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Outdoor has gone way beyond billboards, but will continue to be relevant?

21-March-2014
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Outdoor has gone way beyond billboards, but will continue to be relevant?

The OOH industry is growing at a fast pace for the last couple of years. In 2013, the outdoor industry formed 6.2 per cent of the total advertising spends according to the Pitch-Madison Advertising Outlook report. The rapid development in infrastructure will continue to boost the outdoor medium with significant technological developments in this space. But with the growth of digital media, will OOH be relevant?

Sevantika Bhandari, Director, Marketing, MaxBupa, said, “We have spent considerable amount on the OOH medium and we will continue to do so. With the advent of mobile technology and augmented reality, the ROI received from OOH has become far more quantifiable. The integration of OOH with activation will make it more and more relevant especially for categories like insurance which is not as exciting as FMCG.” Bhandaribelieves that this medium is going to be much more popular and meaningful with the advent and integration across technologies.

According to Siddharth Subramaniam, Principal Manager-Media, ITC, OOH works as a very good point-of-sale and almost 15-20 per cent of ITC’s budgets is allocated to OOH. However, Manohar Bhat, VP-Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, said, “We are comparatively conservative and traditional in our approach. We use OOH mainly when there is a big launch. We are also innovatively using digital to attractthe niche audience. OOH helps in publicisinga message to a larger audience in the least possible time. The only problem of OOH is that there is lack of measurement of ROI but we are working our way through these things.”

Aditya Save, Head- Digital Marketing & Media International Global Excellence, Marico, brought to light the challenges faced with this medium.

Subramaniam pointed that there is a need to identify whether the target audience needs OOH or not. He also explained that the existing supply of outdoorhas increased and it is becoming price-sensitive.

Experts also questionedwhether outdoor is only limited to billboards or advertisers have now started exploring various innovative formats. Bhandari said, “Outdoor has gone way beyond billboards. The idea is to create experiential things through activation. The challenge here is not about fewer hoardings and spending moreon those fewer hoardings. We are not thinking differentlyenough to capitalize on the OOH opportunities that consumers are providing to us. The consumers are interacting with OOH through multiple touch-points. We need to go out where they are andinteract with them in the most innovative and clutter-breaking form.”She also explained that brands are just translating TV ads into outdoor. They forget that the two experiencesare very different.

The lack of creativity in this medium is also affecting the growth of this medium as compared to TV and digital.

Bhat believes that the idea is to think differently and out-of-the box to monetize this medium. He made an interesting point that marketers need to invest differently in cities that are not traditionally exposed to outdoor. However, the team has to put in more effort because the idea is to attract attention in small intervals at various touch points.

The panelists were expressing their views at the session- ‘Sign of Times: OOH will always be relevant’at the 4th edition of the OOH Conference & Awards.
 

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The OOH sector is among the fastest growing, globally. Brands and marketers have realized its potential and impact and begun to craft medium-specific adverts. Self-regulation is not only necessary but also essential to growth of the sector. The industry needs to exercise a certain level of this self-restraint to prove its commitment to maintaining the best standards in advertising.

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