‘Think global, act local’ new slogan of Indian advertising

April 3rd, 2008 - 10:44 am ICT by admin  

(Business Feature)
By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) A new Coca-Cola advertisement featuring Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan is pegged on the theme “Jashan Mana Le” or just have fun. It’s simple. A group of youngsters venture out for a late night bite, only to find the eateries shut. They meet Hrithik on the way and go on a magical midnight tryst with the star. Cola adds the fizz.

The advertisement connects with India’s teeming campus fraternity and young professionals who are ready to add a bit of ‘zing’ to life in the new globalised environment. The Coca-Cola advertisements are classic examples of the current trend in the Indian branding and advertising industry - “think globally, act locally”.

Industry watchers call it glocalisation - a saleable mix of the global and the local, which represents the human capacity to bridge scales from the local to global and vice versa. The term was first used by social scientist Manfred Lange in 1989 on the eve of the Global Change Exhibition in Moscow.

“Advertising agencies in our country are increasingly going in for international tie-ups. As a result, foreign brands are suddenly seeking local attention. The art of making an advertisement look local and endearing to Indians is the glocal spin-off in advertising,” Vipin Dhayani, creative head of the Everest Brand Solutions, told IANS.

“When we see a spoofy campaign for MacDonald’s with Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar and Dharmendra look-alikes making us laugh, it immediately connects us to our very own Bollywood in such a way that we forget that MacDonald’s is an international brand,” the adman said.

Glocalisation is a product of globalisation and the local reaction to it, explains Zubin Driver, network creative director of the television channel CNBC’s TV18.

“The imperatives of business, transactions and intermingling cultures create a new bandwidth,” he said.

Glocalisation of the market and the media that is increasingly becoming fragmented to cater to niche audiences in Tier II cities and the semi-urban centres across the country have impacted advertising.

“I would say glocalisation really took off over the last five years. Most global brands now have local execution. At the end of the day, the needs and the wants of people are pretty similar. But if we use local idioms for a global brand, it makes sense to the local audience,” Nirvik Singh, CEO, Southeast Asia, Grey Worldwide Advertising, told IANS.

Consequently, distinctions between the national, local and international advertising agencies are gradually blurring as new challenges are emerging from abroad, especially in developing markets.

“Take the example of the HSBC campaign. In banking, understanding a micro-cultural universe is as important as delivering a ‘global’ understanding of the market place,” Driver said.

HSBC had launched an India-specific campaign with the tagline “We understand your point of view” panning the burning socio-cultural and environment issues in the country. And it followed it up with another campaign, “HSBC provides your solutions.”

Going by the fact that HSBC is a global financial entity, understanding India to position itself as an empathetic brand must have been a challenge, say industry experts. It involved building cross-cultural bridges.

According to David Gallagher, CEO and partner of London-based Ketchum, a leading advertising agency, the opportunities of a glocal market will reward agencies that can most adroitly bring their specialist expertise to the fore.

The internet has given a vital push to specialisation in a glocal market milieu. “The internet has spawned the growth of user-generated content and created a ‘bottom-up’ discourse in the consumption of the media globally,” Driver said.

The trend is forcing admen and marketing people across the world to innovate all the time. New delivery mechanisms, the recipe for brand survival in the glocalised era, are shaping how many touch points a new consumer has.

“The Pepsi Mycan web videos are a huge example of how engaging and interactive content has created new level of consumer interactions. I believe a ‘jugalbandi’ between medium and messaging will hold the key to understanding new age communication,” Driver said.

The Indian advertising industry, one of the biggest money spinners next to entertainment, is estimated at Rs.163 billion.

The trend, Dhayani felt, is here to stay. “In fact, it is getting larger by the day. India is a powerhouse in terms of consumerism. With its sound economy and population, it is obvious that MNCs will keep coming to India,” he said.

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