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Will this Diwali rekindle the spark in OOH spends?

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Industry players say brands have renewed their interest in the medium and some new sectors have also come on board boosting the recovery process

Festive season is a time when brands go all out to showcase their product offerings and solutions at a mass scale to ensure maximum visibility. In this respect OOH has always been a key media investment for brands as consumers move outdoors more during this time for shopping and visiting family and friends.

Although this year has been grim for OOH, it is now seeing renewed interest coming in from prominent brands. The Posterscope India OOH Mobility Report has stated that there is a 12% mobility rate compared to the pre-COVID environment and showcases that ⅔ of people find OOH more visible currently post-lockdown. Backing up this positive momentum, new categories like Home Decor, Education, and even B2B sectors like IT have started to invest in OOH this festive season, says Times OOH.

e4m asked OOH leaders to share which brands are helping them keep the economic momentum lit up and how is the festive sentiment fairing compared to last year’s spends.

Sharing a positive note, Dipankar Sanyal, CEO, Platinum Outdoor, stated, “Brands have shown interest in OOH spending this Diwali. At Platinum Communication we are seeing similar billings compared to last year and that is a welcome sign.”

Arijit Chakrabarti, Head of Strategy, Kinetic India, remarked, “OOH reopened back in June with over 2,500 clients in the first month itself. Month on month the number of clients returning to OOH has been steadily increasing. In fact as per the latest update in November, we are close to the pre-COVID client counts as seen during January and February this year.”

Sharing more on the Diwali perspective, Chakrabarti said, “Diwali is a time of increased Out-of-Home activity and multiple brands have decided to make full use of the medium. This shows the faith that clients have in the capabilities of OOH.”

According to Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy Officer, Times OOH, the festive season is a time when brands inject more power and go all out with their advertising budgets. “This year is no different. However, the increase in spends is not at the same level seen in the previous years. We are witnessing an increase in queries and bookings primarily due to a lot of pent-up demand. With audiences moving outdoors for shopping and travelling home for festivals, brands are using this opportunity to reach out to audiences with Outdoor medium and regain the lost ground. We already have campaigns from prominent clients like Netflix, Renault, Mankind Pharma, Gujarat Tourism, Tamil Nadu Tourism and MX Player coming on board to maximize impact in the festival season,” shared Nanda.

Diwali OOH campaigns brewing
Kinetic India’s Chakrabarti without giving too much away commented, “A lot of our clients from multiple categories are active currently, including those in FMCG, Media and Entertainment, BFSI, Auto and Consumer Electronics. We are happy we got the opportunity to service them all.”

Sectors showing faith in OOH
According to Sanyal his agency is seeing traction from sectors like automobiles, finance, footwear, retail and telecom to name a few.

Chakrabarti tells us that as personal mobility is a priority multiple car brands have made their presence felt on OOH. “In fact, this festive season we expect 4-wheeler brands to be the second-largest category in OOH after Real Estate. Further, Diwali is associated with gold and with a marginal softening of gold prices jewellery brands have also initiated campaigns. This was preceded by campaigns from BFSI category. This has included Banks, Insurance, Credit and Debit cards. OTT has also been a big investor in this medium and that trend continues as well.”

Talking about new sectors showing interest, Chakrabarti says, “Online mobile gaming is also a category that is seeing increased acceptance. With IPL ending gaming brands were seen across OOH in Mumbai.”

Nanda commented, “While we continue to see traction from regular categories like Automobile, Handsets, BFSI and OTT, we are also witnessing some new categories trying out the medium like Home Decor, Education, and even B2B sectors like IT.”

Will this Diwali season help rekindle OOH growth?
Sharing his perspective Chakrabarti says, “OOH’s revival is directly dependent on out of home mobility. As we see mobility patterns not just returning to pre-COVID levels but in certain markets exceeding it. We believe that OOH is already on the right track. This combined with repressed demand due to the uncertainty of lockdown will lead to overall healthy demand during Diwali. However, as we see from the sustained return of clients to OOH, we believe this enhanced demand will continue. As touchpoints continue to open and avenues of spending return, we expect the best days are right around the corner.”

For Nanda while 100% recovery looks grim keeping in mind the tough conditions caused due to the pandemic “the road to recovery has started with new campaigns coming on board and we are leaving no stone unturned to get business”.

“We are being optimistic of this festive season as audiences step out, increasing their spends and hence OOH media will get a lot of demand.”

Sanyal feels that this Diwali will turn around things for the outdoor industry but will definitely get the ball rolling. “It will be now for the industry to see how we all can maintain the momentum,” he commented.

Metro or Non-Metro?
Citing data on mobility rates, Nanda stated with business activities coming back to normal and states across India restarting gradually in a phased manner, the once deserted during the lockdown the city roads and the other out of home premises are again receiving back their traffic. “Major metro airports have recovered 70% of flight traffic and airline passenger traffic has seen an uplift and is expected to increase up to 75% of the pre-Covid level in the coming days due to the festive season as per MOCA and ICRA research data. Since the lockdowns were lifted, metro rails are seeing commuters come back with safety measures in place. As per DMRC data, Delhi Metro’s footfall has risen from 6.8 lakh/day in September to 12 lakh/day in the month of October. Simultaneously, Mumbai Metro has also seen an uptick demand in ridership traffic. With the festive season on the verge, clients have started spending and we will continue seeing this uptrend as the economy strengthens which will drive more consumption.”

Sharing his perspective, Sanyal said: “Diwali is seeing the return of the Metros. From Platinum’s perspective, till September we had seen most of our campaigns skewed towards non-metros but now we are seeing a lot of Metro bound campaigns.”

On a concluding note, Chakrabarti says, “We have seen a resurgence on all fronts. While Metros continue to see premium brands. Non-metros see increased demand from FMCG and regional OTT players. As non-metros were the first to open post-COVID and continued with lower infection rates as compared to metros many mass brands found OOH immediately appealing due to its excellent reach and low cost per contact.”

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Noel D'souza

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