“Don’t play with more than 8 words in an OOH campaign”

Amit Akali of Grey India shares golden rules for creating effective outdoor campaigns

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Updated: Dec 24, 2012 8:04 PM
“Don’t play with more than 8 words in an OOH campaign”

Major Indian brands today do not understand the concept of an effective outdoor advertising campaign. There can be many reasons behind this – ranging from cost constraints to lack of confidence in the medium. What is surprising is that there are brands today which lack in maintaining basic hygiene on outdoor formats that puts off the attractiveness factor.

Amit Akali, EVP and National Creative Director, Grey India in a conversation with exchange4media recalls his days of conducting creative workshops for outdoor advertising organised by Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).

Interestingly, Akali picked his first Abby for an outdoor campaign created for Tata Press Yellow Pages 16 years ago when he was associated with Speer (part of Ogilvy). With rich experience of associating with brands that trust outdoor as an effective medium, he also understands what goes behind creating an impressive outdoor format. He shares the dos and don’ts that should be kept in mind while drafting a powerful outdoor campaign.

Don’t play with more than eight words
The basic rule for creating an outdoor is to make it less wordy and more visually attractive. Outdoor as a medium today is cluttered with long copies on large formats because of which they are not effective and don’t draw attention.

Grab attention for instant impact
The biggest challenge in outdoor is to grab attention. If the effectiveness is not created, the moment a creative is exposed to a viewer, the campaign is surely a put-off. A commuter uses multiple media to stay connected and drive engagement. The challenge, however, is to create visual drama that moves the attention of a commuter. The moment a thought is generated due to this, the impact of the campaign will be evident.
Don’t replicate print creatives on outdoor formats
Print ads have a different kind of audience from outdoor ads. In a newspaper or a magazine, one can afford to place details on which readers can spend a little more time. On the other hand, billboard advertising calls for entirely different layout techniques and principles because of a more mobile audience.

Keep in mind the relevance factor
The location is the most important strategy that brands need to keep in mind. Taking multiple hoardings at irrelevant locations is a sheer wastage of money. Instead, smart planning can lead to a better exposure. With location and creativity, various cultural elements should be kept in mind while creating an outdoor campaign. Adding local flavours is something that brands are not leveraging these days.

Don’t overuse subtle branding
Tidy art direction is an art-form in itself; however, do consider that if a consumer manages to effectively imbibe the brand’s advertising message but doesn’t recognise the brand, the campaign fails to create effectiveness. Subtle branding is great but not at the cost of brand recognition.

Go mass to leverage the real power of outdoor
Outdoor has the power of creating multiple impressions at various touch-points for a longer period of time. Unlike other medium of communication, outdoor creatives have longer exposure which can create a great recall. Brands leveraging this factor can design great outdoor campaigns that can create the talk-of-the-town effect.



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