"Along with performance and delivery, OOH needs respect"
At a time when OOH forms a miniscule part of the marketer’s media mix, industry experts share thoughts on what can be done to make it centre-stage
Out of home advertising has been an imperative part of the marketing blueprint of companies with its mass reach and targeting. However, in terms of its relative importance and spend allocation, the medium still lags behind television, print and digital.
Is OOH perceived to be less effective than other conventional media vehicles? If not, then what are the factors that are preventing this medium from moving centre-stage and at par with other media platforms?
Some of the advantages of OOH that have often been cited include its cost-effectiveness and high reach. According to Suresh Balakrishna, CEO, Lintas Initiative, it is also the medium that has seen the maximum innovations. At a time when traditional mass media such as television and print are struggling to adapt to the all-pervasive digital medium, he feels that OOH has successfully adjusted itself.
Nabendu Bhattacharyya, Founder and MD, Milestone Brandcom shared examples of brands that have been heavily reliant on outdoor advertising. “When Amul was launched, close to 95 per cent of the money was spent on OOH. DNA and Hutch are other examples that have dominantly used this medium. So the power of this medium has clearly been established,” he said.
Providing a client’s perspective, Nalin Kapoor, Group Head – Marketing, Hyundai Motor India stated that he agrees on OOH being a significant and unique media and that it has both, a complementary and a strong independent role to play in campaigns. He said that he is ready to look at campaigns that rest solely on OOH.
However, there also exist some glaring challenges such as lack of a standard body and matrix of measurement that need to be addressed for this medium’s share in the overall ad pie to grow.
According to Abraham Koshy, Professor Marketing, IIM Ahemadabad, the very definition of OOH needs to be revised. “OOH is a very ubiquitous term. There is need for a typological classification for greater clarity. We need to move away from revenue maximisation to some standardised reference point for pricing,” he said.
Lack of a standard regulatory body and absence of an effective measurement matrix are the other glaring concerns put forth by players.
“In agencies’ urge to find competitive differentiation, there has been no focus on research and there is no common industry currency,” said Satish Singh, President, Laqshya Media.
Professor Koshi went on to ask if there is any need for research that defines measures of effectiveness of media. “Just like there are parameterised measures such as pagination for newspapers, what is the indicator of price in the case of outdoor? How do we move into a more valid, standardised platform, in terms of media measurement and classification?” were the questions he raised.
Co-creation and consolidation is the way forward
There is huge traction-building in this industry in the last two-three years, both in creative terms as well as redefining what OOH means. There is a need for greater integration between different stakeholders; media owners need to gain more confidence and creative agencies need to stop considering this medium as an afterthought or a modification,” opined Hyundai’s Kapoor.
Singh echoed a similar view. He said that along with promise and delivery, OOH also needs respect. “OOH agencies don’t trust media owners and creative agencies don’t trust OOH agencies. There is need for greater consolidation, synergy and co-creation,” he said.
Professor Koshy pointed out that it is often the dominant media that decides the media campaign. “The purpose of communication is to inform, persuade, induce trial, purchase, create image and retain loyalty. There is need for media to complement each other,” he said.
There is a paradigm change in consumer’s behaviour. To move OOH from a distant periphery to centre-stage requires assigning strategic roles to different media available on basis of a brand’s communication objectives.
The above mentioned industry leaders shared their views during a panel discussion at the third edition of exchange4media and network2media’s OOH Conference and Awards held on March 22, 2013 in Gurgaon.
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