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OOH: How festivals will play a key role in post-Covid revival

Industry players share how the sector is picking up and prepping for the festivals, their plans for the season, and the growth they are expecting

by Rasika Kiran Upasani
Published - Sep 1, 2021 8:41 AM Updated- Sep 1, 2021 8:41 AM

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With the country embracing the ‘new normal' and the authorities easing lockdown restrictions, Out Of Home (OOH) advertising is all set to bounce back from the unfortunate second wave of Covid and the long hiatus enforced by the pandemic.

Brands are steadily commencing their campaigns as more and more people are getting vaccinated resulting in an increase in mobility at various touchpoints, including airports and malls. This rise in movement is providing OOH and DOOH a huge opportunity to recuperate. With a positive sentiment around, most industry players are confident that the festivals could well be the saving grace for the OOH sector. We spoke to OOH owners and agencies on how the sector is picking up and prepping for the festivals, their plans for the season, and the growth they are expecting.

According to Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions, the OOH market started picking up from August as multiple campaigns were going live. He elaborates, "This is a clear sign of how the upcoming festive season would be. We are quite optimistic about the festive season. Multiple clients have started the campaigns and the faith of advertisers is back in the media. Being one of the oldest and the only media to give larger-than-life perspective to brands, the sheer impact of this medium is driving the rush. With the revised unlock guidelines by various state governments across the country, we are seeing a rise in mobility at various touchpoints. This increased movement is set to grow in the coming time as more people are getting vaccinated and returning gradually to normalcy. We have seen increased mobility in places of interest and destination points such as malls and airports etc.”

“DOOH is expected to comparatively pick up its market share with large format digital media coming on the streets of major cities like Mumbai and Delhi. As these screens grow, they will enhance the outdoor landscape and dynamics positively. Clients can get flexibility in terms of visibility and innovations. Planners have started talking the language of slot bookings and one site can be shared with multiple clients based on the availability of slots. This not only results in better inventory and value for the client but also helps the overall industry growth. This festive season looks promising for both OOH and DOOH and we are sure that after the setback of last year's lockdown, this medium is set to bounce back," he added.

Gulab Patil, Founder, CEO, Lemma, remarked, "Brands have started planning early and are looking for data-led plans and execution solutions. Given the uncertainty during the pandemic, companies are parking their spending on OOH solutions that provide validated data to run ads and are equipped to render ads or disable them in real-time as the situation may demand. Furthermore, brands see DOOH as an extension to their digital media plans allowing them to amplify & complement their overall festive media strategy. We are churning out plans largely for FMCG brands, automotives,
e-com, and other categories that tend to be big players during festivities."

According to Atul Srivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group, "After successive lockdowns, the country is finally open and consumers are eager to spend time outdoors, especially away from screens. At this juncture, with the upcoming festive season, OOH is the best medium to reach target audiences. The pan-India vaccination drives and herd immunity factors give us confidence that the festive season this year will have a far better run than last year, closer to 2019 numbers. DOOH is also rising steadily, backed by low costs and flexibility for brands. Even though the current number of DOOH mediums is low, the demand is at an all-time high. We at Laqshya Media are steadily increasing our DOOH assets.”

“We are already seeing big and medium campaigns being run on OOH. Leading the pack are OOT platforms, auto brands, and mobile handset brands. Other than this, BFSI and real estate sectors are also making bold forays into OOH. We have already run campaigns for Zee5, Acko General Insurance, Jeep India to name a few. This will increase much more by the time the festivals start."

Upinder Singh, Project Director, Edge1 Outdoor Media Management Software, added, "The festive season is the perfect time to harness the power of OOH, since people are trying to shop for their loved ones. There’s a lot of pressure to find the right gift, increasing the likelihood of impulse purchases. Having your ads out near shops, roads, and malls makes it much more likely that you will find new customers during festive times. With sales during the festive season surging, businesses can’t afford to ignore this ideal time for advertising.”

“Covid-19 has made the DOOH platform central in the marketplace, as its formats allow advertisers to be fluid with when, where, and how impressions are delivered. This is highly valuable right now and for the festive season, as consumers adopt a hybrid model of digital and physical shopping and decide what they will do when preparing to shop. Consumers are looking all around them to see what deals they will have for this first-of-its-kind and unprecedented holiday season, and those indoor assets that are already in the midst of the shopping environment will be a crucial point of persuasion. With the number of vaccinated population increasing, and the festivals bringing customers back to the markets, it is just the right time to reach the consumers through out-of-home (OOH) media. Companies across automobiles, smartphones, jewellery, BFSI, telecom, e-commerce, video-streaming platforms, and real estate are driving the recovery."

According to Rahul Biswas, Group CMO, Eyetalk Media Ventures, "DOOH market looks very bright for us. Our Street DOOH network is sold out as of today. With Covid -19, a lot has changed from a customer journey, consumption pattern to clients' expectations. Clients today are reluctant to take high-value media and expect as much as a 40-50% discount. Such scenarios help DOOH play a larger role in media planning being a cost-effective medium. Corporate DOOH is picking traction due to private vaccination drives in corporate parks. Footfall is back to 50% of pre-Covid times. Hoping for exciting times ahead this festive season."

Arjit Chakrabarti, Head of Strategy, Kinetic India, remarked, “The festive season in H2  kicks off with Onam in Kerala and we have seen increased investments from multiple categories spanning media & entertainment, auto, consumer durable as well as fast fashion. The western region also has multiple campaigns targeting festive footfalls across consumer services, real estate, FMCG, and usual suspects like media & entertainment categories. In the east, despite Durga Pujo being nearly 45+ days away, multiple brands are already deploying festive OOH campaigns. Notably, BFSI brands are typically seen during the first quarter of the year and return only during Diwali. However, this year around they are already present heavily on OOH. Our audience research is showing the current set of people coming out of home are more experimental. They are more open to new ideas, products & brands. There is a palpable pent-up rage to be outside - which is similar to revenge travel which was witnessed starting around monsoon this year. Thus, a footfall surge is expected during the festive months, especially in controlled OOH spaces. With many digital OOH screens programmatically enabled – the PDOOH infrastructure is perfect aligned to target consumer micro-moments. Airports with PDOOH infrastructure are now on the verge of setting new benchmarks, not just in terms of passenger traffic but also innovative application of PDOOH. We are actively exploring such differentiated opportunities with clients looking to leverage customized hyperlocal communications. We note that recovery has been even better than it was anticipated earlier, and this gives us greater confidence about the festive season and 2022 overall.”


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