Digitally Speaking: article in Financial Express

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An article of mine was published in the Financial Express today. Here is the link to the article. And a newspaper view of the same from the epaper edition.

A couple of thoughts on the article and the topic:

The article wasn’t meant to be a rant of ‘how bad things are’. I don’t know if readers (if any) got that impression. It started off as a review of the digital scenario in India and the reliance on mass media activities – even to promote online properties. A case in point would be the Yahoo! campaign currently splashed all over traditional media. While Gang of Girls could afford it, I am not sure if all brands can. Save for some niche categories which can afford to capture a substantial portion of their audience online, most of the categories which use traditional media to create awareness do resort to the same media to promote their online property. Did you know that Nestle India has a downloadable mobile app that gives you tips on recipes and wellness? When it’s promoted through TV and print ads, it will be known to many.

Another issue about digital campaigns in India is one of talent. Many of the youngsters who come into the industry drool over the juicy 5-ad TV campaign and the potential visibility. Doubt if they react the same way to a social media or online campaign. Maybe it will change over time – it takes one campaign in the digital space to get global recognition and one superstar to be born. Their will be others who’d want to emulate them. The old Kapil Dev, Imran Khan story. And institutions like MICA and Xaviers will perhaps include Digital Media (if they don’t already) in their curriculum.

On CNBC’s Storyboard the other day, there was a discussion on the same topic and one of the panelists said that most online creatives in India don’t use the power of the medium – interactivity – very well. They are usually print ads placed online. I wouldn’t agree with it totally but such a phenomenon exists. It is perhaps because of guys who think traditional media working on this specialist medium? Or the mass media guys having an upper hand? In an era of specialist digital agencies, that is ironic.

Do share your thoughts.

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