No ideas. Advertising and  Green Causes in India

(PC: HardiPithva)

Kia motors,  one of the leading Asian car manufacturers revealed their Eco Hybrid car the Kia Niro with a promotional advertisement campaign focusing on global green issues. Featuring well known Hollywood actor Melissa McCarthy,  the advertisement was first released on one of the 2017 Super Bowl commercial spots, which is the biggest and most expensive sporting event in the United States for advertisers.The ad is a fun, but relevant take on the many environmental issues plaguing the world, which Ms McCarthy gamely tries to tackle in her Kia Hybrid. (Click here to watch the video: )

Strangely enough, in India, we rarely see such a strong pitch to connect with environment causes when it comes to consumer advertising.

The focus shift from basic public appeal advertisements to those which explored environmental issues started only a few years back with companies like Lifebuoy and Kissan coming out with Little Gandhi and Plant a Tree campaign respectively. Both the campaigns were well received by the public but the lack of follow ups from the companies effectively killed the campaigns. Airtel and Idea among other network and service providers like banks in the country have come up with plans to stop distributing paper bills by urging their customers to shift to e-billing methods. These have been very well received by the public, but companies have not invested in any form of advertisement campaigns to promote these to the public.

While speaking to IAmRenew about the issue, Priti Nair, who heads a leading advertisement firm Curry Nation said, “By and large the numbers may be few but around five years back you have started seeing ads that take up the issue with Lifebuoy’s Little Gandhi, Tang’s Street Cleaning, the Kissan Plant a Tree campaign, Suzlon PAL what comes to mind off hand”

Nair also added, “Guess the evaluation is, if it is going to directly impact the brand or will it be money spent on social messaging without doing anything for the brand. Television and print advertising is enormously expensive today and marketers will use their budget to sharply focus communication on what drives the brand.”

Pointing out that in the current market, only very large brands with large budgets for multiple communications will think about promoting a Social and/or an Environmental cause in their ad campaigns.

A second reason cited by an ad professional, who asked to remain unidentified, is sheer consumer apathy. “In India, marketers have repeatedly discovered that green causes do not move the needle when it comes to consumer engagement and campaign performance. That has led to only firms with high environmental impact to talk about their positive contributions or mitigation of their impact.”

Of course, with some of the poorest enforcement of environment rules and regulations, besides complicated compliance issues, brands might simply be keeping off because no one quite knows when they might be in contravention of  rule or law.

Will consumer attitudes drive change? That is what Iamrenew is in the market for too, and we certainly hope they will!


By Ayush Verma

Published on: Apr 3, 2018 


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