Advertising agencies better prepared for third wave of Covid, unlikely business impact
The year 2022 has started on a rather uncertain note for the advertising industry. Brands, along with advertising agencies and the media, were hopeful that business would return to pre-Covid levels in 2022. However, the sudden increase in the number of Covid cases, many of which are cases of Omicron variants, put the industry in a wait-and-see situation.
According to experts, while there is no knee-jerk reaction to brands’ ad spending, the bottlenecks and the severity of the situation may result in a slower recovery for the industry.
Mansi Datta, Chief Client Officer and Head – North and East, Wavemaker India, said: âThe increase in Omicron cases in the country is definitely making companies cautious, and there is a wait and watch approach for that the situation improves before reassessing their business numbers. With most of India being vaccinated, coupled with the mildness of this variant, the situation might not be as daunting as it used to be and the air of despondency has yet to be felt. Plus, with the lessons of the past two years, marketers are more confident to navigate these uncertain times. ”
Kapil Arora, co-chairman and CEO of 82.5, said the past two quarters have been good for the industry and that he sees the momentum continuing into 2022. However, the next three to four weeks will determine the impact of Omicron’s situation on consumers. feelings.
âWe’re pretty positive for 2022 and have plans in place for healthy double-digit growth. We will of course remain alert and monitor things closely month to month, but we and our clients are now reasonably fit to work in this environment. The past two years have taught us to always have contingency plans in place. At this point we stay on yellow alert (watch closely, but work as usual). I approach this period with cautious optimism and would like to believe that the industry is well prepared to deal with all curvy balls, âsaid Arora.
According to Dheeraj Sinha, CEO and South Asia Strategy Director at Leo Burnett, while the health crisis is a cause for concern, consumer sentiment will not be as affected as it was in FY2020.
He added that businesses and agencies have been coping with the situation for two years and are better prepared with contingency plans today.
Govind Pandey, managing director of TBWA, India, said that although cases are increasing rapidly, symptoms are also milder. According to him, the situation will be manageable because people have learned to live with the virus and the precautionary measures are being taken by them. However, if a foreclosure does occur, there will again be a significant impact on businesses.
“People are careful but there is no impact on business, âsaid Pandey.
On the other hand, digital agencies are eyeing further growth in 2022. Rohan Mehta, CEO of Kinnect, said financial worries for this quarter are much lower this year as the market does not respond strongly to the increase in cases. .
âI still see 2022 as a positive year, there will be an impact if we see hospitalizations and deaths. This time, those numbers are very low, even though the number of infections has increased significantly. We need to monitor more in-depth metrics and if those more in-depth metrics start to have an impact, we can expect a significant impact on the financial side of companies. We have a big momentum going on this year. People have realized that they need to increase investments in digital transformation and digital marketing, which puts us in a good position anyway, âsaid Mehta.
Bhushan Kadam, Creative Director – Design, White Rivers Media, said most companies have kept the third wave contingent in business planning for the year, therefore the goals will not be affected.
Kadam added that contingency plans have always been there because the fourth quarter is important for all businesses. The good thing is that the third wave is not as harsh as the previous ones, despite this they shift all ads towards more empathetic communication.
âThe third wave will push some plans on the ground, events on the ground. We’re also doing a lot of media and entertainment work, so many movie launches could be pushed back for at least 30 days. Usually, the third wave or the Omicron wave lasted 4-8 weeks in most countries, so we would expect a similar disruption in the country. Many plans on the ground could be pushed back for 4 to 8 weeks, but at the same time digitally focused brands will be much more important and as a result they will balance out, âKadam said.