Ad professional, Kedar Dhume talks to Shoma Patnaik of the changes taking place in the Goan advertising industry and also of online competition for organizers of exhibitions and trade shows
Seasoned player in the Goan advertising industry Kedar Dhume, says that, he considers public relations (PR) his forte which is why he took to his chosen field so easily.
Chatty on all topics and with everyone he meets, Dhume says that, advertising industry everywhere in the world is evolved greatly as from a single source of advertising clients now have several platforms to display products and make presence felt.
Like all individuals who are experts in PR, it is difficult for Dhume to vent on an issue. Yet he is pretty open when it comes to talking on the online impact on the exhibition industry. “Because of the online sale of goods lot of companies have cut down their ad spends on traditional advertising channels. And one of the biggest casualty is exhibitions,” he says frankly.
The ad professional adds that, earlier exhibitions were advantageous because companies could demonstrate their products. “Advertising is actually a one-way communication but by participating in exhibitions companies helped customers feel the product. However today thanks to digital technology companies can come close to the end- customer and make a buyer easily understand a product without physically seeing it,” says Dhume.
He reveals that, companies these days consider it cost-effective to promote products digitally than participate in exhibitions. “There is a huge cost of setting up a pavilion by way of rent to the organizer, display and cost of transportation which companies do not want to incur,” observes Dhume.
He adds that, the online competition is hit the exhibition industry almost 30- 40 per cent. “Some of the drop in business for exhibition organizers is also to do with the current economic situation of slowdown,” he adds.
To beat the threat from online players and also from new entrants, Dhume has positioned himself as single source of all advertising and communication. He is present in all segments of advertising such as media consultancy, exhibitions and events, marketing solutions, hoardings and PR management. “The progress to different advertising verticals came about gradually from 1995 when I first started my ad agency to the present,” says Dhume.
He says that, he kept away from hard-core consumer exhibitions and is focused on two exhibitions, viz. the Interiors & Exteriors show and the Food and Hospitality Expo both of which have completed 20 years and expected to continue running in the future.
On the current scenario in the local advertising industry, he points out that, Goa has a well developed advertising industry contrary to the perception that the industry exists only in Mumbai and metro cities. “The local industry comprises about 100 firms, of which about 20 are large players,” he says.
Over the years, Dhume is worked on several projects. The publicity campaign for the first IFFI in 2004 is dear to him as also the Femina Miss World competition in 1993 where actress Shushmita Sen emerged as the surprise winner. “Damania Airways that had just launched was my client for the Miss World competition and they used my campaign on national media,” says Dhume proudly.
The ad veteran says that, he came into the Goan advertising industry after a short stint with Mumbai based advertising photography stalwarts, Gautam Rajadhyaksha and Vilas Bhende. He started out on a small scale by bringing out special supplements for a daily before opening his advertising agency.
“In the early I decided to focus on government clients as other agencies did not want to touch government space as they felt that it is creatively on low level. I realised that government ads although not very artistic have volume. The strategy paid off and I got work by designing the state pavilion in trade shows and also doing the publicity campaign for projecting the state as an industrial destination in the 90,s,”