Our screens have been populated by celebrities hawking everything from toothpastes, energy capsules, innerwear to cars for so long that when Flipkart launched its campaign featuring the kid-adults three years back, it instantly cut through the clutter. But more importantly, it brought to television a new category comprising commerce-focused internet or e-commerce players.
If we look at the composition of the service sector as an advertising category on television between 2011 and 2013, the growing importance of online shopping becomes clear. This category together with tele-shopping, has knocked off DTH (direct-to-home) service providers and real estate/property players from the top two slots in the pecking order.
Between January and June 2011, DTH players topped the services category list with a 21 per cent share of the pie (volume calculated in seconds), according to TAM Media Research. This number dropped to 7.1 per cent during the corresponding period in 2012, before picking up slightly at 8.8 per cent, this year.
Comparatively, the growth of B2C (business-to-consumer) online shopping websites advertising has exponential. In January-June, 2011, their share stood at 4 per cent, rising to 12 per cent for 2012, dipping marginally to 10.3 per cent during the first half of 2013.
Players like OLX, Quickr, Jabong, Myntra and Yebhi have created some high-decibel campaigns this year. Some broke ground with maiden above-the-line (ATL) campaigns.
One of the chief spenders among them was Google, dabbling in long-form advertising, currently on air. Even online ticketing website, BookMyShow unveiled its new identity this year, using ATL for conveying the message. The marketing spends for the entire initiative are in the range of Rs 9-11 crore, according to estimates.
Such high-decibel campaigns hardly come as a surprise to industry players who believe e-commerce is on the cusp of a major breakthrough with customers. "The numbers tell all. Be it internet penetration, number of active users, users of e-commerce websites, there is ample growth and, far importantly, tremendous room for growth," says Jagdeep Kapoor, CMD, Samsika Marketing Consultants.
Besides, most of these companies are relatively new (most being around for three-four years). Advertising on TV comes with twin benefits for them. While it helps them fulfil their aggressive brand-building objectives, they also benefit from the credibility lent to their business via such mainstream advertising.
DTH, in comparison, is a more mature category. And has started expanding its marketing spends to below-the-line activations, apart from cutting down on costs.
The rising influence of Internet services can be gauged from their expansive presence in the top 10 spots under the services category. This year, apart from Internet services for online shopping, ad volumes for travel and tourism and other general services (search engines etc.) have shot up.
Conversations about a shift from brick and mortar stores to other shopping options with a greater degree of convenience have been around for a while.
Tele-shopping, too, is just another commerce opportunity. The high advertising volume generated by this category on television is an indication of its popularity. "This category mostly features those ads selling stones, idols of Gods for luck, some magic-tea potion that would help lose weight, other weight loss equipment etc. A lot of late-night programming on channels is devoted to these kinds of ads. Since the calculation is in seconds here, the share may be high in terms of screen presence. Don't mistake this for high marketing spends though," explains a media professional.
That is the key insight, really. The dominance is in terms of air-time, not necessarily in the monies spent. Not as yet.