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Brand messaging in TV soaps

To beat viewer fatigue, ad makers are opting for brand promotion in popular serials, reports Anita Sharan.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 16:57 IST

Guess what a number of the television prime time K-serials are going to have in common from now on. You know, the popular ones such as Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kasauti Zindagi Ke and Kahin To Hoga. In fact, it’s already started. Every time a mobile phone rings in any scene in these serials, viewers will hear the Ideas signature tune.

“This is a big TV innovation,” states Soumya Sarkar, media director, Insight, Lintas Media Group. He believes this could be a trend, given the increasing advertising avoidance by media consumers, which started four-five years ago. “I believe advertisers will increasingly look at content integration.”

If it works in films – as in-film advertising – there’s no reason why it shouldn’t in television programming. Ideas has already extended brand integration with content on news channels since the past year. Star News, IBN 7, ZEE News and the south-based TV9 and Asianet News have been displaying news headlines on an Ideas SIM card.

“I have to put my brand in the content so I won’t hamper the viewer’s viewing. And yet my brand will be seen and heard in the content,” says Sarkar. With the increase in ad avoidance by media consumers, advertisers and media planners have to think up newer ways of getting across to consumers.

Intellect, also of the Lintas Media Group, has just released the findings of a media engagement and advertising avoidance study Named Engross and conducted in association with Hansa Research, the study reveals that ad avoidance has crossed 70 per cent across all media and is set to rise further, in terms of active and passive avoidance.

The study also reveals that media consumers like advertising, but high ad clutter is creating an overload, leading to avoidance. However, the more consumers are engaged with a particular genre of programming or coverage, the less likely they are to avoid ads in that genre.

The study was conducted over a two-month period at the end of 2006. A total of 1,073 people were interviewed across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad, and administered a set of 1,260 statements drawn up from four focus groups conducted earlier. The rural coverage saw 892 people interviewed in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

In the Amitabh Bachchan-anchored Kaun Banega Crorepati 2, whenever a contestant used the "phone-a-friend" option, Airtel’s signature tune would play.

Some media planners are surmising that Airtel may possibly repeat the initiative in the Shah Rukh Khan-anchored KBC-3, starting end-January. Airtel is a sponsor on the programme.

The new formats of game shows and reality shows, besides serials and the regular sports (specially cricket) telecasts, can generate new in-programming opportunities for advertisers.

Scrollers in cricket by Hutch, nomination of play and SMSes by Reliance Telecom in AXN’s wrestling programme, WWF… these have already been happening. The Bournvita Quiz Contest has seen excellent brand integration.

What seems to be emerging now, however, is more fine tuned, innovative integration of brand messaging with television programming. It doesn’t have to be big, as in programme owner ship, or loudly evident.

In fact, as advertisers look at content integrated advertising more serious ly, it is bound to get more intelligent, even more subtle. Yet it will project the brand. “It is a prefect solution for ad avoidance and for creating brand impact in consumers’ minds,” concludes Sarkar.

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