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All eyes on screens


All eyes on screens

And not just the ones you might think

It’s becoming clearer every year that in Indonesia, all eyes are on two screens: the television or the mobile phone. Given the growth in digital advertising – as well as an increase in the number of people getting smartphones – it is perhaps a little surprising that year after year, television continues to take a bigger slice of the total advertising pie.

That slice is expected to grow by a further 13.9 percent in 2019, set against growth in the sector overall of 11.6 percent. The general surge has been largely fueled by advertising around the April presidential and legislative elections, as rival parties and candidates sought to win over the country’s 190 million-strong electorate; TV is still the main beneficiary of election-related advertising. However, internet penetration is now over half of the population, which means digital is an increasingly important part of the picture.

Digital ad revenue is forecast to grow by 22.3 percent this year, following growth in 2018 of over 30 percent, largely as a result of the Asian Games.

While the overall level of spending on advertising is growing, gains being made by TV and digital are coming at the expense of other media, with print being hit particularly hard. Newspapers and magazines are both losing share of investment at the rate of around 10 percent a year, and this continues in 2019. Cinema is also seeing significant declines.

Outdoor is a growing medium, and is expected to be given a boost this year with the start of the new Mass Rapid Transit system in Jakarta. Radio is also holding steady, as it is often used by advertisers in partnership with television for local activations. Advertising across the board is being given a boost by new entrants to the highly competitive e-commerce sector.








Total advertising investment in 2019 is expected to top US$2,693 million, or around IDR40,971,842 million.


Medium                        2009 (%)                2019(f) (%)

TV                                63.3                67.0

Radio                                4.1                1.9

Newspapers                        22.1                10.2

Magazines                        5.3                1.3

Cinema                        0.6                0.3

Outdoor                        3.9                2.9

Internet                        0.7                16.3

Source: This Year Next Year, 2019, GroupM

Toiletries and cosmetics brands are the biggest spenders on advertising in Indonesia, followed by beverages and then food. The fastest growth in advertising investment, however, is coming from the property sector, computing and communications, toiletries and cosmetics, food and pharmaceuticals.


Standing out in a crowded market

Ramadhan presents a huge opportunity for brands to grow, as families and friends get together, and consumer spending across categories tends to surge by over 10 percent. At the same time, TV viewing goes up by 10 percent, and time spent online grows by over 50 percent. The flipside of this opportunity is that a lot of brands have the same idea, and the ad landscape becomes incredibly cluttered with Ramadhan-related messages focused on ideas like sharing and helping, making it harder for a brand to make a deep impression. Kantar research into the most-liked and most memorable Ramadhan ads shows that to stand out, brands need to do something truly different. It sounds simple, but is increasingly tough to achieve. Here are five ways brands have done just that at Ramadhan:

1 Show simple acts of kindness. This means stepping away from grand CSR gestures and focusing on individuals, such as Tokopedia’s ad showing a boy returning his mother’s favor when he grows up. Touching, personal, and effective, it shows how kindness is something that can be carried out daily, in small acts that make a big difference.

2 Offer a new perspective on a familiar theme. The soft drink Teh Botol’s video ad shows train passengers excitedly disembarking for tearful reunions with family and friends, whilst the train driver sacrifices his own happiness for the sake of others. Matahari has also used the element of surprise in an ad that looked like a bully was intimidating a smaller child, when in fact he was helping the smaller child to fast.

3 Ride a wave. This is about building on bigger trends beyond Ramadhan that are resonating locally. Djarum leveraged World Cup fever with a story about athletes, combining it with Ramadhan’s forgiveness theme, for instance.

4 Go retro with a quirky twist. Some of the most viral content of the past year has been from brands bringing back familiar ideas but applying a lighthearted, modern twist. GOJEK did just that with its Ramadhan ad created in retro 80s style (long before GOJEK existed), with a funny song and storyline. This theme invites consumers to reconnect with the traditions of the past, and shows them traditional values don’t always have to be taken entirely seriously.

5 Show togetherness overcoming differences. Togetherness is an oft-used theme at this time of year, but there can still be fresh approaches to what it means to show unity. The delivery service Grab showed how it distributed meals at the roadside when drivers were ready to break their fast and also shared food parcels with drivers from rival service GOJEK. A new take on what is traditionally meant by “diversity”.

Secrets of success

What these ads did was create Meaningful Difference in a way that made their communications and their brand more memorable – something brands should be striving to do all year round through:

  • Having a finger on the pulse of cultural trends in Indonesia today
  • Using textured characters to tell what feel like real stories
  • Offering a creative take on an eternal theme
  • Providing a modern twist in a way that entertains and encourages content sharing
  • All eyes on screens