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How Can Brands Cut through during Festivals?


BBDO Indonesia's executive creative director Syeda Ayesha on the three principles that helped her market P&G during the festival of Eid

How Can Brands Cut through during Festivals?
Marketing calendars and budgets are being increasingly punctuated by festivals. Religious festivals. Cultural festivals. Sports festivals. And now mega-shopping events are becoming their own festivals.  

As these festivals expand, so does the cluster of advertising aiming to build goodwill and sales. But the cluster becomes an impenetrable clutter when all the advertisers converge on festivals with similar messages and promotions. So how can brands cut through this festival clutter more effectively?  Based on some recent success with P&G’s “Maaf Ibu”, which we developed to mark Idul Fitri in Indonesia, I can share the following three guiding principles to help brands cut through during festivals.  

1. Focus on the emotions of connection, not on the selling 

We are nothing without emotions. Emotions sprout from our roots, culture, belief, people, upbringing, feelings, relationships, and acceptance. Emotions help us connect better with everyone around us, even brands.  

Festivals help us build deep connections with each other. Whether it’s the religious festivity on Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali or Christmas - or honoring our loved ones and traditions during Mother or Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Olympics, etc. - these festivals fulfil our need to be united around shared experiences. 

When you need to stand out, brands need to strike a chord within the hearts of consumers by tapping into our universal desire for connection.  

2. Find a contemporary way to re-interpret the essential meaning of the festival 

Too often our advertising gets fixated on the superficial rituals of the festival and overlooks the essential reason we celebrate and value it.  Festivals remind us of the timeless power of our values; great festival advertising reminds us of the power of festivals to do just that, despite the distractions of the modern world.  

This often requires us to explore shadow emotions: guilt, longing, frustration and loneliness, for which festivals and their promise of connection often act as a source of redemption.    

With “Maaf Ibu”, we wanted to acknowledge the role of ‘Mom’ in helping us pass the tests of our lives.  So, we went deeper and explored how it would feel if a daughter wanted to acknowledge her Mother when she is no longer around. But Lebaran turned out to be different this year; for the first time, so many Indonesians were not able to visit their parents. Connecting all the dots, we showed how Idul Fitri provided her with the peace and reassurance that she remained profoundly connected, a reminder to all of us of the true meaning of the festival, and the ever-shining role of ‘Mom’ in our lives.    


3. Provide interesting new ways to participate in the spirit of the festival

So many brands jump on the bandwagon of festivals, wrapping themselves up in the clothes of the festival.  Instead of drawing value from the festival, I believe brands should contribute meaningfully to the festival experience.  It might be by creating new conversations to help us reflect on and enjoy the festival. It might be some digital utility by which we can engage in new and interesting ways.  It might be special edition products or packaging that generously contributes to our sense of togetherness and appreciation of the festival.  

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BBDO Asia, Fri, 04 Dec 2020 11:53:02 GMT