For most Indians, Diwali brings with itself immense festive fervor that’s replete with fun, happiness, cheer, family-bonding, and of course, shopping.

For brands, however, this is the time when things heat up as they prepare to launch their branding and marketing efforts in full force in order to see sales. With cut-throat competition, all brands strive to dominate every media format and occupy consumers’ mindshare and heart-share at a time when they’re willing to spend.

It is a well-known fact that brands run several marketing activities including offers, promotions, discounts, and ad campaigns centered on Diwali festivities. In fact, consumers look forward to them. The initiatives are implemented with the intent of not only generating sales, but also creating a customer-friendly corporate brand image.

Smart marketers are well aware that customers are most likely to loosen their purse strings during festivals as this time is considered highly-auspicious for buying and gifting. Brands capitalize on this and rev up their branding and marketing efforts to make the most of the festive period.

Here’s how a few brands have been making the most of the festive season:

1. #UnboxDiwaliSale

Company: Snapdeal

snapdeal-unboxdiwali

India’s largest online marketplace, Snapdeal, announced on 12th September, 2016 the launch of its new brand identity, which aims to appeal to modern Indians. This was followed by the release of a short video on 23rd September, i.e. a little before Diwali. The video shows a little girl “unboxing” a Snapdeal package to find her new dress and twirling joyfully, calling is ‘Khushiyon ki chakri’. Post that, a voice-over declares the sale dates.

Another short video by Snapdeal spoke about ‘Excitement ka rocket’, with a little boy running around with his new pair of shoes, which he has just “unboxed”.

In the third video, the theme revolves around another Diwali-ish phrase, ‘Appreciation ka rassi bomb’, in which a family celebrates Diwali at home with the head of the family “unboxing” his present and subsequently having a gala time.

Additionally, Snapdeal also used their social media presence to announce certain contests to build customer engagement through interesting GIFs. All these activities mark the departure of Snapdeal from using influencer marketing in their campaigns and branding initiatives. However, the hashtag and the logo used by the brand have been revamped, and so has their box (packing) design. However, the word ‘Diwali’ has always been the highlight of these campaigns.

2. #BadeDilWale

Company: Amazon India

amazon-Badedilwale

Amazon India launched #BadeDilWale, its festive marketing campaign on 15th September, 2016. The primary concept of the campaign revolves around Diwali and focuses on how it is a great time to be a tad more indulgent than usual to make loved ones happy.

Amazon launched numerous videos that illustrate emotions and family ties, a theme that aims to appeal to the audiences’ heart and make Diwali a memorable family affair. The first one shows an elderly couple giving each other gifts, a young man spending his salary on Diwali gifts, and so on. Another video shows a father gifting his son a large-screen television and receiving a new cell phone from his father.

These videos were geared towards the Great Indian Festival, which Amazon held in October. The videos also aimed to create a strong call-to-action meant to encourage the audience to buy something for their loved ones (thereby being large-hearted), if not for themselves.

Ever since the launch of the #BadeDilWale campaign, Amazon consistently released creatives and videos with the view of engaging audiences and creating a strong recall value. They even organized the mega launch of their online sale in a music festival, which was televised on Viacom 18 channels.

To provide a further boost to the campaign, Amazon worked with Neha Dhupia, Shobha De and Tanmay Bhat, with each influencer speaking about the hatred imposed on them through comments and trolls for various reasons, and urging their followers to be #BadeDilWale. These videos engender the call-to-action of stopping hate and spreading peace and love by being #BadeDilWale.

3. #DiwaliDashSale

Company: OnePlus

oneplus-Diwalidashsale

Chinese handset manufacturers announced their very own Diwali Dash Sale in a bid to make the most of the Indian festive season. They declared that the sale will be held on their e-commerce store from October 24 to 26. It was conducted at 12PM, 4PM and 8Pm on all three days.

Participating in the contest involved four steps of registration on oneplusstore.in, which entailed account registration, mobile number verification, shipment address confirmation, and sharing the event details on at least one of their social media pages with the #OnePlusDiwaliDash

At the end of the contest, an applicant was to be picked through a lucky draw to answer a qualifying question. The correct answer will make him/her eligible to win one OnePlus 3 handset.

The #DiwaliDashSale not only capitalized on the festive season through its hashtag, it also tried to create a sense of urgency, exclusivity and urged customers make a dash for a sale that was going to last for a limited period.

4. “Don’t Wait for Diwali”

Company: Pepperfry

pepperfry-Don'twaitfordiwali

Who says you need to wait for the festive season for the sales to start, and to buy new furniture and decor for your home?

Pepperfry.com launched a marketing campaign this August, that told customers, “don’t wait for Diwali” or postpone you happiness to make your life better.

The campaign used real-life situations that ordinary people face in their day-to-day life, and persuaded them to buy what they need without waiting. It addressed the consumer beliefs directly and presented the Pepperfry “always available value” proposition.

The message “Iss Diwali kuch badal ke dekhiye” not only served a subtle suggestion, but also urged customers to act positively in their own interest.

Everyone purchases furniture to either fulfill a domestic need or to add beauty to their home. Through its campaign, Pepperfry positioned itself as a solution-provider for such needs.

The campaign worked on two premises:

a) Diwali is one of the major festivals in India with a strong social context, wherein people celebrate with family, friends and neighbours.
b) Human beings are essentially nice and helpful, but these characteristics are overshadowed by modern busy lifestyles.

Through their campaign, Pepperfry encouraged audiences to come closer in peace and unity.

5. Shubh Shuruaat

Company: Big Bazaar

bigbazaar-SubhShuruaat

Diwali is a time to celebrate the festival of lights, so have you brought your ‘paper patakhas’ out yet? In 2015, Big Bazaar emphasized on celebrating a safe, harmless Diwali with their ‘Paper Patakha’ campaign. Their new video ad was a continuation of the same idea and their ‘Shubh Shuruaat’ campaign.

The video starts at the billing counter at a Big Bazaar store. A little boy asks his mother to buy him crackers and she refuses. An employee of the store sees this and introduces the boy to a paper patakha (sounds similar to a fire cracker). The boy shares this idea with this friends and soon it becomes popular everywhere.

The video ends with the voice over introducing the ‘Shubh Shuruaat’ theme, with the society’s cleaner walking into it, looking surprised at the clean surroundings after Diwali night.

Through this campaign, Big Bazaar aimed to include everyone in the festivities. It tugged at people’s heartstrings with its concept of involving even those who get left out by saying that they deserve to a part of the merriment. The brand also tried to elicit the intrinsic quality of kindness in the audience and planted the thought of including everyone in the festivities, thereby making #YehDiwaliSabkiWali.

6. #DilonKiDiwali

Company: Hero MotoCorp

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World’s number one two-wheeler company, Hero MotoCorp’s new brand campaign #DilonKiDiwali was rolled out on October 24 this year with five television ads, numerous print ads, radio commercials, and a digital campaign. The campaign combined two celebrations: the company’s momentous milestone of selling over 70 million two-wheelers and the festive essence of Diwali.

In the first story, we see a father explaining about the significance of Diwali celebrations to his son. The second story has a happy couple riding the Hero Duet scooter. The next story shows a young girl who wishes her grandparents in person rather than on FaceTime. In the fourth story, a man cancels his Diwali plans with his brother because he’s stuck at work. His brother then hops on his Hero Maestro Edge and reaches the office to celebrate Diwali with him. The fifth video revolves around a man celebrating Diwali with kids in an orphanage by bringing them gifts.

As the hashtag suggests, #DilonKiDiwali was about uniting people during the festivities by revisiting old traditions and creating new ones. With the help of its five ads, Hero MotoCorp attempted to capitalize on the spirit of Diwali by narrating stories of people brought together by its most popular Hero two-wheelers.

7. #RoshniDilKi

Company: Luminous Power Technologies

luminous-Roshinidilki

Diwali is a time when almost every brand comes up with offers and discounts and bombards customers with them. Luminous Power Technologies, however, chose to present audiences with a one-of-a-kind social campaign with #RoshniDilKi

Diwali is called the festival of lights, which also has to do with illuminating people’s lives by spreading cheer and positivity. This fervor has been captured by Luminous, which is India’s leading electrical solutions provider. This is a very clever move because it is in keeping with the brand identity of Luminous.

Luminous gets it message across with the help of legendary lyricist and poet, Gulzar, by reminding the audience that there is more to Diwali than bright lights and crackers. For this special initiative, Gulzar has written an earnest poem venerating the auspiciousness of the festival. The poem says that the crux of the festive season lies in the goodness and the light in people’s hearts.

Few would disagree if it is said that social media and ecommerce websites are inundated with campaigns by various brands competing for customers’ attention. However, Luminous has been different in their approach.

The heartwarming poem for #RoshniDilKi received an upbeat response from the followers of Luminous on their social media pages. The powerful campaign struck a chord with the audience, especially because Luminous did what most brands don’t. It presented audiences with a campaign which was anything, but sales and promotions-oriented. This approach came a breath of fresh air for most social media users.

8. Quirky Ad

Company: Netflix India

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If you’re done with the usual run-of-the-mill kind of ads, Netflix India has something out-of-the-ordinary for you. The renowned online streaming service released a quirky ad with Bollywood director, Anurag Kashyap. The ad takes a dig at other brands and their conventional typecast Diwali campaigns, while promoting itself.

Using sarcasm as its theme, the ad presents audiences with every stereotype that brands use in their Diwali ads. From brightly-lit homes, lanterns and floating candles, children playing with crackers, family members giving each other gifts, to the entire family getting together to celebrate the festival, this ad shows all of the shenanigans.

The ad concludes with the protagonist asking the audience, “Why are you still watching this ad?” The voice over then broadcasts that Diwali ads may never change, but your entertainment options definitely can with Netflix.

This ad may be nothing like the quintessential Diwali ads that we see every year, but it has certainly tried to capitalize on the festival to make its point.

Conclusion

As marketing efforts get competitive, brands seem to be inclined towards engaging with customers, rather than merely focusing on sales. Creativity is the key in coming up with marketing and branding exercises that will create a lasting impression on customers’ minds.

Further, brands are constantly upping their game to stand out in the crowd by branching into different mediums. Content that appeals not only to the minds, but also the hearts of audiences seems to have become the game-changer for many brands.

(Image Credits:
All the images designed by E2M
Logos of respective brands taken from their websites.)