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Global ad campaigns lack cultural connect- Madhukar Sabnavis

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Madhukar Sabnavis, Vice Chairman and Country Head, Discovery and Planning, Ogilvy & Mather India
Madhukar Sabnavis, Vice Chairman and Country Head, Discovery and Planning, Ogilvy & Mather India

Madhukar Sabnavis, Vice Chairman and Country Head, Discovery and Planning, Ogilvy & Mather India

Brands are global and so is the consumer. In this era of globalization how important is it to establish a cultural connect with consumers for the advertisers?. Madhukar Sabnavis, Vice Chairman and Country Head, Discovery and Planning, Ogilvy & Mather India, exchanged his views on the importance of localization and globalization of ad campaigns with Devansh Sharma

How important is cultural connect in advertising?
It is quite important. If we look at the mass India brands like Bajaj, Fevicol, Asian Paints, and even Idea they are based on very strong social and cultural bonds. So greater connect with deep cultures in India is important to reach out to the mass market.

Considering the impact of cultural connect in advertising, do you think that the concept of global ad campaigns is relevant for the Indian Market?
I am a non-believer in global ads running across the world. Alhough the emotions are universal, there are strong cultures also. Indians will never be like Americans. The way love is portrayed in America is different from the way it is portrayed in India. So as far as brands are concerned I think making the local connect is very important. Consumers globalize but people don’t. For instance if we talk about food, in India we like spicy food while in other countries people may not like spicy food at all.

What initiatives can brands take on the digital front in advertising to increase their penetration?
Although the smart-phone market is growing, I think that television is going to be the main advertising medium for next five years at least, if we talk about penetration into the mass market. In India we have around 700 million mobile users from which only 150 use mobile internet. There is a huge gap which is more than 500 million between these two segments. So I believe that television will lead while digital and mobile can be used for consumer engagement.

In context of mobile advertising, what is going to be the future of m-commerce?
I think m-commerce is at a growing stage of the digital medium. It always starts from the top, first the metro cities followed by tier-II cities. I think this trend will take time and can’t happen overnight. It will take time to reach 700 million mobile users. M-commerce might work for utility. So for booking tickets, payment of bills, it will perhaps take off faster but for other purposes, I don’t think it is going to be huge in the immediate future.

About the author / 

Devansh Sharma

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