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Dipstick: Are social media platforms more a hype than a serious advertising medium?

Brands of late have taken to networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter as part of their communication arsenal. But they need to shed their myopia to be able to exploit the full potential of this medium

Neha Saraiya | Delhi | January 16, 2011

Advertising on the digital platform has seen a radical shift. Earlier, companies purchased digital ads and built up their own websites, but now brands aim to woo consumers through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Recently, Britannia chose the digital platform to launch its new snack ‘NutriChoice Multigrain Thins’. The campaign titled ‘The Hunt for the True Snexy – India’s First Reality Snack Show’ witnessed popular Indian snacks like samosas, pani puri, burgers et al in humanised forms. It gained huge consumer engagement for the brand in the initial stage.

Taking forward from the digital campaign, the brand’s TV commercial is on air currently. Britannia is just an exception where the advertising on social media has worked wonders for the brand.

But very few brands are able to understand and effectively leverage the power of the social media. Is social media taken seriously by marketers or do they just follow the herd? BestMediaInfo talks to industry experts for their views.

KV Sridhar aka Pops

National Creative Director

Leo Burnett India

“I think so far we have not seen any cases of creative excellence on social platforms coming out of India. They have never been used effectively, if at all. They are more in bits and pieces. So, still it’s more of hype than the amount of companies using it. Multinational companies use digital because of their competitive situations and not because they believe it’s convincing. Secondly, we don’t have any creative for digital and social media. Digital companies come and show what can be possible. There is also an issue of understanding and making the platform worthy for brands.”

Venke Sharma

Senior VP & Director

Arc Worldwide

“Consumers are loving it and living it. It is just a matter of time and experimentation for marketers to figure out engagement models on digital platforms. Innovation is the name of the game. These media vehicles themselves have emerged without clarity on their own revenue models. Now they are making money. Similarly, marketers need to commit to the medium before calculating ROI. There are numerous cases where with negligible spends brands have benefited from investing in social media. Merely copying what others have done doesn’t work. Relevance and originality take precedence.”

Rameet Arora

Senior Director – Marketing

McDonald’s India (West & South)

“Social media tend to deliver the message faster but brands cannot expect to make announcements on social media. Social media is what people want to talk about, not what somebody wants to tell people. If you have got a message, it’s persuasive, and you want people to spread your message, then it could work as a word of mouth sort of medium. But I don’t consider as an advertising medium. We use social media at McDonald’s very actively to get customer feedback, we use it as a platform where our customers can talk to us about what they like or don’t like. Also, we get a lot of positive experiences from customers. It is an important tool in establishing connect with them.”

Anil Nair

CEO

Law & Kenneth

“Social media as a platform is gaining traction and it is evolving. The early adopters in the medium have moved to the second stage but the mass or the new adopters are still trying to find their comfort zone. Social media is about connecting, so brands and products which can operate in that territorial space can effectively use this medium. Like FMCG brands have no role to play on social mediums. Brands which have the ability to initiate conversations can use social medium effectively. It is a suitable medium for certain categories. For instance, a brand that has used the medium effectively is Nike with its ‘Write the Future’ campaign that won at Cannes. In India we are still grappling with this medium. But recently, Hero has launched a campaign where the audience is invited to be part of their next campaign.”

Neha@BestMediaInfo.com

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