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Rameet Arora

Senior Director - Marketing, Corporate Communication, Menu Management | 19 Jul 2013

Outdoor is an undiscovered reach medium. It is powerful in building frequency and even more potent in building recency. Put these three facts together and you potentially have GRPs that match any other medium. Unfortunately, its power remains un-calibrated, un-measured and difficult to harness.

Rameet Arora joined Hard Castle Restaurants as Senior Director, Marketing for McDonald’s in mid-2010. In his role, Arora’s mandate is to drive consumer-centric growth for brand and business.

Arora has over 13 years of experience in the field of advertising and marketing and over the years, he has been associated with leading advertising and marketing companies in India, including Leo Burnett, where he spent over eight years. His immediate previous appointment was as Head of Marketing for Hindi GEC Colors.

In conversation with Priyanka Nair, Arora speaks about how serious McDonald’s is about outdoor advertising, the potential of the outdoor medium and more...

Q. The OOH industry is labelled as an unstructured one. There are a number of reasons behind it. You come from the brand side, taking that into consideration, where does outdoor fit into your media plan?

Outdoor is an undiscovered reach medium. It is powerful in building frequency and even more potent in building recency. Put these three facts together and you potentially have GRPs that match any other medium. Unfortunately, its power remains un-calibrated, un-measured and difficult to harness.

However, despite many limitations on planning, we use outdoor to build recency and impact. We use it both to build reach and to build localised presence. As an out-of-home consumption brand, out-of-home has an important role to play.

Q. It is observed that over the last one year, McDonald’s has extensively used outdoor in its media plan. The campaigns had a balance of both innovation and planning. Could you elaborate on the reasons behind choosing OOH so widely in your media plan?

Like I said, out-of-home has an important role to play in a brand that is largely consumed out of home. It helps build recency and last mile connectivity. We look at outdoor as a reach medium and typically use it to penetrate geographies and trading areas.

Q. Do you think above innovation, ‘smart planning’ should be the ground rule while designing an outdoor campaign?

Both ‘innovation in plans’ and ‘planning for innovations’ add flavour to any plan. Unconventional out-of-home disturbs familiar street furniture and can be disruptive. However, abundant use of innovation is both limiting from a cost point of view and is not scalable, unfortunately. Hence, the role of innovation in out-of-home is restricted to building buzz, creating word of mouth, localised engagement and viralability. Planning for innovation, therefore, requires perspective and yes, smartness.

Q. What are the changes that you would want to see in the outdoor industry that will lead to retain brands’ trust towards this medium of communication?

As an innovative marketer, we expect the OOH medium to expand to every form of retail. Technology advancement in this area will play a key role in the growth of the OOH industry. Measurement and metrics are key to break open the medium. And a more organised, transparent and accessible sector.

Q. What are the elements that you would want to see in an outdoor campaign that you roll out for your brand?

First and foremost, the bread and butter of any out-of-home campaign is likely to be billboards, which are at best a five-second medium. Billboards require a level of simplicity and precision that probably no other medium demands. Out-of-home is ideally an amalgamation of mediums – radio, the mobile phone and consequently, digital. Managing an OOH campaign is about managing multiple OOH assets, each of which plays its own role.

Q. The outdoor industry doesn’t have a common currency. As a marketer, how much does this worry you?

More than worry, there’s frustration. Like I said, it’s a medium with undiscovered and un-calibrated potential. It is unfortunate that a handful of stakeholders are unable to sit on the same table and institutionalise a measure, a metric and a system.

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