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Billing those catchy boards

09-June-2005
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Billing those catchy boards

It matches the Times Square kind of fascination for outdoor advertisers just because it falls within the vision of teeming millions that venture that way. Patel Bridge on busy Marine Drive is the most expensive outdoor location in the country, mopping up Rs 21 lakh a month.

This site is so much in demand that it is usually not let out for more than ten days at a stretch. The Patel Bridge space is a must for all advertisers worth their salt.

More than a media deal, “it is a show of marketing prowess, which gives a massage to the marketer's ego”, is what the marketing head of a company that has tried out the site for its brand, has to say. That's why even today Jet Airways and Virgin occupy the pride of place on the Mumbai firmament to attract evening and morning moving traffic, respectively. Apparently, the side which targets the evening traffic is priced higher.

Not far behind is the Hira Panna market near Haji Ali, Mumbai commanding a cool Rs 16 lakh a month. In Bangalore, it is the Airport Road where hoardings go for as much as Rs 7.5 lakh per month.

The Gemini flyover in Chennai is the fourth most expensive slot with a price tag of Rs 7 lakh a month. Don't fret if you don't see Delhi on the list. Hoardings are not quite allowed as per a court ruling.

Among the less costly ones in other prominent cities is Kolkata's Eastern Bypass road, which carries a price tag of Rs 4.5 lakh a month. Hyderabad comes last with the Begumpet location raking in Rs 4 lakh.

Mumbai, the hub of commercial activities, boasts of some 3,000-4,000 billboards, says Yogesh Lakhani, owner of Bright Advertising that has 700 billboards. “Outdoor has become a crucial link in the advertisers' media plan and they are focusing on innovations on that platform in a big way.”

No wonder then, outdoor as an advertising channel is a Rs 700-800 crore medium. “The outdoor platform is no longer a small time business in India. It's growing at 12% per annum although on a smaller base,” says Armenio Rebeiro, president, Portland, a global outdoor major.

That's why global agencies specialising in outdoors have begun to eye India, even though a big market like Delhi has put a clamp on billboards. Yet, companies engaged in lifestyle, mall and real estate development are flouting norms by putting up billboards, especially in the East Delhi area.

However, bus shelters are allowed, fetching Rs 3-4 lakh a month depending on the location. Other smart marketers are doing everything to circumvent Delhi municipal laws. For instance, many have pressed mobile billboards mounted on four-wheelers doing the rounds of the city.

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