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OOH Interviews

Sanjeev Gupta

Chairman & MD | 10 May 2010

Marketers are seeking solutions beyond traditional billboards and it is becoming critical to integrate this with retail signage and visual merchandising for maximum impact. With larger share of overall media budgets, OOH is becoming centralised and is being driven by brand strategy to a far greater extent compared to the previous years, where it was decentralised and pretty much left to sales and distribution. Media owning is looking attractive and there is likely to be significant consolidation in this space.

As Chairman and Managing Director of Global Advertisers, Sanjeev Gupta, 40, has played a very important role in shaping up this organisation. Due to his successful contribution to the organisation, it is now present across India and has an extensive network covering over 800 markets in major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, Lucknow, and Jaipur, among others.

Gupta’s leads a staff strength of over 100 high profile professionals. Over the years, Global Advertisers has developed a very strong relationship with its clients, which include some of the leading corporate houses, public sector undertakings, film industry, events/shows, exhibitions and many more. Some of them include Reliance, Hutch, Airtel, Nestle, Pepsi, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, LIC, Officer’s Choice, Air India, Videocon, Hitachi, Rustomjee Developers, Mayfair Housing, Royal Palms, and Kalpataru, among others. The company has also undertaken campaigns for films such as ‘Water’, ‘Guru’, and ‘Don’.

Global Advertisers has also tied up with national and international associations that promote talent in different industries. For this, the company has handled international and national events such as the 9th International Film Festival (MAMI), Gujarati Awards, Hindustan Chamber of Commerce, Tiles Sanitaryware Expo, Chitrapati V Shantaram Puraskar 2007, FICCI Awards, CNBC-TV18 Awards, CNBC Aawaz Awards and many more.

Today, be it the Standard Chartered Marathon or the change of brand identity for Bank of Baroda, ot the campaign for ‘Ghajini’ or the Bajaate Raho Campaign for Radio One, Global Advertisers has emerged as one of the preferred OOH partners among corporates and the film industry. Global believes in innovations as they lead to successful marketing campaigns and in turn, creating a top notch brand identity for their clients.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha Kashyup, Gupta speaks at length about Global Advertisers’s growth in India and shared his views on the latest developments in the OOH sector.

Q. How has the journey been for Global Advertisers in India?

Founded In 1994, Global Advertisers caught the attention of millions and also the advertising fraternity with its path-breaking outdoor initiative – below-the-railway-platform wall painting. Global was first to exploit its potential, generating huge revenue for the Government and demand for the brands. Over the years, Global has successfully created innovate hoarding sites at strategic locations in Mumbai. With the blessings of Param Shraddhey Shri Radhe Guru Maa and inexhaustible competitive drive of professionals, Global has created a niche for itself in out-of-home advertising. Today, Global Advertisers provides OOH advertising services to clients throughout India.

Q. What are the technological advances that the medium is witnessing today?

From ‘pasteless’ posters, energy-saving bulbs, digital billboards to the fast-improving audience measurement techniques, the out-of-home industry is the most vibrant industry today. Today, one can witness extensive use of large format LED screens, networked screens with remote content scheduling and management, use of LEDs as light source, interactive screens and advanced neon signs. Technological advancements have also been used for measuring the media effectiveness and consumer-centric innovations, which let the consumer experience the advertiser’s product in many different ways.

Q. How would you compare the Indian outdoor advertising industry with the global market?

The outdoor industry in India is in its nascent stage. The investments and infrastructure are minimum, and we are in very short supply of expertise and database. Besides developing the national body, we need to consolidate as an industry. For this, at least a couple of corporate giants need to invest and raise the bar for displays and develop a knowledge hub that will add value to sites and locations. Also, while we are in the growing stage, they are saturated.

It is said that measurability and hence, ROI is an issue with the OOH medium. Today, measurement is available in Mumbai to start with, thanks to MRUC. A better way to measure ROI is to measure secondary data like spontaneous awareness, top-of-mind recall for brands that have advertised in OOH. For categories where media is a currency, like FMCG, these pressure tests have been done and over with, besides being benchmarked.

Q. What kind of innovations you do for your clients?

The only way to create a breakthrough in a cluttered skyline is by being innovative with the creatives. While it is true that in India, innovation does not happen on a regular basis in the outdoor media, it is the only way to catch the attention of a consumer. Recently, we had done the ‘Look-Walkers’ innovation for the Shree Ganesh IPO, which generated much curiosity and unmatched visibility at eye-level. We had used innovative media formats that are rarely used for IPO campaigns and that had ensured necessary awareness and buzz around this activity. Also, we used first-of-its-kind giant well-illuminated billboard for Idea Cellular Services.

Q. What kind of innovations in terms of outdoor formats did you bring into this sector?

There are so many innovations like polygraphic inking, digital electro-luminiscence, bluecasting, and hypertag. We are committed to investing in capital-intensive items like top quality LED that do not exist today. We have given some great technologies to the outdoor industry and have shown them various technologies that we are using in malls and multiplexes.

Q. Of late, several players have entered the outdoor market in the country, including international players. How do you look at the competition?

We provide a gamut of solutions to a brand in tune with communication requirements. We bring in OOH solutions to particular brand. And, therefore, enjoy a niche. Outdoor advertising abroad is planned. Of course, I am expecting a change in the Indian market. I am ready to spend time and money to educate people on international best practices.

Q. How has the performance been so far and what are your objectives for the current year?

In the first quarter of 2010, Global stood among its contemporaries, but also distinguished itself from many of the leading agencies by executing and spearheading major IPO campaigns for clients such as Aqua Logistics, Shree Ganesh, ARSS, DQ Entertainment, etc., and masterminding some groundbreaking upfront deals and innovations. We plan to focus on such innovations.

Q. What kind of services do you offer?

From brand launching and building, marketing, planning and strategising, competitive analysis, media buying, sales promotion to film publicity, event promotion and sponsorship, Global has been a one-stop agency for non-stop results.

Q. What are the major changes taking place in the outdoor space currently?

There has been a significant shift in consumers’ lifestyles, the explosion in mobility and suburban growth. This has led to the entire OOH media assuming a far greater importance. View this in the context of severe media fragmentation and the extremely short attention span of consumers, and you will appreciate how integrated OOH is becoming brand strategic in nature.

Marketers are seeking solutions beyond traditional billboards and it is becoming critical to integrate this with retail signage and visual merchandising for maximum impact. With larger share of overall media budgets, OOH is becoming centralised and is being driven by brand strategy to a far greater extent compared to the previous years, where it was decentralised and pretty much left to sales and distribution. Media owning is looking attractive and there is likely to be significant consolidation in this space.

Q. What is your view on advertising in radio cabs?

Radio cabs as an OOH option is quite an interesting one – one can engage with it while getting into it as well as after one gets into it.

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