Is airport OOH ready for take-off as domestic flights resume?

Industry experts believe that although brands may be initially hesitant to advertise after a two-month lull, airport advertisements biz will surely bounce back

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Published: Jun 3, 2020 8:24 AM  | 5 min read
Airport Advertising

After a long break of two months due to the nationwide lockdown, domestic flights resumed on May 25th, 2020. This bounce-back of domestic flights is a good opportunity for the OOH industry to revive their business. The OOH industry has faced a huge impact due to the nationwide lockdown since it’s a visual outdoor medium that is dependent on traffic on the road. Many cities, except a few like Mumbai and Delhi, haven’t received help from the civic authorities in waving off license fees. The business recovery of the OOH Industry is just a matter of time as the nation comes out of the lockdown gradually.

OOH industry leaders shared with e4m their views on airport advertising picking up, now that domestic flights have begun, and the sectors that will bounce back on OOH.

According to Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy Officer, Times OOH, based on the information he received from airport operators and research agencies, the airports would soon be operating at close to 70% of their previously utilized capacity. Nanda stated, "With the new norms, we can expect even higher dwell times of passengers for brands to communicate. Researches of consumers in other countries shows the need of travel surging as nations come out of lockdown. Brands are also feeling a strong need to communicate their new messaging to consumers and have started advertising at the airports. We at Times OOH have the most premium of airport assets that offer elite audiences to brands and some of the finest OOH media we have seen in the country."

Talking about brands spending on this OOH site due to the new norms, Nanda comments, "We have spent a lot of time evaluating the new passenger paths and have developed hosts of new media options that will excite advertisers and offer them interesting solutions. Most of our media assets are located at strategic locations that offer maximum audience exposure to brands. For example, the entry gates have become even more important now as the dwell time has doubled due to health check norms. The placements are also backed by extensive passenger research and understanding of passenger movement using advanced technology. Also, we have identified new sectors and companies’ basis change in the trend of the consumers, that are likely to strive in the new post COVID world. These are based on extensive research done by our internal product teams as well as third party trends."

Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group said that with domestic flights opening up, people have indeed started venturing out to meet family members and for work. He further remarked: “Flights are considered the safest mode of transport because of the level of sanitization carried out at each step. Hence people who can afford it are preferring it over other modes of transport. The quality of passenger audience has increased as compared to that in the pre-COVID era, but the quantum of traffic will take a little longer to build up. Thus, it can be utilized by marketers for public-spirited messaging. Airports across the country, especially the IT-industry heavy airports, should see a sharp recovery. DOOH and pDOOH will also see a higher implementation in the airports, giving marketers a better chance to innovate.”

Laqshya Media has already started campaigns at Hyderabad Airport. Shrivastava stated, “Brands want to communicate to the flyers that they stand with them in these times and welcome them once again to travel in the new normal. Some are sticking to brand and corporate communications to portray a sense of normalcy and reassurance of business as usual to their customers.”

Fabian Cowan, Director, Posterscope India believes that as the traffic at airports increases, it is sure to attract advertiser interest. “Airports have long been an important location for brands and will continue to be so. Brands in the mobile handsets space, automobiles, and lifestyle products will probably be the first movers now that travel restrictions have been lifted”, commented Cowan.

Dipankar Sanyal, CEO, Platinum Outdoor feels that the airports opening up under the current situation will definitely be operating under stringent conditions. He remarks, “Passengers who would be travelling would definitely be those who absolutely need to travel and not the regular traveller. Hence the footfalls would be much less. Under such conditions, brands will take cautious steps in coming aboard the airport media. Automobiles, mobile handsets, E-commerce, banks are likely categories to take the initial steps.”

Even Atin Gupta, Managing Director, Atin Promotions & Advertising shares the same sentiment as Sanyal. “People need to get more confidence that it is safe to fly, business sentiments have to improve and capacity to come back to 50% for action to start. Once the traffic comes back, brands will flock again. The benefits of airport advertising are unmatched. E-commerce, Pharma, Consumer Durables, FMCG, Insurance are some of the sectors that will be prominent in this space”, concluded Gupta.

It is safe to say that there will be hesitation from the brand’s end to advertising in airports initially. On the contrary, it will bounce back to normal soon and be the saving grace for the OOH Industry.


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