In-store advertising, the new medium targeted by Indian advertisers, has been on a growth phase over the past few years with the retail boom. With almost every advertiser trying to grab their audiences at the last ‘point of contact’, every trick in the trade is being used by the advertisers, media planners, as well as the media owners, resulting in densely advertised areas and sparsely advertised ones in the space of a few metres.
When posed a question on whether the medium, still in its nascent stage according to industry players, is already facing a problem of clutter creeping in, experts vehemently deny it and expect it to continue to grow much more in the coming years.
Future Media’s Anup Kotekar, Business Director-Audio Visual division, observed that both retail and media in retail is in the growth phase, so it is a natural process for the numbers to grow. “But it is not that the numbers of screen per defined area is growing,” he added.
Denying the over-utilisation of the medium, Soumitra Bhattacharyya, CEO, Laqshya Outdoors, explained, “As more and more malls come up, more and more screens and other media options would be evaluated and installed. The other thing I would like to say is that touch point can be derived not only from malls, but there are other areas as well.”
Explaining Group M’s perspective on this front, Deepak Jayaram, National Director, Dialect/D mART (Micro-marketing Solutions), said, “I guess the key component to look out for would be the context or relevance, pricing and measurement, as they would drive the revenues that come into these solutions. Technology and solutions built on the same are great enablers to create impact and engage consumers, and over a period of time, results will decide which of these solutions are relatively more effective within the mall environment.”
Meanwhile, Ishan Raina, CEO, OOH India, notes that screens in public places will only increase as these reach audiences directly. “Unlike TV, where content needs to be clutter breaking because of fragmentation to ensure that channel is not changed, in this medium screens are where the audience is and there is no provision for channel surfing,” he elaborated. Opining that it is a bit early for advertisers to custom design commercials for this medium, he however expects this to take place in the coming months.
Future Media’s Kotekar pointed out, “There are companies that use TVCs as ads, but we believe in engagement not only through ads, but also using content that is relevant to the ambience. This content also works as disruption and becomes more engaging.”
Citing the example of the recently launched Future TV, which is positioned much like a television network, Kotekar stressed that the company is investing in brand building and content. He, too, believes that while most current advertisers continue to use regular TVCs, they will gradually need to present special commercials, as a cognitive element will have to be built. Elaborating more on Future TV’s features, he explained about the pointcast communication facility to the target consumer.
Stressing that content has to be eyeball grabbing, Bhattachryya believes that correct placement of the screens is necessary. “Having a wonderful content but a bad placement gets you nowhere, and visa versa is equally pathetic,” he added.
Explaining the essentials for making a campaign for the medium, Bhattachryya said, “Data on consumer behaviour at a mall, office or even the lobby of his residential building… how is he moving, how fast is he moving, where does he look when he comes into the corridor, what is the distance of the corridor or area… all that has to be taken into consideration to come up with a great campaign. The basic idea in a TVC and a promo for LCD display may be the same, but the treatment of the advertisement has to be different. That is the most challenging part.”
Jayaram is of the opinion that consumers function out of different needs in different environments, depending on the activity that they are engaged in. “That is why we believe it is very important to correlate that to the content one advertises, as the consumer will notice and appreciate things that add value to his experience there. Content will therefore need to be customised, keeping in mind his state of mind; the dwell time that one is addressing; and the relevance of the same. TVCs may therefore work only in some cases, and ads may need to be modified or customised to use the new digital media more effectively, so that they seamlessly integrate the same into the larger communication objective.”
With such a positive outlook towards the industry, the players are sure to see a huge amount of growth in this market. As experts point out, it’s the creatives that need to be improved for retaining the TG along with the positioning. So, let us hope and wish that we see a more organised and clutter breaking work from the Indian OOH fraternity in the coming years.