OOH players bring 'out of home' closer to home

Experts discuss OOH inventories and new avenues brands can explore to make themselves more visible in the current COVID environment

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Sep 30, 2020 1:45 PM
New OOH Inventories

The COVID market environment has redefined the traditional OOH inventories as people were confined indoors during the lockdown. For the OOH ecosystem, it was a fight for the survival of the fittest to bring OOH touchpoints closer to home.

The nation is now in the unlock stage and many markets have opened up, however hyperlocal OOH content will be the best bet for brands in this pandemic market. This will, in turn, expand the creativity of OOH players, giving brands new inventories to reach out to their consumers and to grab their attention.

Many new OOH avenues gained momentum during the lockdown like lift branding, corporate park branding, residential areas, ATM branding and advertisement on wheels. These branding activations have continued in this post-COVID environment, keeping safety measures of the citizen at their core. Also, the rise in ambient advertising will give additional value and opportunity to DOOH screens.

Even the Airport OOH Inventories have been revamped, OOH Experts say PPE kits, hand sanitizers, seat branding, and DOOH are gaining more share in this post-lockdown environment from brands.

According to Naresh Bhandari, Chief Operating Officer, Outdoor Media Integrated, Laqshya Media Group, says, "We are currently marketing in the post-lockdown environment. Post Unlock 4.0, people are getting accustomed to the New Normal. The common perception is that people are opting for Work From Home and not venturing outdoors. But, as per a new study carried out by Laqshya, we see that Mumbai traffic travel time is between 84% and 77% of its peak (January 2020) traffic, whereas Delhi is at 75%. Bengaluru, the city most amenable to WFH, also shows that travel times have reached 80% of the peak. This shows that life is coming back to normalcy. This report gives us reassurance and strengthens our resilience.”

Bhandari remarked, “Since Unlock 1.0, when the movement for essentials was allowed, brands and agencies have figured new ways of reaching out to their customers through conventional and tried and tested routes, like Brands-On-Wheels, which was used predominantly in rural areas and lift branding used in urban areas. They reach out to customers closer to their home and in obvious captive environments, like supermarkets. This has helped brands in spite of their restrictive activities.”

Outdoor as a medium always has the capability to come up with unique media opportunities. Post the telecom revolution, branded mobile charging stations were installed by telecom operators themselves at every possible captive location. Charging station evolved into a medium of communication and slowly many electronic companies and other brands started consuming this medium for their advertising as this is a one-of-a-kind impactful media opportunity in a captive environment.

Bhandari shared, “We are currently in the midst of Unlock 4.0 where in the government has allowed a lot more activities which have increased the number of people stepping out of their homes and related activities drastically. Resilience being at the core of new learnings with the current pandemic situation, sanitizing your hands and wearing a mask is a mandatory law which everyone has to follow when they have stepped out of their home and entering any facility for their desired activity or necessity. Some of the unique opportunities many brands and agencies utilized space on is the face mask for branding. It turned out to be a very impactful source of communication.”
Laqshya was very quick to come up with one such new and effective branding solution for their client ‘BharatPe’.

Bhandari shared: “We installed BharatPe branded sanitizer dispensers at high footfall areas or public activity locations like ATM, supermarkets, Kirana stores and outside large residential communities, apartments and societies in the Delhi/NCR region. It helped customers keep their hands sanitized and also facilitated the BharatPe brand name to stay on the top-of-minds.”

This brand activity by Laqshya helped their client both ways. “It worked as CSR (providing sanitization dispensers for the general good) and helped brand visibility and connect with a large number of consumers just before performing a transaction. Sanitizer dispensers at strategic locations are a compulsive point of interaction for customers and brands. This activity helped our client to be at the right location, at the right time before the transaction or activity. This is was a new and unconventional way of communication set by our team. Our client was proud to associate with us and appreciated us being a versatile company”, shared Bhandari. 

In terms of Brands On Wheels, OOH Agency Vritti iMedia recently conceptualized brand activations for Dabur to reach out to the regional market. The two CSR campaigns for the Ayurvedic brand, one focusing on building immunity for police personnel and the other on relieving exam stress of IIT & NEET aspirants go to show that even during pandemic creativity and execution doesn’t need to be restricted.

The Brands On Wheels Activations as pointed out by OOH Experts say that it too creates awareness about the product to the TG, and develops a connection between the brand and customer whilst highlighting the benefits of the product.

Fabian Cowan, Country Head, Posterscope India rounded it up, “In the current context, the importance of a few locations has heightened. Residential premises is a new hot spot as a significant number of people are still working from home and brands are reaching out to this location through innovative ways. However, as traffic increases the traditional billboards are now getting their fair share of attention again and we are witnessing a steady flow of enquiries overall which is an encouraging sign.”

Ritesh Sinha, Product Head - Location Media Xchange (LMX) says, “As people movement patterns shift, we are also seeing a shift in the types of place-based advertising options. Connected screens are ubiquitous across residential buildings, office spaces, restaurants, bars, Government offices, clinic waiting rooms, convenience stores, in-taxis and even on top of taxis. The media owners who are setting up such networks do so with automated and data-driven advertising capabilities out of the box. Our own Location Media Xchange (LMX) platform provides inventory management, audience insights, dynamic ad-serving, and Demand Side Platform (DSP) connectivity to such players across India and Southeast Asia." 
"We continue to partner with a whole host of such non-traditional screen owners and have recently added thousands of sites across multiple venue types. These assets are being made available to brands to engage consumers moments using the same targeting and measurement capabilities they are used to on digital platforms,“ Sinha added.
Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions shared, "We have observed that consumer mobility has changed in the post-Covid era. As per google mobility reports and our internal tool benchmarks we have been looking at enhanced mobility around residential areas. Hence presence in an around these is important. We have multiple static and digital media options in these locations which are explored. In metro markets society branding options and media inside RWAs are proposed. Also, supermarkets and pharmacies are another locations where we see good mobility where consumers visit for essentials. We have been exploring media like DOOH and static at these touch points."
Meanwhile, Rishabh Mehta, Founder & CEO, LOCAD, said some of the mediums besides lift lobby media are interactive kiosks and Digital Contactless Sanitizer Dispensers. "At LOCAD we have also just introduced the COVID-19 DOOH kiosk - LOCSHIELD which has an AI camera to check whether the consumer is wearing a mask or not along with their temperature and displays the same on the Digital Screen. The digital screen also plays engaging content and advertisements. Besides this, the unit has a contactless sanitizer dispenser and does attendance management as well automatically for facility management staff or office workers etc. Such mediums which add value to the establishments and consumers along with providing unique branding opportunity are being looked at by brands very positively. We are in the process of rolling out the first set of machines across Delhi, Mumbai and Pune with a couple of very interesting brands."

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