Do’s and Don’ts: Independence Day Ad Campaigns

Brands usually look for opportunities to connect with their audience during days where they observe a sense of familiarity with their audience. The concept of celebratory ad campaigns has not been anything new. From celebrating cocoa-based sweet treats in Rakshabandhan to persuading the consumers to buy washing machines on Dussehra, ad campaigns are often festive, offer incentives, and try to be a part of the celebration of the people during important days. While religious festivals like Diwali and Christmas are more selective on the people they can resonate with, days such as Independence day are something that resonates with literally everyone. With that in mind, let’s see how can brands leverage this special national celebration to carry out some really genius ad campaigns and win over the consumers. 

  1. The Product Placement: Often, brands just choose to jump on the bandwagon of Independence day and their campaigns do not do anything to resonate with their products. It is forgotten that the entity that really represents their brand is the product they offer. With poor product placement, the campaign may look nothing more than a well-produced video which if not handled correctly can give a negative brand image. But when done right, they might not just enhance their brand image but also improve the overall product perception. 
    • (Don’t): The OYO Independence Day Campaign showcasing Actors Manoj Bajpayee and Raveena Tandon was not received well. That is for two reasons. One of them being the advertisement adding nothing to their brand image. The gist of the advertisement tells us about “Agar Desh azaad na hota, toh kya hota?”(What would have happened if we never got the Independence)
    • (Do): The Manyavar Ad Campaign 2020 not only showcased their products in tandem with the occasion but did it in a wholesome manner involving children as their center of attention. 
  2. The Messaging: Sometimes, messaging for the sake of messaging can seem preachy and tone-deaf if not done properly. Especially in advertisement campaigns, there needs to be a form of nuance and subtlety to your messaging. Good examples of smart messaging can be the Jaago Re Campaign from Tata Tea or the Amul comic strips featuring Amul Girl. But there are more than a good share of advertisements which in the quest of making a point, end up missing it totally. 
    • (Don’t): Star Plus’s Happy Birthday India Campaign 2015. This Campaign looked beautiful on paper but it failed to make an impact and ended up forgetful in all senses. 
    • (Do): #Herosalutes by Hero Motor Corp not only took over a great message but treated the source material with the utmost respect and hence being one of the most patriotic ad campaigns of recent memory.
  3. Offerings: The Brands create narratives via these ad Campaigns of how they wish to celebrate with us. And in some examples, it has been seen that their mode of celebration is nothing more than an advertisement and a slogan. In the age of digital media and social interactions, if the audience doesn’t feel like they are a part of a brand, there is a good chance that they might end up not being a potential consumer. But that is not only it, your offerings don’t just have to be blatant product placements as well.
    • (Don’t): Oriflame Putting together tutorials on how to make up and create a tricolor on our faces via their products. This was not just jarring to the eyes and mind(they missed the blue wheel in the tricolor) but also borderline inconvenient.
    • (Do): #SaveTheTiranga by Micromax India(2017) was a pretty good attempt to tackle the actual issues of throwing away tricolor flags by asking their users to wave their flags digitally through a mobile application and actually initiating change. This advertisement is done right after the Internet Boom in the country, resulting in some pretty good reception.
  4. Hyper Nationalism: No, we won’t buy an inferior brand of Bathroom tiles just because you told us our freedom fighters advocated swadeshi and your product is made in India. Sometime’s sticking to one sentiment in an aggressive manner might ruin the entire campaign. And Independence day is a day of celebration. It’s a request for the creative teams to celebrate it and have fun with their ideas. Sometimes they seem extremely forced and gave an impression of ‘They just exist because this day exists’ and that is exactly what ruins the ad campaign. Sure, the context of this great day is extremely important, but an ad campaign also needs to stand on its own. If we take away the day and the campaign crumbles, We are sorry but we have bad news for you. 
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