PMMAO 2011 OUTDOOR REVIEW : A colourful skyline

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Riding on innovative campaigns and new ou tdoor formats like Metro rail and swanky airports becoming new hot locations for OOH (Out Of Home), the medium grew by 27 per cent in the year 2010. According to the Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook-2011, OOH cornered Rs 1,441 crore of the total ad-spends of Rs 23,646 crore in the year 2010. The medium continued to hold on to its share of 6.1 per cent in the ad pie.

The overall sentiment for the OOH players is of buoyancy. “The OOH medium was rocking throughout the year 2010,” says Mandeep Malhotra, President, Mudra MAX – OOH.

The medium recovered from a de-growth of 20 per cent in 2009 to outsmart all growth estimates in 2010.


Cementing its pillars

According to Malhotra, innovation in the medium and new telecom accounts coming to it contributed to this growth in a big way. “The year also saw around 10 per cent increase in budgets for innovations effected by various clients,” he adds.

Indrajit Sen, CEO, Laqshya Media, feels that it was the second half of the year that brought good results for the medium. “The first half of 2010 was subdued with continuing low spends but revenues picked up in the second half and gave us a good growth for the whole year. Overall, we have had a decent year; the financial year should see us growing by 15 per cent over previous year,” he says.

Similarly, Selvel Vantage Group grew by 25 per cent in 2010.


New ideas

It was somewhat first of its kind for outdoor, when Parle Agro rolled out ‘big mangoes’ on the road to launch its new ‘Mango Surprise’ campaign for Frooti. The trick not only surprised the consumers but also gained huge popularity in its TVC form, as people liked the element of ‘surprise’ and ‘engagement’ in the campaign.

But much of innovation was technology led. Nokia, innovatively used LED to create buzz around one of the features of its new multimedia touch screen smart-phone, N5230. The creative on hoardings, carried a picture of the handset with a large cut out of a finger shown touching the screen of the phone. Musical notes were drawn close to it, signifying the instant playing of music. LED strips were stitched into the flex, outlining the handset as well as the cut out of the finger for illumination.

Meanwhile, Gillette’s WALS (Women Against Lazy Stubble), needs no introduction and has already received rave reviews. The campaign won the prestigious Silver Cannes Lion at the 57th Cannes International Advertising Festival.

Idea Cellular also innovatively used the outdoor platforms for its green initiative ‘Use Mobile, Save Paper’ campaign. The telecom giant transformed bus shelters into gardens by placing potted plants and tendril climbers in them. Adding greenery to the facade, the Idea shelters, offered cool shade to the commuters waiting at the stands. Also, hoardings in the shape of tree were erected in different cities.

In the beginning of the year, hoardings for PepsiCo’s lemon drink, Nimbooz, carried an electric-supported squeezer, which would repeat squeezing action on the hoarding itself.


Digital: New love

The year 2010 also saw digital OOH emerging as a strong proposition. For its ability to connect with a specific audience at specific locations, the format proved to be promising for the players.  For example, Live Media, one of the pioneering digital OOH agencies, saw a triple digit growth last year.  Rajan Mehta, Founder and CEO, LiveMedia, says, “The year 2010 was a come-back year after the slowdown in 2008-09 and we grew by over 100 per cent during this period.”

He attributes the growth to the “discovery” of digital OOH. “A good experience with the digital format will definitely encourage marketers for repeat business,” Rajan Mehta says.

However, given the high cost involved and location constraints, the digital format remains mostly confined to the metros and national advertisers. According to Ishan Raina, Founder & CEO, OOH Media, the biggest challenge for digital OOH is to grow the size of the market, and “we need to grow digital OOH to 3-5 per cent of Outdoor in the next two-three years.”


Opportunity for automobiles

The key categories that continued to flow in cash in the medium include telecom, BFSI, FMCG, retail and media.

Meanwhile, real estate too chipped in, yet, one category that continues to  baffle Rajan Mehta, and hasn’t contributed much is automobiles.

If the big hoardings of Fortis and Max Healthcare in metros are any indication, healthcare is also looking at outdoor seriously to grab eyeballs.

As for digital OOH, consumer durables and lifestyle brands were an added bonus. “Consumer durables and Lifestyle brands were also among the top spending categories for digital OOH, as they were able to precisely target their customer segment through the format,” says Rajan Mehta.

Meanwhile, the medium equally attracted national and local advertisers, as Noomi Mehta, CMD, Selvel Vantage Group & Chairman, Indian Outdoor Advertising Association, says, “the ratio of local to national advertisers is 50:50.”

Malhotra of Mudra Max, however feels that national advertisers are still heavier than the local advertisers.

Suggesting that outdoor agencies are yet to develop interest of local advertisers in the medium, Raina says, “We are still not doing a great job with local advertisers. We will hopefully put more energy into local advertisers this year.”


Innovations: Adding to impact

Industry players agree that innovation played a key growth-enabler for the medium during the year. Marketers not only invested in the innovative ideas but also readily agreed to pay a premium for it.

“Innovations play the role of a catalyst between an ordinary and unconventionally extraordinary OOH campaign,” says Mandeep Malhotra, President, Mudra MAX – OOH.

Indrajit Sen of Laqshya Media feels that “Innovations in the medium were primarily in media formats and it was aimed to create new opportunities for audience engagement.”

“There were also a few innovations in executing displays for brands where we enhanced the brand story and made the picture more appropriate for the medium. The latter are driven by clients and their specific needs,” he adds.

The evolving consumer behaviour has called for a different and new approach on part of all – marketers, creatives and agencies. Thus, even OOH players are getting experimentative and introducing innovations to attract advertisers and eyeballs equally.

Some of the innovations carried by Mudra Max-OOH included a raft on hoarding, house on a billboard, building wrap, Bluetooth at bus shelters, and mobile van innovations.  Besides, other campaigns like super-hero ‘Spider-Man’ on hoarding, and countdown to an event created excitement among people.

But then innovations do come at an added cost. Improved design and lighting takes up the cost by 10 to 15 per cent. “Cut-outs, use of lights to create effects, projections, pulleys, props, are used in various types and quantities to take OOH advertising to a completely different level,” says Malhotra.

While innovations add to the impact, it’s still early days and the medium has to learn a lot. “It is early days, but we will keep experimenting, based on specific client and campaign requirements,” says Raina.


Opportunities: Hi-PL

The year 2011 has mega cricket events like the ICC World Cup followed by IPL. Will the OOH medium benefit from it? The OOH industry has mixed reactions to the question. While Malhotra and Noomi Mehta are from the positive lot, Sen isn’t sure if cricket can add to the OOH kitty.

Malhotra feels that television manufacturing companies will use the OOH platform largely to drive their sales. Noomi Mehta, meanwhile feels that advertisers take a 360-degree approach during the cricket season. “Cricket is a huge marketing platform and advertisers have a 360-degree approach to reach consumers through these mega-events. OOH obviously stands to gain advertising share through IPL as well, as the medium provides suitable platform for the local franchisee to build emotional connect with the locals.”

Sen of Laqshya, in non-agreement with Malhotra and Noomi Mehta feels that IPL makes marketers spend more on TV. “During the IPL, different brands go for TV with a major part of their media budget. The amount left for other media stands significantly reduced.”

He, however, adds that some categories like DTH and TV do spend more to get their sales in place during these periods of high demand.  “So, overall, it balances off – maybe with a little dip in totality,” he observes.


An optimistic future

The medium has thrived on marketer’s positive response and its own ability to evolve to next level.  Would the medium be able to continue with its momentum? Read the Outlook section to find what dimensions will the medium add in the year 2011, and how new real estate like the Delhi Rail Metros and the swanky airports are becoming hot properties for the medium.

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Anuj Jain

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