India's luxury brands look to mass media

19 September 2014

NEW DELHI: Luxury brands in India are experimenting with the use of mass media, including upmarket cinemas and high-definition TV channels, to reach a larger set of potential consumers.

According to Gautam Dutta, chief operating officer at film exhibitor PVR, the share that luxury brands now contribute to the company's income from advertising stands at 20% and growing, up from almost nothing a few years ago.

He listed luxury carmakers and watch brands, luxury real estate projects and fashion brands among the advertisers who were running campaigns in its more swanky outlets. "The guy who can pay Rs 1,500 for a movie ticket is a discerning audience and the right target for these companies and brands," he told the Economic Times.

It was a sentiment that chic jewellery designer Nirav Modi agreed with. "Everyone watches films in India," he said, making it a great way to reach a wider audience. "But what you show and where has to be chosen wisely," he cautioned.

Where once luxury brands might have restricted themselves to the pages of luxury magazines or airport billboards, some have gone so far as to embrace television. Forest Essentials, for example, a cosmetics brand that markets itself as luxury Ayurveda, is sponsoring three programmes on high-definition TV channels for its next campaign.

"It is possible to break down the kind of audience we want to reach out to rather than addressing a large crowd," said Samrath Bedi, executive director of Forest Essentials. He argued that the variety of quality content now available on TV meant the medium could offer the right value to luxury brands.

And The Collective, a multi-brand retail store chain selling premium and luxury merchandise, is considering putting out ads through digital video recorders. "It is just a thought at the moment, but would be an interesting way to target the consumer who is not aware about the brand," said marketing head Amit Pandey.

"The view is that a lot of wastage happens on mass media, but with so much new money in India, there is a huge opportunity to tap the new consumers," he added.

This trend is being driven in part by the spread of wealth beyond the major cities. As the Financial Express reported, non-metro regions account for around 45% of growth opportunities for luxury brands. And these new markets are also leading an increasing number of brands to localise their products or even customise them for occasions such as weddings.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Financial Express; additional content by Warc staff