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Lever MD sees 'choice explosion'

By BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai
November 10, 2005 12:04 IST
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From an advertising standpoint, fast moving consumer goods is the only category that is touched the most by consumers. India offers a great opportunity for the classic marketer with its rapidly growing new middle class as well as a huge young population.

Addressing the AAAI diamond jubilee symposium titled 'The Future of advertising' in Mumbai today, Arun Adhikari, managing director, Hindustan Lever said, "The ratio of income earners to dependables is rising, and this will be one of the key factors for fuelling consumption growth in India. The FMCG market is projected to grow up to 9 per cent per annum and hence it is important for players to grow markets and not just shares."

Adhikari said for the advertising fraternity, the role ahead is clearly to play a more pivotal role and agencies need to catalyse this process and increase penetration.

A distinct change has also been witnessed in the market dynamics, with the mass segment improving their living standards.

That apart, with the choice explosion that today's consumer is faced with, the fight for a share in wallet is only becoming fiercer. Adds Adhikari, "The choice explosion has led to not only a fight between products within a category, but categories now competing with each other vying for a share of the wallet."

Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT India said, "We have evolved from an era of shortages to an era of plenty. And it is only choices galore that will drive and fuel markets. Advertising agencies need to upgrade themselves and be updated on the new media explosions. With increasing competition, advertisers are going to demand new levels of accountability from the advertising fraternity."

Advertising needs to look at categories as a whole and make it a lot more exciting and attractive enabling categories to compete beyond the share of wallet. Adhikari also threw light upon the fact that advertising professionals need to create advertising not for India but across India.

"Advertising today seems to be working in a narrow band width. The need for the hour is clearly to make advertising that works across the country."

On the opening up of retail, Adhikari stated that in time retail will provide another point of engagement for the brand. All the confluence of change factors has essentially made today's Indian a more confident and proud individual.

Concluded Adhikari, "It is important that the advertising fraternity make note of this changed Indian, as advertising needs to move from ads that were created for a set of insecure and under confident individuals, seeking approval from the West to a more confident and proud India that has belief in its own identity."
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BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai
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