NEW DELHI: An increasing number of brands in India are buying up broadcasters' advertising inventories for an entire day, in an effort not only to promote their products, but also to differentiate themselves in what is becoming a highly crowded market.

Vodafone, the telecoms provider, was seen as the pioneer of this strategy in the Asian nation, having forged such a deal with Star Network in 2007, as discussed in more detail here.

The UK-based firm adopted this approach in order to communicate the rebranding of the Hutch network, which it acquired that year, to the same name as its new parent company.

Priti Murthy, national director of Insights, the research arm of Maxus, said "Vodafone's roadblock initiative with Star brought in 90% to 95% brand recall and opened up a new avenue for advertisers wanting to make a splash."

These "roadblocks" are also useful in "helping the big spenders create a non-competitive space and, hence, break out of the clutter," she added.

Over the last 12 months, MTV has run similar schemes with multinational firms like Nokia, the mobile specialist, and Cadbury, the confectionery group.

ITC, the consumer packaged company, also used this ploy in order to promote the portfolio of products that made up its snack brand Bingo.

Similarly, in September this year, Hindustan Unilever, one of India's biggest advertisers, employed this format on two separate occasions.

The first saw it take all of the commercial slots available across Star India's stable of ten different channels, which was estimated to have cost the company around 8 crore rupees.

Following on from this, the FMCG operator took over the 25 channels on the Zee Network to market brands like Axe, Dove, Rin and Surf Excel, in a deal thought to have been worth 10 crore rupees.

Star has also agreed to a future tie-up for its online platform, where a pre-roll execution for Tata Photon Plus, the mobile broadband service, will feature before all videos streamed by web users over a five-day period.

Data sourced from Livemint; additional content by WARC staff