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India wins 25 awards at D&AD

As opposed to just three awards in 2013, India has bagged 25 awards this year and moved to the 9th position globally. At the D&AD Awards 2014, Indian creativity received huge recognition, with 25 awards being handed out to Indian entrants, three of which are contenders for the Yellow Pencil as nominated work. The Yellow Pencils will be awarded in May. In 2013, India achieved just two In Book awards and no nominated entries. The results have got India to the 9th position at the global table, consolidating the Indian creative community's reputation on the international stage. Ogilvy & Mather India earned two nominations in Graphic Design and Crafts for Design for its work on WWF India; and a further four In Books in Outdoor Advertising category. McCann Erickson India is the most awarded agency from India, earning 10 In Book awards and a nomination in the White Pencil category for its Share My Dabba campaign for Happy Life Welfare, The Dabbawala Foundation. Some of the other entries are BBDO India's 'Stick it with Art for D'Monte Park'; and Taproot India's 'Farmer Suicide' for The Times of India. In all, 683 awards were handed out at the event, as opposed to 614 in the previous year. Globally, at this stage (before the Yellow Pencils are awarded on May 22), Grey London has raked in the highest number (19) of awards, including two nominations and 17 In Books. In-Book, Yellow Pencil, White Pencil and Black Pencil awards are given away to entries chosen under different categories such as Outdoor Advertising, Advertising, Art Direction, Art, Blogging, Brand Development, Copywriting and many others. Jury members such as Kartik Iyer (Happy Creative), Raj Kurup (Creativeland Asia), Tista Sen (JWT India), Ram Sinam (Trapeze) and Sujata Keshavan (Ray+Keshavan | Brand Union) were a few members of the Indian creative industry invited to judge entries at the awards.

Leading Makeup Brands Choose the Activation Route to Woo Female Shoppers

This is the season for makeovers and brands like L'Oreal, Lakme, Avon and Colorbar have been making the most of it through mall activations and consumer engagement campaigns leveraging them to generate higher visibility, increased product trials and a steep rise in sales. Vibgyor Brand Services, India's leading experiential marketing agency, has been working on campaigns for these cosmetic brands wooing shoppers by promising them free makeovers, style tips and tricks, calendar models doing impromptu jigs and a shot at 15 minutes of fame, complete with a framed photograph to capture these moments for life. Commenting on the trend, Dhruv Kalra, Marketing Director at Vibgyor Brand Services says, "Advertising is limited in scope. Brands are looking for experiences that can create a lasting impact on their consumers and BTL activations are helping them do just that. Also, the results that they have seen have been extremely encouraging and we have been able to develop some of our campaigns for make up brands into full-fledged properties that have been happening year after year now. L'Oreal has been leading the pack with two properties, Love in Paris and Maybelline Karwachauth that have been recurring campaigns for the last three and five years respectively. Kicked off during Valentine's Day, Love in Paris brings a scene straight from the most gorgeous city on earth into malls recreating the cobbled streets, vintage dressing rooms and a life-size replica of the Eiffel Tower. Women have been feeling the love for this brand in turn as each year the section sees record footfalls with women making a beeline for the nail art and makeover bars. Colorbar, another leading brand has made the most of its activation campaigns by doubling its sales over weekends in December and January, earlier this year, through pop-up experience zones. These large format zones had stunning displays of the entire range with glamorous makeover zones that had shoppers take notice immediately. The brand also had Kingfisher calendar models sashay down the ramp and show some seriously glam moves that brought the mall to a standstill. Sales for Colorbar shot up during the campaign and the campaign saw a round two in the following month. Lakme used the mall activation platform to give women a chance to be at Lakme Fashion Week 2014. Launching their Eyeconickajal and CC Cream in malls across Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata and Guwahati, their Colors of Love campaign saw makeover and nail art stations that offered a funky new look to shoppers. Explaining the rise in popularity of these experience zones, especially amongst beauty brands, Kalra added, "Makeovers have increasingly become a sure-shot way to induce brand trials and have worked very well especially in new product launches.

Google+ trumps Twitter & Facebook in engaging social referrals

A study by content discovery and sharing firm Shareaholic titled "Social Referrals That Matter" says that social platforms like Google+ and LinkedIn drive few, but more engaged social referrals compared to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Shareaholic looked at the average time per visit, pages per visit, and bounce rate for visitors referred to their network of sites from each of the top 8 social media platforms. The "Social Referrals That Matter" report, say the authors, was created to answer a simple question— What is our behaviour post-click, when we actually interact with a link one of our friends shared socially? The researchers looked at 6 months of data (Sept'13 – Feb'14) across Shareaholic's network of 200,000+ sites reaching more than 250 million unique monthly visitors to get a sense of which social network drives the most engaged visitors. Current advertiser favourites—Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, suggests the findings, might not be as great as we expect them to be, if judged from the point of view of referrals. According to the study, all three lagged behind platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn and even Google + across all the three metrics. YouTube drives the most engaged traffic, with referrals having the lowest average bounce rate (43.19 per cent) the highest pages per visit (2.99) and the longest visit duration (227.82 seconds). These figures suggest videos are driving engagement. This further reinforces the belief that video content will probably emerge as the biggest driver for audience engagement going forward. For example, Mahindra Holidays is currently engaged in creating video testimonials of their customers which the company plans to upload on YouTube and Vimeo and amplify through the Facebook page. Deepali Naair, CMO, Mahindra Holidays& Resorts, agreed that video content increased engagement. "For the travel and hospitality segment, what we have seen is that videos offer a more enriching experience," she added. The case with Google+ and LinkedIn is different since both drive very few referrals as compared to Twitter and Facebook, but the Shareaholic study suggests that though they might be weak in volume, the quality of the referrals is quite high. For example, Google+users spend around three minutes (on an average)exploring links shared by their circles, view 2.45 pages/visit, and bounce only 50.63 percent of the time. Compare this with Facebook, which has an average time on site of just around two minutes, with a bounce rate of 56.35 per cent and average pages per visit of around two. Also, according to the study, there is only a minute difference between Facebook and Twitter when it comes to referrals. Pinterest users also seem to have fewer proclivities to explore, with a bounce rate of 56.35 per cent and the lowest pages per visit (1.71) and time on site (64.67 seconds) among the top six.

If we take Shareaholic's study at face value, LinkedIn and Google+ might seem the best platforms for a business for engagement, but we have to also keep in mind the kind of content which is shared. For example, a link to a news article might probably generate more page/views, while a link to a YouTube video will most likely result in more time spent on site. As much as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest might lack in this area, they more than make up in terms of volumes. Also, not every brand campaign might be about getting people to spend time exploring their property. The only concern for brands should be putting up engaging and interesting content, irrespective of the platform. In this respect, the old wisdom about content being more important than the medium definitely holds true.

Digital media drives political advertising to record high

India has over 150 million first-time voters, around 100 million Facebook users, and 30 million Twitter and WhatsApp users. Political parties have spent around 15 per cent of their Rs 2,000-crore advertising budgets for this year's Lok Sabha elections on the online medium. In comparison, they had spent almost nothing on digital campaigns in the previous general elections in 2009. Estimates by the country's largest media agency network, GroupM, indicate that national and regional political parties spent 50 per cent of their campaign advertising budgets this year on television, nearly 15 per cent online, 10 per cent on the print media, and the rest on radio and outdoor displays. "Print has taken a back seat," said C V L Srinivas, chief executive officer, GroupM (South Asia). Political parties preferred outdoor displays, besides radio, television and the digital platform, he pointed out. Srinivasan said the big spending online was part of a political strategy to woo first-time voters. The most effective way to reach them was digitally, he added. India has over 150 million first-time voters, around 100 million Facebook users, and 30 million Twitter and WhatsApp users. According to Jwalant Swaroop, former chief operating officer of Lokmat Media and now an independent media analyst, half the political advertising in 2009 went into the print media, while television received around 30 per cent and radio and outdoor displays accounted for the rest. Political advertising this year does not mirror corporate trends. GroupM estimates suggest 6.5 per cent of the total advertising spend of Rs 38,500 crore went into the online medium in 2013. With heavy political spending this year, digital platforms could corner eight per cent of all advertising revenue. mNot just the pattern, the amount of political advertising has also changed significantly. "Political parties this year have spent around Rs 2,000 crore on advertising and publicity. They spent a fourth of that in 2009," said Harish Shriyan, chief operating officer, Omnicom Media Group India. m"The ruling party (Congress) is fighting a strong anti-incumbency factor, so it has to invest in advertising and promotion. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the other hand, is riding a wave, so it has to invest as well to keep the momentum going. And, the regional parties have to ensure their respective constituencies in their states are intact. It is a do-or-die situation for many," he added. The Congress began its campaign almost two months ago. BJP, which started last month, has peppered major cities with billboards carrying images of its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. The Modi wave is also visible online - YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are bombarded with messages and videos by Modi's campaign team. Voters are also treated to television advertisements and text messages celebrating Modi's work in Gujarat and BJP's policies in general. "The strategies used by the two national parties are vastly different," said Swaroop. "The Congress opted for a gradual build-up. BJP chose to wait till the end. The idea was to catch the voter as polls neared," he added. Political parties have also used below-the-line activities - from rallies to roadshows to door-to-door canvassing - to reach out to voters. While this is common in political campaigning, media experts said the number of rallies addressed by politicians in elections this time was much higher.

Goafest 2014 announces agenda, speakers

The Goafest Organising Committee has released the first list of speakers for Goafest 2014 Knowledge Seminars. While the focus was on international speakers in the earlier editions, this year the Knowledge Seminars will have a good mix of international, inspirational, spiritual speakers and speakers on innovative aspects. This is based on a survey among the last three years' Goafest delegates. Arvind Sharma, President, Advertising Agencies Association of India, says, "Based on the findings of this survey, we have put together a very special list of speakers for Goafest delegates to listen to and interact with." For the Knowledge Seminars, the initial set of names include Preethi Mariappan (ECD, Razorfish, Germany); Melanie Varley (chief strategy officer, global, MEC); Norm Johnson (chief digital officer, Mindshare); Alicia Souza (illustration designer/artist/ e-commerce entrepreneur); Shravan Kumaran and Sanjay Kumaran (youngest app developers in India); and a group known as AIB (All India Bakchod); Devdutt Pattanaik (mythologist, author, leadership); D K Hema and Hema Hari (founders, BharathGyan). Scheduled to be held on May 29-31, Goafest 2014 will be hosted by The Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, North Goa. Continuing on the platform of learning, celebrating, fellowship and fun, Goafest 2014 will have exhibitions of shortlisted award entries, entertainment programmes, rain dance, foam dance, beach and adventure sports on all the days.

Operation Black Dot registers 40,000 first time voters

Operation Black Dot (OBD) is an initiative by DDB MudraMax and Thincquisitive Foundation to help make voting easy, engaging and fun for the urban youth. OBD aims to bring about a shift in the way youth looked at voting by breaking down politics and making it more engaging and inclusive. It has effectively registered 40,000 first time youth voters to exercise their fundamental right. The aim was to present conventional political discourse in a format which interests the below-25 age group as well as explain important political events/facts. At one level the team worked in 60 campuses across the city, helping students make their voter IDs by use of cutting edge technology to quicken the process and at another also conducting such engagements to generate awareness leading up to the 2014 General Elections. Leading up to the date, OBD will help them understand current issues and interact with potential candidates in a manner which is relatable and interesting. From October through January, all six constituencies of Mumbai had a group of 10 campus ambassadors per college. Their task was to get students to make their voters' ID card. Two cause ambassadors per constituency supported their outreach campaign. To simplify the process, the OBD team worked in collaboration with the Election Commission. OBD hosted its very first 'Hangout' with Priya Dutt (MP, Mumbai North Central) and latest with Mayank Gandhi (Member, Aam Aadmi Party) at Bandstand Amphitheatre in Mumbai wherein students and young professionals from their constituency got a chance to have to engage with them to question, debate and deliberate as to how they can collaboratively find solutions to matters concerning them and their area in an informal setting. Through a series of such events with elected representatives and candidates from other parties across the city, the team shall enable youngsters to make an informed vote in the upcoming elections. Speaking about the initiative, Samyak Chakrabarty, Founder, Operation Black Dot and Chief Youth Marketer, DDB Mudra Group, said: "OBD has been able to successfully convey that political discourse does not always have to be conventional and can be disseminated in a format which appeals to the younger generation. From putting Member of Parliaments on a Bean Bag at youth hangouts to catchy videos on complex parliamentary affairs, we are making an attempt to bridge the gap between policy makers and young citizens. Going forward, our intent is to continue this movement and find more innovative methods to keep young India engaged with political affairs." Commenting on the initiative, Pratap Bose, COO, DDB Mudra Group, said: "The whole concept of voting has always been looked as an activity that is to be addressed and taken upon by the older generation. It is the youth of our country who are going to play a significant role in building the Indian economy and tend to the future of our nation. It was hence important for us to not only change the face of voting, to make it appealing to the youth, but also provide guidance, help them understand the nature of politics and also reiterate the fact that they can make a difference." Adding further, Mandeep Malhotra, President, DDB MudraMax, said: "Today, the demographics of India shows that 50% of the population is under the age of 25 years and more than 65% below 35-years of age. With this staggering figure in mind, OBD aims to give the opportunity to young India to develop the nation from where it is today. They are the future. Hence, these are the most exciting times for the first time voter. The youngsters have already realized their importance and are slowly starting to learn the ideologies of politics. For me on the other hand, it has been a great experience contributing on-ground, learning and observing. I felt like being the guy on the outside watching youngsters being wooed and educated about politics in India. They were all buzzing with exuberance and excitement to get there voters ID Cards and attend the sessions."

Pantaloons holds 'Fashion Friday' to mark its revamp

Pantaloons' flagship store at High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel recently got a complete makeover. To mark the occasion of the re-opening, the store held a fashion show called Fashion Friday. The launch of Fashion Friday saw a spectacular fashion show showcasing Pantaloons Spring Summer 14 Collection - a collection conceptualized and created by Pantaloons Design Studio along with leading in-house designers of the country. The event was crafted as a day when fashion meets fun and involved games, fashion tips and sale offers. Actors Varun Dhawan and Illeana D'Cruz launched the show by walking down the ramp. This was also a part of their promotions for their latest movie, Main Tera Hero. Commenting on the occasion, Shital Mehta, CEO, Pantaloons Fashion & Retail Ltd. said, "It gives me immense pleasure to launch Fashion Friday at our new revamped store at High Street Phoenix. The essence of this consumer engaging initiative is in keeping with our guiding mantra –In love with fashion. This addresses the young and peppy consumers of Pantaloons who believe in making most of the weekend even before it begins." The store's new look epitomizes the new Pantaloons –exclusive brands that define your fashion, a new design ethos, new brands that pamper your choice and innovative silhouettes that redefine your wardrobe without creating a very big hole in your pocket. The plush ambiance, vibrant visual merchandising and contemporary fixtures reflects Pantaloons promise of making one fall in love with fashion, Spreading across 50,000 sq ft, and three floors the store has something new for everyone. The new store houses over 100 prestigious brands including Pantaloons most successful in-house brands - Rangmanch, Trishaa, Akkriti, Ajile, Lombard, RIG, Bare, Annabelle, Honey and Chalk. Also present are popular brands like Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England.

Hyundai Wins Over Cricket Fans with the Hyundai ICC Fan Park

Hyundai Motors India Limited, through its sponsorship association with the International Cricket Council, has brought alive the Hyundai ICC Fan Park, a dedicated screening zone for all the matches of the ongoing ICC World T20 matches in nine cities around the country. The intent of setting up the Fan Park is to enable cricket fans to watch the World T20 in an engaging, fun-filled environment. The nine cities that feature the Fan Park are – Delhi NCR: Cyber Hub (Gurgaon) and Select City Walk (Saket), Mumbai: High Street Phoenix (Lower Parel), Chennai: Express Avenue, Bengaluru: Forum Value Mall, Hyderabad: Prasad I Max, Kolkata: South City, Lucknow: Phoenix United, Ahmedabad: Alpha One and Jaipur: Pink Square. With this activity, Hyundai is promoting their newest sedan, the Xcent, which will be staged at all nine venues. Other attractions include a 3D structure of the Xcent covered with 4000 cricket balls for fans to write messages for their favourite team and a 48 feet long Giant Cricket bat that also serves as a stage for the car. While the 3D structure has been placed at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon, the bat can be found at The Great India Place mall in Noida. Speaking on the genesis of the activation, Mr. Rakesh Srivastava Sr. VP – Sales and Marketing, HMIL said 'We are a young, fast-moving brand and are constantly looking to share experiences with our customers. Throughout the world we have extensively explored associations with various sports because we believe it conveys our brand qualities of energy and enthusiasm. Through the ICC Fan Parks, we wished to create a fun-filled atmosphere for fans to come and see our brand through cricket. We have also used this platform to give fans an opportunity to touch and feel our products. This, we feel, will build a close relationship with them. We have also extended this idea across our digital assets using Facebook, Twitter and a Blue by Heart website.'

Prague reveals the future of Congress Tourism at its seminar

The current trends and key drivers for success in the meeting industry were revealed and discussed at the 3rd International Educational Seminar organized by the Prague Convention Bureau. This year's seminar held at the Designhotel Elephant's meeting facilities in Prague attracted more than 110 representatives of local regional and foreign convention bureaux, professional congress organizers, local representatives of associations, public authorities, universities and media. The seminar was opened by Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of German Convention Bureau, who introduced his study - Meetings and Conventions 2030. "This extensive study defines five key megatrends that shape the congress industry. More than 40% of respondents said that technological development is the most important megatrend which will play the key role in further development of congress tourism and event planning," said Schultze. He further added: "New forms of information and knowledge transfer will strongly influence all phases of event planning. This study shows that virtual elements are more frequently becoming integral parts of events, and we can expect that the number of virtual events will continue to grow. Other megatrends that were defined by the study are globalization, mobility, sustainability and demography." The second part of the seminar focused on case studies on the importance of strategic partnership. Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA, said: "It is essential that hotels, conference facilities and other conference service providers closely cooperate with local convention bureaux and act together as one 'city team.' It is also necessary to establish broader cooperation – on the national as well as international level. Nowadays, it is becoming a necessity to look for suitable partners for particular activities and diversify those partnerships according to the purpose of these activities." Bruce Redor from Gaining Edge introduced models of partnerships that work in different European convention bureaux, including their models of financing. The event was held under the auspices of the Deputy Mayor of Prague, Václav Novotný. The main partners of the seminar were the City of Prague, CzechTourism/ Czech Convention Bureau, Prague Airport, Prague City Tourism and Designhotel Elephant, Mikenopa as the technological partner and E15, C.O.T. media publishing house and Event & Promotion magazine as media partners.

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