Mumbai Metro Re-opens: Are brands ready to hop on?

e4m speaks to OOH players to understand how the re-opening of the Versova-Ghatkopar stretch will help in the industry's revival

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Published: Oct 20, 2020 7:45 AM  | 5 min read
Mumbai Metro Advertising

Mumbai Metro One made a comeback yesterday as it finally resumed its services after inspection and trial runs. After 200 days of missing the transport facility, patrons will finally be able to travel on the Versova-Ghatkopar stretch from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm. With the new guidelines, the Metro Rail service will have mandatory signage on trains and on the platforms to spread the message of social distancing, and this will provide a good opportunity for brands to take up CSR initiatives.

The resumption of Mumbai Metro services comes at a time when the biggest sporting event in the nation IPL 2020 is in action and the festive season has begun, making the metro media sites more appealing to brands. The metro service provides a plethora of branding inventories for brands like activations, floor branding, gate arch, Wi-Fi branding in train and on platforms and branded tubes.

e4m spoke to OOH players who advertise on Mumbai Metro One on how the available media sites will help in the industry's revival, how IPL and the festive season can be leveraged by OOH agencies and the categories of brands that are likely to show interest in these inventories.

Interest from clients: Brewing or melting?

According to Times OOH, Mumbai Metro being the densest metro in India with a ridership of 4.5 lakh a day across 12 stations is a favourite destination for brands. Also, it is different from other OOH inventories because of the bouquet of media options that brands can choose to communicate with the target audience, be it digital, train wraps, static formats or promotional spaces.

“After the announcement was made (about the re-opening of metro services), we are seeing several inquiries from brands. With the resumption of services, it will definitely add to the OOH pie in Mumbai,” the company states.

However Geetika Gaulati, Director, Alakh Advertising and Publicity, says since the time the announcement about the re-opening of services was made brands have been talking about getting back on the metro media sites, but bookings are still eluding us. “Brands' budgets have been mostly exhausted and are committed to IPL on TV and OTT. So there is a reluctance,” she remarks.

Junaid Shaikh, MD, Roshan Space says, "In this new era and with the reopening of lockdowns, people have become a lot more conscious in their choices of transport, safety being key. We will see people opting for less crowded transport systems, like metros and private vehicles. Hence it is obvious for advertisers to be present on relevant mediums such as OOH. By large; real estate, FMCG’s, financial corporations, electronics, essential goods and services, and seasonal offers are going to be the trend. There has also been a rise in real estate sales in the last quarter."

Appeal of big-ticket events

This re-opening of metro comes at a time when the nation's biggest sporting event IPL 2020 is in action and the festive season has started. Talking about how these opportunities will curate brand appeal. Times OOH shares, “We would love to have Mumbai metro opened one month back with other metros in the country, but considering our past experiences, we are sure that brands will come on board faster to communicate with commuters. We have various products aligned with the festive season and IPL, like cricket score sponsorships, customized promotion zones, Live TV at platforms, and video walls for live streaming. We are also coming up with new packages to help brands come back faster and get unparalleled reach.”

Shaikh remarked, "Brands have become aware of the quality standards and allocations of advertising budgets; they have also become more conscious of their advertising spends and we sincerely hope that they see the value of spending on OOH advertising – regionally. Customised messaging especially for OOH media is the need of the hour. Campaigns need to be visually and emotionally engaging. The age group of 30 to 45 seeks good deals, enhanced quality and value for money. It is a buyers’ market. Hence products and investments that can assure quality standards, added value, a professionally managed after-sales service and simple yet powerful communication are what will make brands compete amongst themselves."

Brands that may show interest

Sharing which brands and agencies are likely to come back on Mumbai metro media sites, Times OOH shares, “We are in touch with brands and agencies and you will see some brands coming on board in a few days. Brands that use to advertise are Loreal, Honda, Amazon, Netflix, Vodafone, Bank of Baroda.”

According to Shaikh, "Consumers have a very short memory and brands that understand the importance of being on top of mind and relevant on the basis of the need of the hour will certainly find more value in advertising with OOH media. Categories that used to advertise such as M&E brands like MTV, E-commerce and aggregators i.e. Amazon, OLA and OLX, Telecom service providers such as Airtel and Vodafone and handsets such as Samsung and OPPO (and there are many more categories and brands) – we will most probably see them all come back. With the festival season around the corner, we will see gifting categories like mobile handsets, jewellery, accessories, as well as discount offers by online shopping portals – be the first to come on-board. We also foresee automobiles as an important segment that will advertise this season."

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