Why adland can’t do without Experiential

28 Oct,2015


By Brian Tellis


The only constant is change. This may be terribly clichéd, but it continues to ring true. Change – or, contextually, managing change – is about acceptance and adaptation. It is never one without the other. You either accept and go with the flow, or get left behind.


At Fountainhead, I firmly believe that to be relevant to us – now, more than ever. In this technology age, change is forcing itself upon virtually every industry; but, I suspect, to an alarming degree in the world of advertising and marketing.


1. Evolve to Survive

In the past decade or so, one has seen a remarkable change in the way marketers are pushing their business. The marketplace is teeming with brands that are constantly jostling with each other for the consumer’s mindspace. There can be no let up, because marketing is war. The battle lines are drawn and the writing is on the wall: Evolve and stay relevant, or step aside and perish.


2. Touch-feel Marketing is King

This has thrown up an interesting situation. The consumer is now looking for a ‘touch-and-feel’ experience. Just seeing and hearing isn’t enough. The paradigm has shifted beyond mainline advertising. Enter experiential marketing, whose time has clearly come.


And come it certainly has. Just look at the numbers – It is already a Rs 5,000-crore industry, and happily growing at 15 per cent CAGR. No longer is it advertising’s country cousin. Experiential marketing is now a law unto itself.


3. Engage the Consumer

This growth is being fuelled by three pipelines. The consumer’s demand for live interaction; sports, music and festivals growing exponentially as mediums of engagement; and, most importantly, brand marketers increasing their spends on live consumer engagement.


4. Blurred Boundaries

These elements of change are making experiential an eminently essential part of the advertising and marketing mix. Its importance and relevance is growing by the day. It stands tall as a confirmed marketing vertical – and proudly so. The lines between ground and TV events are blurring fast. IPL is a prime example in consideration – is it a ground event or TV content? Likewise, game shows and awards nights…


Corporate entities have come to appreciate the importance of rewards and recognition programmes for their employees and dealers. Creating interactive intellectual properties like sports tournaments, music festivals and cultural celebrations are the order of the day.


The doubts have evaporated. Today, it’s apparent that for any advertising and marketing campaign to be effective, it has to embrace the experiential quotient. It isn’t even the case of tail-wagging-dog. Experiential marketing is getting to be top dog in its own right. It’s exciting days for the experiential industry ahead. What it brings to the table perfectly complements advertising and marketing’s offering. This symbiotic cross-leverage makes available to the client a truly complete and comprehensive bouquet of services. It’s a scenario where everybody wins.


Brian Tellis is Chairman, Fountainhead Entertainment. Last week, Dentsu Aegis Network acquired the leading events and activation company.


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