalent, fortuitous, and full of opportunity are the words (even though paradoxical) that come to mind.
Malls and multiplexes are brimming with people, while retail walk-ins and e-commerce sales have been hitting an all-time high. Real estate sales and new property registrations have breached new highs, automobile sales have zoomed. And come vacations and holiday season, airports are operating beyond capacity so much so that it’s turning out to be a problem big enough for the authorities to intervene. Airline seats just aren’t available and in instances where they are, prices are obnoxiously high. Hotels are sold out and so are table reservations at fine-dine restaurants despite new hotels and restaurants opening. The beaches of Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and Arpora are swarming with motley crowds made up of the well-heeled traveller as well as the budget traveller. I never imagined that ‘revenge tourism’ could be a real phenomenon. Especially when I remember that the real estate industry, travel, tourism and hospitality industries faced an existential threat in the pandemic days. Look what a remarkable turnaround it has been!
BOOM TIME FOR SPORTS
The sports calendar has been a busy one too. The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, Asia Cup, ICC T20 World Cup have lapped up record audiences. Spot rates touched astronomical levels at the first signs of economic revival at the IPL 2022. Even off the field, the IPL auctions netted a record nearly Rs 50,000 crore, with Viacom wresting the digital rights from Disney-Star even as they retained the domestic broadcast rights. Brands like RuPay, Unacademy, Cred, Upstox, Swiggy Instamart, Pristyn Care, Zepto, Niyo, Spotify, Livspace and Spinny made their presence felt.
Star Sports released the very lovable ‘Bahut hua intezaar #BelieveInBlue’ campaign promoting the ICC tournament, which witnessed some wonderful sporting action. A few of my friends, amongst scores of others, travelled with the Men in Blue to Australia to cheer the team. However, the ‘intezaar’ for the cup continues. While our team bowed down to the English in the semi-final stage, brands like Thums Up with their #StumpCam clips, hogged the spotlight.
Edtech star Byju’s shone during the ICC T20 World Cup, both the men’s and women’s editions this year. They ran the #HallaMachaDe campaign to good effect during the cricket season and then capped the year as one of the official sponsors at FIFA World Cup, where they reached a global audience – a first for any Indian brand.
Even non-cricket sports like Wimbledon and Pro-Kabaddi League got record viewership. The crowning moment, however, for sports aficionados and marketers was the FIFA world Cup at Qatar.
A record number of Indians travelled to Qatar to witness the spectacular football ‘festival’ happening in our ‘neighbourhood’. This global sporting extravaganza of ‘The Beautiful Game’ has been keeping brands and marketers busy. Apart from Hyundai/Kia combine and Byju’s, that benefited from their sponsor status at the FIFA World Cup, brands like Mahindra, Visa, Black & White, ET Money, Amul, Intel, SBI and Spartan Poker made their presence felt through TV and digital. Amul got it spot on when they signed up the teams of Argentina and Portugal as the regional sponsor and were quick to capitalise on Argentina’s victory with their brand of advertising.
MARKETERS IN ACTION
Coming from the last few years of low action and emerging from the pandemic, brands had been wavering about their marketing spends. In 2022, however, there was heightened optimism and buzzing economic activity in India, unlike many other countries in the world. It provided the brands with just that window of opportunity to amplify their presence and loosen their purse strings to woo their target audiences back. The shadow of the Ukraine conflict and the doomsday predictions of an impending recession notwithstanding, brands went all out. Brands and marketers stirred up the pot in all its glory with so much action. Marketers haven’t had it so good in recent memory.
As 2022 draws to an end, and when everything seems hunky dory, the threat of another wave of COVID-19 is looming on the horizon. Are we staring at yet another dark winter and tentativeness or will the optimism win? Only time will tell. However, what is certain is that we have seen through the tough times by riding the curve. Now, nothing can dampen the mood as we have learnt from it.
And now, as I am off with my girls for a mini vacation, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
(The author is a senior professional in the corporate sector and writes on varied topics that catch his fancy. The views expressed here are his own. He tweets at @sandeepbangia)
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)