Outlook 2018: Anita Nayyar & Babita Baruah on ad trends to watch out for

(L TO R): Anita Nayyar, CEO - India & South Asia, Havas Media Group and Babita Baruah, Managing Partner, GTB India (WPP)
(L TO R): Anita Nayyar, CEO - India & South Asia, Havas Media Group and Babita Baruah, Managing Partner, GTB India (WPP)

Anita Nayyar, CEO - India & South Asia, Havas Media Group, and Babita Baruah, Managing Partner, GTB India (WPP), crystal-gaze into the year ahead and list the trends that will play a significant role in the advertising industry as well as their expectations from 2018. The two leading ladies of Indian advertising also mention the red flags to watch out. 

Anita Nayyar, CEO-India & South Asia, Havas Media Group: 


Overall, across business and various sectors, including advertising, we should see a far more positive outlook as well as growth with customers and businesses stabilising and able to focus on their core proposition. Again, this is notwithstanding any fresh year end or 2018 surprises. 

There will be a marked shift towards OTT with its lower cost, thereby cannibalising alternate advertising spends yet not doing away with them. 

Buying, planning, placement and advertising will all have to become SMART to deliver the best experience to extract the best customer response for brand connect. 


We will see the return of IRS (Indian Readership Survey). Ad blockers, ad fraud will come more into play, programmatic will become mainstream as brands turn to it for effective campaigns. Real time marketing will be more than a buzz word as brands will increasingly need to connect, interact and engage their customer basket. ROI will gain a whole new prevalence of monetary conversion over brand building. Engagement metrics will continue to become more complex as they already have, overriding the old pure vanilla likes and marketers will become very aggressive on this front. 

Digital, traditional and tech will start overlapping and we should see some interesting VR and AI efforts making inroads. 

Overall, 2018 should be better times, certainly better than 2017, for India and our industry in terms of business and ideas and we certainly look forward to it. 

The red flags 

Customers today are more aware, informed and brand ‘meaningfulness’ has become a bonafide metric in their minds – a fact not all marketers have truly woken up to. 

The likes of Facebook and Google have had to and will increasingly have to answer for loss of customer trust; so all brands and communication must seriously consider this in the rush of immediate results or risk great peril. 

‘Meaningfulness’ to the consumer is fast becoming the core of brand success and soon survival in the marketplace. 

Babita Baruah, Managing Partner, GTB India (WPP): 


Recognise and embrace the fact that traditional models and structures need a recast; that an iconic TVC alone will not move the needle. That agencies need to understand how to collaborate or develop specialised skillsets and teams that feed into data, content, commerce. Storytelling alone will not be enough for either business impact or financials. 


Personally, the WPP Horizontality Model is something that has driven me. I see this as a strong partnership, collaboration and efficient model, wherever it is applicable. 

New partners in the ecosystem, innovative solutions on brand experiences, e-commerce are some other trends that I am excited about. 

The red flags 

Redefine competition. Other agencies are not our biggest threats anymore.


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