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A string of campaigns has kept the social media buzz alive in the run-up to Diwali and the IPL finale. Mondelez India-owned chocolate brand Cadbury won hearts for its tech-backed innovative campaign to support local retailers, while jewellery brand Tanishq faced the ire of a section of netizens for promoting a cracker-free Diwali in its latest advertisement.

A slew of brands across categories, such as Zomato, Amazon Prime, Lay’s, and Airtel, also partnered with other brands to reach similar target groups and boost consumption amid the pandemic. Cadbury, on the other hand, chose to promote small-scale local retailers through its campaign.

Staying true to its Kuch Achha Ho Jaye, Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye tagline, Cadbury India created a sweet surprise for more than 1,800 local businesses across the country. It leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) to create a hyper-personalized ad by reaching out to local retailers, across 260 pin codes, to promote their businesses. Created by advertising agency Ogilvy India, the campaign went viral across YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Every time the ad is seen by a user in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Indore, Ahmedabad or Lucknow, it shows local stores around a specific area against the product category and thus prompts viewers to buy from a local store.

“This year warrants acts that signify new beginnings and the potential of goodness in an imperfect world, and our recent Cadbury Celebrations campaign infuses this thought at the back of evoking generosity," said Anil Viswanathan, senior director, marketing (chocolates), insights and analytics, Mondelez India.

Naresh Gupta, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Bang In The Middle, found the use of technology interesting in the Cadbury ad. However, he pointed out the underlying issues, primarily, the difficulty to scale such an innovation. “A lot of people who did see the ad did not find the right local retailer details and, finally, it actually did very little for the local businesses it was to promote," he said. Yet he lauded the brand for its effort and hoped it would motivate more brands, possibly in the omnichannel shopping category, that could make it work better.

Jewellery brand Tanishq, however, faced social media backlash for its Diwali ad, which promoted celebrating a cracker-free festival. The ad in question featured Bollywood actors Neena Gupta, Alaya Furniturewala, Nimrat Kaur, and Sayani Gupta talking about the way they like to celebrate Diwali. In her account, Sayani Gupta emphasized on the need to stay away from firecrackers. The call to not light firecrackers as it leads to pollution has not gone down well with a section of social media users, who said on Twitter that while there are many causes of air pollution, firecrackers have been singled out. They felt they were being instructed on how to celebrate Diwali.

Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary from Karnataka C.T. Ravi lashed out at the jewellery brand. “Why should anyone advice Hindus how to celebrate our festivals? Companies must focus on selling their products, not lecture us to refrain from bursting crackers," he said.

However, an advertising executive, seeking anonymity, said: “This is just plain bullying and I think Tanishq should not get bothered by such trolls. If this behaviour continues on social media, it is high time that brands start taking legal action against the trolls and platforms as well."

Ahead of the IPL finale, the league’s official partner ed-tech platform Unacademy’s quirky campaign has also amused viewers as they shared the film that has garnered over 2 million views so far. The film draws a fun correlation between on-field moments of the IPL 2020 and learning concepts such as Pythagoras theorem, magnetic induction, and Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“I think the catchy lyrics and the fun editing has taken the shareability quotient of the campaign a notch higher. When an ad becomes a part of the conversation, the brand has already won. The challenge for Unacademy will be to beat its own benchmark of creativity," said Shrenik Gandhi, CEO of digital marketing agency White Rivers Media.

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