Initial OOH campaigns post-COVID will be purpose-driven: Experts

OOH leaders discuss the inventories they would bet their money on, the brands that are likely to bounce back on OOH and how the medium will emerge in a post COVID environment

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: May 21, 2020 9:55 AM
OOH in Post COVID environment

As we dive into lockdown 4.0, most states are easing out restrictions imposed by the Central and State governments on the movement of people. Some businesses and commercial areas will be resuming and going back to normal with a lesser workforce. With this relaxation, brands will gain the confidence to come on board and media spends will return to OOH.

But it’s time to shun the old ways. OOH companies will have to revamp their strategies, inventories, and business models to adapt to the new normal.

The talk of the town is strengthening pDOOH and DOOH systems of the OOH companies in a post-COVID environment. 

In the UK, Ocean Outdoors recently installed DOOH screens using mid-air haptics tech for custom burgers. After customers pick ingredients they want, the retailer displays a QR code on the screen unique to that burger. They can then redeem the burger in the relevant nearby outlet. This showcases the potential innovations OOH inventories have to create customer engagement post-COVID.

e4m takes a look at what OOH Industry experts have to share about the inventory they will be investing in post-COVID, the sector of brands that will bounce back on OOH, and lastly, in terms of the tonality of OOH campaigns will it be more Purpose-driven or commercialized.


Sharing his strategy on the inventory front, Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group says, "Post lockdown we will focus on upgrading our current inventory. DOOH will slowly increase but that will take time in terms of core OOH offerings. DOOH has better traction in transit venues like airports and railway stations which will continue to become more effective."

Sharing a different approach, Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions believes that Traditional OOH will be the first one to start as most of the people will be moving around in personal transports as public transport will have limited capacity and open gradually.

Yagnik pointed out that Media at locations like corporate hubs, retail shops, and residential areas will gain prominence.

Fabian Cowan, Director, Posterscope India believes that in an ecosystem that is driven by data, the investments are dictated less by the type of inventory and more by audience insights and location intelligence. Cowan shares, “We envisage that media that is present at commute locations, at residential clusters and commercial complexes will be used more in the interim. Digital inventory in and around these locations too will get a significant uplift.”

Srikanth Ramachandran, Group Founder, CEO, Moving Walls stresses the potency of Hyperlocal OOH. “In simple terms, Hyperlocal is ‘OOH’ combined with ‘Mobile’. OOH primes the consumer and mobile activates them thereby delivering what the advertiser wants, which is a measurable return on investment. This becomes even more important for OOH media owners and OOH specialist agencies to implement as media spends inevitably move towards measurable and outcome-driven media. The COVID-19 crisis is a catalyst accelerating this trend”, commented Ramachandran.

The sector of brands that will invest in OOH post-COVID
Shrivastava stated, "All sectors will come back, but the core product brands will lead the recovery. E-commerce, FMCG, OTT, and others have had a good run during the lockdown period and will look forward to keeping up with the pace. Hence, they will have to invest in OOH."

Yagnik commented, "All brands of FMCG, Auto (especially 2 wheelers), Insurance (especially life, auto, and health) and Consumer Durables are key categories, which we expect to start as soon as possible. Retail, Real estate, Hospitality, Airlines might take some time and start as soon as they get operational."

Cowan says that by now, it is undeniable that consumer interest in and around products and services will alter significantly. He added, “Their choices on the commute, food, travel, shopping, and health will change dramatically. Brands and categories that exist in this space will most definitely see this as an opportunity and will use OOH aggressively to connect with this new audience mindset.”

The tonality of OOH Campaign's post-COVID: Purpose Driven or Commercialized?

Shrivastava commented, "We expect the initial campaigns to be purpose-driven. Brand marketers have been giving importance to tangible purpose and COVID-19 has been an added impetus to it. What brands associate with now and how true they remain to their promises will decide which brands will be favoured in the post-COVID world, when people will prefer buying only essentials and will be cutting away from extravagant spending."

Yagnik remarked that it will be a mix of both. "Brand purpose and sustainability with commercial communication will be key going forward as consumers will be conscious about the brand and its cost both", he says.

Cowan on a parting note shared, “Almost every kind of communication, no matter what hue it takes, is largely driven by its impact on the bottom line. Be that as it may, I would like to believe that the tonality would centre around benefits and not so much on features.”

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