Guest Article: Digital OOH: Faking it

What is perceived as digital OOH in India is actually just electronic media, says Mandeep Malhotra, President, DDB MudraMax

e4m by Mandeep Malhotra
Updated: Apr 26, 2012 9:24 AM
Guest Article: Digital OOH: Faking it

We do four pitches a week during which we are asked, “Do you have digital OOH capabilities?” Of course, like all other slave agencies we say, “Oh yeah! Big time.” And then no one brings up the topic of digital in that forum.

You know why? Because everyone in that room is faking it! No one in India has even scraped digital OOH yet, at least not that I know of.

Is it the dynamic times we live in or is it just me? I don't get it. I have attended a few forums where everyone says digital OOH is the future and it is going to change our habits, etc. I have had people come up to me and try to sell ‘ultimate digital mediums’ and they are LCD displays as a network or TV screens in a cab or larger than life LED walls, etc. My question is...are they digital? In legal terms, maybe but from a self-derived definition I would categorise them as electronic media.

To my understanding, digital alone is a waste of time and is only electronic in its current avatar. Digital can't be segmented and TV, radio, entertainment and mobile should all contribute to digital.

I totally understand that our consumption habits have evolved – good for us. As our habits have matured socially and we are ready (partially) to embrace technology, should we not define digital as a medium which is electronically social? If a medium can generate two-way brand communication by engaging with the prospect, that is digital to me.

Let us distinguish digital and electronic clearly. What we have in India today in OOH is electronic. We should embrace this fact and work towards digitising it. We should work and solve a business problem using digital not electronic OOH. We all have digital capabilities – the charm is in being able to integrate offerings to make the desired impact.

The author is President, DDB MudraMax

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