Outdoor advertising is a constantly evolving medium of communication. In fact, the entire concept has changed in recent times to Out-Of-Home advertising. It encompasses advertising not just on hoardings, but also in other places that get high pedestrian or vehicular traffic. It includes, bus shelters, transit (bus exteriors, commuter rail cards, station platforms, and underground shelters), street furniture (such as newsstands and benches), airports, malls, spectaculars and painted walls.
The pie for outdoor keeps getting bigger and now, it encompasses all the different variants of out of home as displayed by the various resorts used by the mammoth Reliance Infocomm. In the telecom sector, the company is the second largest spender on outdoor media. Reliance also uses a lot of other tools like bus shelters, pole kiosks, banners, signages, tree guards, inflatables, etc. Entire stretches of road in metros are rented for lamppost space. With a flyover spanning a kilometre having approximately 120 lampposts, the requirement of pole kiosks in an entire city can well be imagined.
Although fewer in number than other vehicles, Reliance also uses neon signs. Where hoardings are disallowed, other utilities like gantries are utilised, as also various street furniture. Even road dividers become potential advertising space with signages put up on the railings.
Soumitra Bhattacharya, President, MOMS, said, "The industry is growing at around 10 per cent so there is progress. Since more and more companies are now looking at outdoors, the movement is there. Previously outdoor budgets were determined as the balance left over from budgeting for TV and press. Now, at least media plans are made with outdoor having a separate budget."
He added, "Clients would become more adventurous only if we outdoor units can justify our services not only in terms of turnarounds and executions but more importantly in terms of planning and demonstrating the ROI for the amount spent by the client on the outdoor campaigns. Currently clients cannot be adventurous because they do not know the returns that they would get if they wanted to be adventurous. So, they stick to the usual tested methods."
Meanwhile Anuj Kanakia, Spokesperson, StarSight, said that there has been a wave of growth for the medium, with categories such as telecom, FMCG, retail, channels, print entities all joining the party.
He said, "Growth for the industry has been significant over the last four years wherein the industry size has been more than doubled with new categories making use of the medium and with technological advances the same is on an upswing. Its now not only restricted to conventional but much beyond. It enables a media agency to offer complete solution to the client across mediums (Print, Electronic, Outdoor) by employing experienced professionals enabling them to avoid losing a chunk of business to other agencies; also it enables the unit to acquire a lot more direct clients who look for specialised units."
StarSight has on its part, done a great deal of work on Idea Cellular, Hungama TV, Standard Chartered Mutual Fund, Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, SAB Miller, etc.
Portland (the outdoor wing of JWT) has taken on some exceptional work for Idea Cellular, Standard Chartered, Sun TV Network, Ultratech and Mother Diary. Arminio Ribeiro, President of Portland, said, "Today's advertisers demand high standards as the outdoor medium is integral to the media plan. Spends in outdoor advertising have been on the rise and the key reason for this success is the fact that advertisers and agencies are getting more out of the medium for their brands."
Ribeiro continued, "Changing media and consumer mobility trends together with reported effectiveness of out-of-home media have led advertisers to reconsider the role of outdoor advertising as the Indian consumer is spending more time out of home. As a result, Outdoor has emerged and found a place on the mainstream media planning spectrum across a whole range of product/service advertising."
One exceptional outdoor campaign carried out in recent times, has been the one for TATA AIG. The ads have formed a series with interesting and catchy body copy like 'You see a mischievous child, we see a future yoga expert' supporting the statement 'Life inspires us to think ahead, which is why our insurance solutions are one step ahead'.
The ad's tagline 'A new look at life' has been so successful as to prompt the company to issue a directive to employees, agents, actuaries, etc that they look at and project the company image and products with a new perspective, new being the operational word. The advertisements are one of the few where monitoring effectiveness has been easy and quick results have been seen. Brand awareness and recognition have increased exponentially post advertisement, or so believes the client.