Advertising at Mumbai and Delhi airports finally ready for takeoff

Experts say one of the key factors driving this growth is the increase in the dwell time of passengers at airports due to increased security measures

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Mar 10, 2022 1:35 PM  | 8 min read
Growth in Airport Advertising

As the nation went into a lockdown in March to stop the spread of Covid-19, airport advertising was on a standstill for two months until the government permitted domestic air travel in May. Hit hard, most brands are looking forward to reviving the losses endured during the lockdown period. In the three months since the opening of airports, brands like Vivo, Volkswagen, KIA Motors, and Naturals have come on board and invested in airport inventories. With more and more people beginning to travel, brands are now achieving greater impact in promoting their products and services at airports. Sectors like automobile, consumer durables, BFSI, and mobile handsets have been the benefactors of growth in airport advertising during this period.

With new safety measures in place, there has also been an increase in dwell time for consumers-90 minutes approx-, and this provides an opportunity for brands to make their campaigns more visible. Experts say PPE kits, hand sanitizers, seat branding, and DOOH are gaining more share in this post-lockdown environment.

e4m spoke to OOH experts on the growth of airport advertising both at Delhi and Mumbai airports and the key factors that are driving the growth.

The Growth

According to Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy Officer, Times OOH, the overall confidence of passengers as well as advertisers is growing as we unlock. “Our airports have seen high passenger traffic growth. Both Mumbai and Delhi airports saw a 30% increase in passenger traffic in July and August. The resumption of airport operations with new safety procedures and protocol has instilled confidence in flyers which allowed for the eventual bounce back in traffic to happen. We have also been able to close several advertising deals in the month across categories,” shares Nanda.

Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group says, “With the opening up of air travel, airports have seen a good spike in the number of travelers. Delhi and Mumbai are two of the largest airports in India with maximum traffic. Domestic traffic in Delhi has crossed 35% of last year’s July traffic, and Mumbai domestic traffic has crossed 30% of the same time last year. Interestingly, domestic traffic in Hyderabad airport was more than Mumbai in June 2020. Overall, we are witnessing a 30-50% increase in traffic month-on-month since June 2020. Traffic would further accelerate in all Metro Airports once the mandatory home quarantine on landing (14 days) rule is lifted.”

Gulab Patil, Founder, CEO, Lemma Technologies, remarked, “The inflow of demand for airport inventory is certainly higher in comparison to other place-based media. One in every two queries that come in is in fact for airport inventory, irrespective of the city or product. Comparing the demand from May 25 to now, there’s a growth witnessed every month, averaging anywhere between 45% and 55% M-O-M. Not just the growth in demand but even the reason to travel has seen a shift from essentials to now leisure and business trips.”

Atin Gupta, Managing Director, Atin Promotions & Advertising, added, “It’s been slow and steady growth. Clients have started coming back especially at airports where the offerings are in line with traffic figures.”

Also, brands have oped for new inventories in regards to the new safety measures implemented in airports.

Nanda shared, “We have been proactive in offering brands some new innovative options alongside the regular premium media in these testing times. For example, we have Naturals salon that has sponsored handsanitisers at Coimbatore and Trichy airports. It is a new area that the pandemic has led people to be conscious about and various brands have ventured into this industry. We are also in talks with brands at Mumbai and Delhi airports to offer other new avenues like floor markers, seat branding, and check-in glasses which now have become a regular part of passenger journey and dwell time within the airports. Also, there are specialized interventions, like developing concepts around the point of sale of PPE, about which we are in talks with authorities with regards to brand advertisement.”

Patil added, “Brands are on a constant lookout for ways that offer meaningful interactions with audiences at any given point. In the current scenario, in case of DOOH screens, brands are looking at technology-based variations like contextual ads, dynamic ads, audience-based ad serving capabilities, ensuring that each exposure translates to relevant reach.”

On the same note, Gupta pointed out that now brands are focusing more on digital inventories, especially ones that provide them with data.

The increase in dwell time at airports has called for an increase in brand visibility. The pandemic has revamped consumers' behaviour patterns and lifestyles. The post-lockdown environment and new safety measures have introduced new avenues for brands to make their campaigns more visible to consumers.

Sharing his perspective, Nanda says, “One of the areas where the new rules have had an impact is the dwell time of passengers inside airports. It is as much as 90 minutes in departures due to the protocols, offering higher mind space of passengers in the airports making them more receptive to brand communication and advertising. Media opportunities are well-positioned at our airports and a well-designed path from the curb to gate translates more dwell time within the terminal and more opportunities for passengers to engage with the brands. And OOH has been inherently a larger-than-life media offering high visibility as you take your journey.”

Patil explains that increased dwell time with limited distraction is one of the newer selling points for the airport inventory coupled with a certain audience segment belonging to a certain income group, shared interests, and affinities. “All of these put together make it a lucrative space for brand advertising with higher OTS for brands," shared Patil.

Brands that are spending on airport inventory

Nanda, talking about the brands that are spending on airport inventory, says, “We have almost all the top categories back at airport advertising that were present pre-Covid. Automobile brands have a challenging time ahead to recover the sales. Multiple BFSI campaigns are on. Even handsets that have been very active at airports have continued where they had left from, and we are expecting others to follow. Also, some growing categories like OTT and e-commerce have invested in airport advertising with brand communications being around new series and product launches. We are also witnessing interest from new emerging categories like personal care and healthcare. Somewhere all sectors are hit by supply chain disruptions at one end and low consumer sentiments on the other, and advertising would play a key role in the revival.”

In terms of Mumbai airport, according to Times OOH, in the automobile category, Volkswagen is using large outdoor sites catering to the arrival of passengers. KIA Motors has been leveraging the arriving audiences at the public concourse area and Apollo Tyres has been targeting the departure and arrival of passengers.

Abbey Thomas, Head of Marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India speaking about the ad spends that are going into airport advertising says, “Airport advertising constitutes a major share of our OOH advertising budget; cities like Mumbai and Delhi accounts for nearly 60 percent of air travel in India and thus are the focus areas in our media planning.”

 Talking about how effective airport advertising is for brands in the current post-pandemic market, Thomas remarked, “With the slow and steady resumption of air travel, airports provide the OOH industry and brands a huge opportunity to connect with their audience being one of the few public places that can offer focused consumer attention in the current situation.”

 Pointing out the new inventories that brands are opting for Thomas says, “Media at departure is the single largest section where the dwell time has increased rapidly due the current restrictions and within the section seat branding in the waiting area is largely unexplored.  Additionally, vehicle display at a prominent location in the departure area offers immense visibility for auto brands like ours. There is an added advantage in having vehicle displays at airport premises, since the area around the displays are much larger and safer in terms of social distancing.”

In the handset category, at Mumbai airport, Vivo is prominently displayed at the Departure Check-In Area and Apple has strategically displayed its campaigns for head-on visibility at Departures.

For Patil, it has been automotives, mobile, OTT, and FMCG categories that have been the primary sectors to ‘begin again’ on airport inventories. However, Patil points out that the game will be very different around the same time next month with the onset of IPL along with the Indian festive season.

Gupta, meanwhile, said consumer durables, auto, financial, PSU, and real estate have started to spend on airport inventory.

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