What you see is what you get. A poor creative means poorly performing campaign, and a wasted opportunity to get the most out of the medium. Innovation in out of home (OOH) media is nothing new. Every agency specialist offers innovation as part of his media package. Every client wants innovation in his campaign. So all is hunky dory, everything is understood, right?
The OOH medium, over the years, in India has recorded the highest percentage of growth, after the digital medium. The reason for this sudden spurt in growth can be attributed to a myriad of factors. One would be the increased fragmentation in the primary media of TV & print and leading advertisers seeking better return on their investments. Another would be the increase in the amount of time spent out of home and the lifestyle changes for the average person, which could be attributed to higher economic growth. This has resulted in OOH advertising emerging as an integral part of the media mix for advertisers, a far cry from the below-the-line, and leftover budget activity that it was once considered.
Though the need for research is key to decision making process, in an economic downturn it is more important than ever for outdoor to provide clients with research that help them make the right decision. In the absence of industry syndicated research, agency specialists offer their patented planning and research solutions. Every advertiser tracks awareness by mediums, through respective research agencies. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the medium is delivering ROI, and this explains the renewed interest and usage of this medium. Syndicated research will surely bring credibility to OOH industry and the medium.
Nevertheless a successful OOH creative needs fast impact, a clear message and strong branding. For outdoor advertising, impact is the key. Outdoor advertising must involve the consumer and establish a link to the brand in the blink of an eye. Impact is achieved when the ad is noticed and remembered, when the ad is well-branded and when the ad builds vivid memories. Memorable ad is the key to the long-term success of the brand, as advertising works by being retained in long-term association with the brand
While such an increase in growth has been a boon for the industry, the flipside is that the growth has fuelled (barely regulated) proliferation, and hence clutter in outdoor media, resulting in much that same dilemma as those facing advertisers with respect to other media -- how do they maximise visibility? It is true that a good creative does, to a large extent, help the OOH campaign stand out in the crowd. But increasingly, OOH creative in India has developed to a point whereby all are aware of the rules for developing a good outdoor creative. When a higher percentage of the creative is good, the problem crops up again. The value proposition of innovations becomes all the more prominent in this context.
An innovation in outdoor media would be hardly regulated by the same limitations as that in the more conventional spaces of TV and print. There are no fixed formats to live within; the limits are set by your imagination and budget. The best innovations in the outdoor media space have done by ignoring most of the rules governing other media. The larger than life canvas that OOH media provides, lends itself to spectacular eye-catching executions. The cardinal rules of outdoor creative remain the same for the innovations, so themes that are simple and bold, with minimally worded messages, and are larger than life will work for you.
To sum up, with clients clamouring for more bang for less buck, it is only natural to push for the right mix of a great creative and never before innovations vis-à-vis regular media in the out of home space. Clients who have traditionally exploited the OOH media space, have even started keeping a share of spends aside purely for innovations.
Post completion of OOH syndicated media research, I guess, we can do away with the excuse of undermining the real potential that OOH medium delivers. It’s time that agencies look at the OOH creative pre-testing research service. The objective of creative pre-testing signifies a new maturity and commitment to deliver a great medium specific creative and ensure that every penny of the client works harder. It is extremely important for clients and agencies to understand why their creative failed in achieving its objective of making an impact.
Creative agencies need to look at implementing creative pre-testing research; each test should start from an understanding of the campaign’s objective. The objectives pre-testing could be
1. Is the ad message easily understood?
2. Does the ad motivate and promote a reaction
3. Is the ad memorable?
The author is the President of Ogilvy Action India. The views expressed are the writer’s own and not those of the editors and publisher of exchange4media.com.