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Three of Our Favourite Diwali Commercials

Posted by Vanessa Vachet | 11.10.15
Watch the 3 Most Popular Diwali Commercials from 2014 and 2015

Watch the 3 Most Popular Diwali Commercials from 2014 and 2015


Diwali is one of the most important holidays in the South Asian community, and this year, it falls on November 11th. Which means, that you should already be seeing some pre-Diwali advertisements, as Canadian brands begin to recognise the buying power of South Asian communities. These companies vie for a piece of the Diwali spending through print ads, sponsored events, online offers and also our favorite, via commercials. But what makes for a successful Diwali commercial? We’ll review some favorites from 2014 and 2015.


But, if you’re still asking why Canadian companies should embrace Diwali, here are some compelling reasons:


  • According to Environics Analytics, in 2013, there were 1,775,426 South Asian people currently residing in Canada. They accounted for one-quarter (25.0%) of the total visible minority population and 4.8% of Canada’s total population, outnumbering all other visible minority groups across Canada


  • 10 years ago, South Asians even surpassed the Chinese as the largest visible minority in Canada. Their population is also projected to grow 19% by 2023, to reach 2.5 million people (Environics Analytics)
Graph of 2013 Ethnic Market Composition, Courtesy of Canada Environics

2013 Ethnic Market Composition – Courtesy of Canada Environics


  • The same report estimates that the combined spending power of Canada’s South Asians totals $46-billion


  • Diwali spending currently outpaces spending during Chinese New Year. See the Table below 


Buying Trends during Cultural Festivals - Courtesy of Canada Environics

2013 Ethnic Consumers : Buying Trends during Festivals – Courtesy of Canada Environics


  • And according to the 2011 NHS survey almost half a million people across Canada identified themselves as followers of Hinduism, and therefore, would be celebrants of Diwali


  •  We also know that, regardless of religious affiliation, many in the South Asian community also celebrate the Festival of Lights (as Diwali, or Deepavali, as it is also known). This includes Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains (workpermit.com). In the U.S, people of Caribbean descent also celebrate Diwali


  • The average South Asian consumer in Canada spent $132 on clothing, $36 on sweets and $12 on confectionary during Diwali week. Multiply that by the amount of people who celebrate Diwali, and that could add up to over $89,640,000 in potential spend!


Now, that we’ve got your attention, we’re going to share some of our favourite Diwali commercials from last year. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration for your own future campaigns.


Three Diwali commercials we love:


1)      According to QEQ’s team member and South Asian cultural expert, Manpreet Dhillon, this year’s Diwali commercial by Tanishq Jewellery is one of her favourite examples of an ad that speaks to the heart of the Diwali festivity. “A good Diwali week commercial or ad campaign focuses on family, happiness and connection,” she explains. “Diwali is about celebrating the beauty in the world and the light we see in others. It is a time where joy is very present in everyone’s lives. People really enjoy watching emotions that express the feeling of love.” We all know that emotions create deep ties within us that can often influence purchasing decisions.

 VIEW commercial: 


 As we can see, the video begins with a common Diwali theme: a family is seen prepping and cleaning for Diwali week. In this case, it’s the Padukone family. The famous Bollywood actress, Deepika Padukone, with her parents, ace Badminton player Prakash Padukone, and her mother, Ujjala Padukone. Deepika is seen cleaning the house, while her mother makes ladoos and lights diyas (small oil lamps or candles). Her father is busy decorating the home with a festive rangoli and twinkling lights.


The commercial ends when Deepika receives a surprise Diwali gift from her father, an elaborate necklace and earring set from Tanishq. Exchanging gifts is also an important tradition during Diwali, and Tanishq Jewellery has captured this, and many other common traditions, in a tactful and non-cheesy way. They were also smart to feature well-known South Asian personalities in their commercials. That’s just one great way to engage and interest South Asian viewers.



2)      To capitalize on one of the biggest shopping seasons for South Asians, India’s largest e-retailer, Snapdeal.com broke all the rules by launching the longest running Diwali advertising campaign in 2014, with the most number of commercials. Capturing South Asian’s love for celebrities, the brand signed up 28 celebrities, to create 50 commercials in total. Snapdeal’s aim was to widen its varied customer base by resonating with South Asian consumers from various backgrounds. 

(SUGGESTED READ: other e-retailers that fared well in Diwali 2014)

VIEW commercials: 

Popular TV and cinema artists were employed for this campaign, like Ali Asgar
(Dadi from Comedy Nights with Kapil), Alok Nath (the popular Babuji), Harsha Bhogle (Cricket Commentator), Mandira Bedi & Karan Tacker (TV personalities & fashion icons) and Kirti Kharbanda (Actor & Model) among others. They were featured in the Snapdeal Diwali bumper sale commercials, which ran from Sept 15th to Oct 25th, 2014. The result: 100% increase in sales.



3)      Diwali is synonymous with family reunions, similar to how North Americans regard Thanksgiving or Christmas as a time for gathering. So it can be heart-breaking when family members cannot be together during Diwali, for whatever reason, even if you’re an astronaut in outer space. In 2014, playing on the popularity of an aerial picture of an illuminated map of India that went viral, KitKat grabbed the image as well as several superimposed NASA-owned pictures to morph it into a heart-felt outer-space view of India on Diwali night. Run as pre-rolls on-line prior to Diwali, the extended-length commercial featured a happy, yet homesick, astronaut (played by actress Rupa Bargaonkar) running through a series of usual astronaut activities, until she takes a KitKat break on Diwali night.

VIEW commercial: 


The film’s message was fairly clear: You may be far away during Diwali, but home is where the heart is, and a KitKat can bring you back, even across colossal distances. The short film went live on October 17, 2014 and has since fetched over 75,000 Likes and 12,500 Shares. Supported by their Diwali 2014 hashtag #MyDiwaliBreak
, parent brand Nestlé is still leveraging the “Diwali break” theme by running a Twitter contest for Diwali 2015.


Remember, when targeting South Asian consumers, Diwali should only be one part of your overall marketing strategy. “A year-round approach will yield so much more than just a translated, generic Diwali greeting, presented just once in the year,” advises QEQ founder Alisa Choi Darcy. “Your target should be more inclusive. Consider year-round shopping as your aim.”


“Also,” warns South Asian expert Manpreet, “try to avoid the most common mistake. Businesses sometimes forget that there is a level of sophistication that exists now in the South Asian community. There are many South Asians who are established immigrant and second generation professionals, and in many households, they are the decision makers. They are also consuming ethnic media, yet few advertisers are speaking to them in these media vehicles,” says Manpreet. “The messages we send to them should encompass and reflect their modern identity, which is a mix of East and West.”


We hope we’ve given you some food for thought.

Happy Diwali! Diwali Mubarak from the QEQ Team!



Sources: All videos sourced through YouTube.