Two of the most celebrated advertising campaigns this year had two things in common. They both leveraged the star power of Shah Rukh Khan and the scalability of Generative Artificial Intelligence. Having already waxed lyrical on India’s biggest celebrity birthday last week, exchange4media now turns its attention to AI and how it is impacting the efficacy of festive ad spends.
Use case scenarios
Generative AI has been playing an increasingly significant role in various marketing and advertising campaigns recently. The combination of heightened investments and social engagement during festive seasons are coupled with the power of Generative AI.
“Content creation, language translation, chatbots, predictive analytics, inventory management and fraud detection are some of the use cases from the media and e-commerce lens,” says Uday Mohan, Managing Director - Havas Media India, while adding that festive seasons consistently witness a surge in investments and a notable uptick in social engagement.
“Generative AI empowers media efficiency by harnessing the power of data and employing the right algorithms to drive optimal performance. This synergy enables advertisers to craft more targeted and engaging campaigns, ultimately maximizing the impact of their media investments. From the media angle - automated customer segmentation, predicative outcomes, and real-time bidding with custom algorithms are all helping in driving home media efficiency,” says Mohan.
Generative AI is increasingly playing a pivotal role in this year's festive campaigns, capitalizing on the growing consumer optimism as Diwali, the grandest celebration of the year, approaches.
“With consumer sentiments on the rise, we are gearing up for festive campaigns that resonate with our brands’ audience, and a noteworthy trend this year is Artificial Intelligence (AI). For example, we collaborated with Pulse Candy for an AI-powered Ganesh Chaturthi campaign that narrated the tale of Lokmanya Tilak's efforts, making it a nationwide celebration. This growing adoption of AI among CMOs is expected to usher in a new era of personalized campaigns, AR/VR integration, and larger-than-life CGI-driven campaigns, transforming the way we engage consumers,” enthuses Mitesh Kothari, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, White Rivers Media.
The implementation of Generative AI in campaigns has indeed led to increased efficiency and reduced ad spending. “Generative AI tools continually experiment with keywords, ads, bids, target audiences, and budgets to automate highly focused ad campaigns, enhancing lead optimization based on the highest probability of conversion. These tools also facilitate the tracking and optimization of ad content, click-through rates, and conversions in real-time, aligning with campaign objectives,” says Kothari.
Additionally, AI's ability to generate and test unconventional ad ideas, refine them, and put them to real-world testing allows prospects and consumers to engage by voting with their clicks. AI's contribution to optimizing pricing strategies in e-commerce offers multiple advantages.
Data, Data Everywhere
“By ensuring pricing accuracy through real-time data analysis, AI can improve price accuracy by up to 20 per cent, helping companies adapt swiftly to market fluctuations. Personalized pricing strategies based on AI analysis of customer data not only delight customers but also enhance loyalty. Moreover, AI streamlines data analysis, saving up to around 40 per cent of the time previously spent on this task and optimizing the allocation of resources, resulting in increased sales, profitability, and scalability,” says Kothari.
John Paite, CCO (Hub) India agrees with this sunny sentiment, noting, “I would expect through the integration of AI, they would be getting more out of their spending, be it reach, conversion or target accuracy. For the price you pay for a TVC (approx 1cr+), it is possible to run a successful multi-platform campaign through digital. Of course, it depends on the brands, but the ROAS is there for everyone to see and compare.”
“Although using generative AI in campaigns can result in more effective and possibly lower ad spends, the real impact of this technique will depend on a number of variables, including the campaign's unique goals, the quality of the data, and the implemented approach,” observes Raghav Upadhyay, Head of Performance Marketing, ROIsted (a Team Pumpkin vertical).
This means that to make sure that the usage of generative AI is in line with the goals of the campaign and financial constraints, thorough planning and management are essential.
Aparna Tadikonda, EVP – South, Interactive Avenues (the digital arm of IPG Mediabrands India) adds that AI's analytical prowess can decipher vast consumer data, providing nuanced insights into preferences, behaviours, and trends. “This wealth of information facilitates hyper-targeted messaging, ensuring campaigns resonate deeply with individual consumers. Automation takes centre stage, allowing brands to optimize ad placements, make real-time adjustments, and even generate content seamlessly.”
“eCommerce will pivot toward an efficiency and performance-led approach, maximizing targeted efforts. On the other hand, FMCG brands are expected to deliver memorable campaigns and experiences. The integration of AI into festive campaigns is pivotal for brands aiming to unlock its full potential,” asserts Tadikonda.
Pointing to examples like Dabur Red's launch of their special festive packaging and the Smile Generator campaign by Colgate, Girish Ramachandra, Founder and CEO, Shopalyst, opines, “Done well, Gen AI can surely help advertisers drive greater personalization, dynamic creatives and better communication with their audiences. For example, advertisers who use Shopalyst use AI generated ad creatives that are programmatically generated using product pack shots and information like pricing, availability and ratings.”
That Being Said….
However, given the advent of AI use cases this year was speedier than expected, and that many consumer verticals plan their festive ad spends much in advance, major ad budgets were less impacted by AI than you might think, despite the noise around the technology.
For instance, Shivam Ranjan, Head of Marketing, Motorola-APAC, says, "At Motorola, we believe in ROI-centric marketing, and our investments in the festive are a combination of impact and performance marketing properties that together show measurable outcomes in driving business objectives."
Given the concurrence of the ICC World Cup amidst the festivities, Ranjan adds, “Thus, for Motorola, we do not see a change in the overall festive spending due to the World Cup, however, we do plan to have a higher skew of our festive branding/impact budgets towards the World Cup.”
Upadhyay says that while Generative AI is still an emerging force in festive campaigns, its role is undeniably growing. “This technology can add value to every festive initiative in terms of strategic planning, content creation, customisation, and smooth consumer experience to a cost-effective medium. It's like having a reliable ally within your creative team that works tirelessly to craft the ideal festive message,” he says.
Brand experts say while 2023 saw the opening of the sluice gates as far as the use of AI in advertising goes, it’s going to be the next few quarters that we’ll see the impact on ad strategies and spends.
As Mohan wryly observes, “On a lighter note, spends may not reduce as the brands will aim to get more value in the same planned marketing spends. Every media today is performance media and baselines are going up month on month. The industry will witness a much faster TAT than years before and agencies are gearing up.