The Outdoor Advertising Convention (OAC) 2005 kicked off in Mumbai yesterday. It proved to be a good platform to discuss issues pertaining to outdoor as an advertising medium. Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults, said that the advertising industry has evolved, progressing from mainly using indoor advertising to shifting its attention to outdoor as a medium.
Speaking about the Middle East market, Mohammed Al Noori, Head of Advertising Section, Dubai Municipality, said that the market invests heavily in infrastructure, trade, retail, service sectors, real estate, tourism, leisure and sports. Noori added that traffic and other limitations compelled Dubai Municipality to innovate. “The share of outdoor in total advertising is to the tune of 10-12 per cent. Outdoor is most effective as a medium in Dubai as population is highly mobile, during day as well as wee hours of night.”
Giving his views on whether television is competing with or complementing outdoor medium, Tarun Katial, Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television, said that television offers a captive audience. Quoting the example of Jassi’s success, Katial said that the whole concept was to build Jassi but not to show her. In this process, big outdoor medium helped. Even Indian Idol used hoardings to convey its message – Sab Kuch Bhula De. Amul’s topical advertisements on hoardings was also discussed by Katial. In Katial’s view, outdoor works as the biggest supportive medium for television.
Pratap Bose, President, Ogilvy Actiaion, conveyed that being innovative really helps make an impact. Explaining that consumer interpretation of outdoor campaigns is at three levels – rational, emotional and cultural, Bose took the audience through some spectacular creative works, which had succeeded in connecting with the consumer. Bose said, “The 3 killer Bs must be always be taken care of – brevity, branding and borders.”
Roda Mehta, Chairperson, Technical Committee, MRUC, stressed on the need in the industry to share and increase knowledge through open interactive sessions.
Mehta said, “The television industry grew after the peoplemeter system was introduced but since the cinema fraternity chose to withhold information or share it, it went out of business.”
Divulging details on the Indian Outdoor Survey, Ashok Das, Managing Director, Hansa Research, said that it will cover 11 cities as a beginning and a software would also be worked on. The system would have six modules. In the first module, all the sites of the 11 cities would be covered, followed by a module handling physical count of traffic, which in turn would be followed by other relevant modules.
“Owing to oncoming monsoon season, which would observe unusual traffic flow, a decision to measure traffic after the rains has been taken. 17 parameters for each site would be recorded. The parameters would deal with all relevant factors like lit or unlit status, profile of people travelling etc. According to the current proposal, transient modes of advertising would not be covered,” Das said.
Rehan Merchant, Executive Director, Emirates Neon Group, discussed at length about ‘The concessionare’s role in developing the Outdoor Advertising market – The Middle East Experience’
Merchant stressed on the point that it is necessary to avoid too much of a clutter and to use innovation while trying to deliver results for the client. “Immense care should be observed to see that the billboards or hoardings don’t fall due to sudden rain or natural outbursts. Adding digital element to outdoors would work very well too,” asserted Merchant.
Bijoor moderated the short session that followed, which had specialist agencies on one panel and media owners on the second panel. The first panel comprised J C Giri, Arminio Ribiero, Ratnakar Rai and Soumitra Bhattacharyya whereas the second panel had Adille Sumariwala, Sunil Maheshwari, RajnishRawat and Venkatraman Movva.
Bijoor began the session by giving some statistical data, “India’s contribution is just $3.5 billion out of total worldwide advertising of $360 billion. Outdoor constitutes only 7 per cent of India’s total advertising.”
Each panel’s members were asked to point out good points as well as bad points of the other, without keeping in mind the need to be ‘politically correct’.
The media owners were accused of not being able to unite into a single representative body. Misuse of authority, excess of clutter and lack of investment in the right direction were the added allegations.
There was the other part of the story as well. The specialist agencies were advised to develop their own talent house rather than indulging in poaching. Late payment and inadequate payment were added woes of the media owners.
As suggestions to better the functioning of the outdoor industry, the need to increase manpower was discussed. It was also agreed that there should be unity among all facets of the outdoor industry to address issues and solve them.
Bijoor pointed out that in Japan only 11 per cent of household income is spent on groceries, whereas the comparative figure for India is 54 per cent. This also explains why FMCS stay back from advertising through outdoor.
Bijoor concluded by saying, “IOS 2005 is just a fundamental step towards organising the Outdoor industry. It’s just like peeling the first layer of he onion. Efforts have to continue and come from all sides to build outdoor substantially. Sufficient number backing and a reliable method have to evolve to convince advertisers of outdoor’s ability to deliver results. Only then will Indian advertising in the world pie grow.”