Return of FMCG, OTT and real estate brands brings back festive cheer for OOH

Also, with new market environment post-Covid giving momentum to several new sectors like health, OTT, edu-tech and automobile, these categories have increased their OOH spends

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 10:06 AM
OOH Spenders

The OOH economy was hanging by a thread during the lockdown period. But, as soon as the unlock phase started and the traffic mobility rates rose, OOH was back in action. Laqshya’s well-curated Digital+ OOH integration for ZEEL and Mondelez’s communication for their new product were some of the first campaigns to set the ball rolling for the sector post lockdown. Even OTT players, who are known to advertise prominently on OOH, came back. MX Player went all out with its promotions for Aashram in 21 cities across the country. Further, brands in the FMCG and real estate categories have also made a comeback ahead of the festive season, helping OOH in its revival journey.  

Also, one of the most notable trends of the unlock phase has been the fillip that some new categories got due to the stay-at-home compulsion. This new market environment post-Covid has given momentum to several new sectors like health, OTT, edu-tech and automobile. It is no doubt that these emerging sectors want to be visible on every media possible, and are not shying away from the OOH medium. For example, OOH experts say, with several new car launches slated for this festive season, automobile brands have already started advertising in urban and Tier 2&3 cities at a large scale. According to an OOH player, from 6 per cent in the pre-Covid times, the automobile sector is now 8 per cent of the current OOH spends.

e4m spoke to industry leaders about how brands that had been active in the sector before Covid are showing the same level of interest again, and if new emergening categories of brands will help the sector.


Return of pre-Covid brands

According to Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group, most large brands have already returned to OOH advertising. “Big spenders like FMCG, OTT and real estate players launched their OOH campaigns as soon as India embarked on its unlocking phases. FMCG brands are advertising for sanitizing products. OTT platforms and entertainment channels are also investing in OOH media to promote new shows and programmes. Real estate market has been down in recent times, but it is now turning around. Real estate players are advertising to keep up the momentum. At the moment, OOH advertising is about 60 per cent of the normal times for these brands.”

Sharing data on the return of normalcy in the sector, Dipankar Sanyal, CEO, Platinum Outdoor, states, “FMCG, OTT and real estate have been firm believers in OOH, and yes, they have made a comeback. FMCG and real estate, which in pre-Covid era used to clock 11% and 14% respectively, are showing similar trends now. In fact, FMCG and real estate now stand at 13% and 19% of the total outdoor spends resspcetively. OTT is also showing similar results.”

Arijit Chakrabarti, Head of Strategy, Kinetic India illustrating a picture for us says, “Nobody had imagined what happened from the mid of March till the end of May this year. As we, through our 'India On the Move' tool, noted the return of audience for OOH, we have simultaneously seen clients return to OOH.”

Sharing which brands are bringing back the pre-Covid cheer, Chakrabarti said, “While during the lockdown, the ubiquitous Covid-19 social distancing public service message was omnipresent, one of the first advertiser categories off the block was media & entertainment. They decided to leverage the power of OOH as their medium saw a surge in consumption during the lockdown. We saw clutter-breaking OOH presence from brands like Zee TV, Mx Player and Netflix, arguably bringing back a bit of the pre-Covid normalcy and cheer with their large-impact campaigns spread across select metros and touchpoints.”

Chakrabarti states that with personal mobility being a concern area, they saw the deployment of OOH investments by automobile and two-wheeler brands post unlock.
“The advertising targeted the upper end of the spectrum with focused OOH investments by premium brands and premium models. Additionally, we noted advertisers from jewellery and premium real estate brands initiate campaigns post unlock. We expect the current trend towards premium residential projects to continue. Real estate has traditionally been a driver category for OOH, and its continued presence would stimulate overall investments in the medium,” shares Chakrabarti.

Pawan Bansal, COO, Jagran Engage, says, “Put together, these three categories (OTT, FMCG & Real Estate) would constitute roughly 20 to 25 per cent spend on OOH. We have seen some traction build particularly from real estate and FMCG. OTT as a category has largely seen their spend dip due to new content not being available. Also, the challenge is in terms of the audience in metros cities. Since in most of the places, work from home is still being implemented, the advertiser is worried about spending on an OOH campaign but not addressing the correct TG.”

Coming of New Brands

According to Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group, tech companies have gained prominence during the nationwide lockdown. Health-tech and edu-tech companies have grown in leaps and bounds.

"Now that traffic level on road has reached back to almost 80-90% of normal times in most cities, these new entrants are turning to OOH media to reach out to the mass. Automobile (both four and two- wheeler) brands are already advertising in a big way in urban and tier-2/3 cities during the ongoing festive season,” he shares.
Dipankar Sanyal, CEO, Platinum Outdoor, too says that automobile is definitely contributing a higher share in the pie. He says that from 6 per cent in the pre-Covid times, the automobile sector now contributes 8 per cent of the current OOH spends

However, speaking about the other new brand investors, he says, “I don’t think health, education and tech will further the growth of OOH in the current scenario. They will be more skewed toward digital.”

Echoing Sanyal's sentiments, Pawan Bansal, COO, Jagran Engage, opines, “Tech and health spends are minuscule, and the spends are mostly targeted through the digital medium. As a category, we expected health, especially OTC pharma, to come on OOH. But as of now, we have not seen any significant upside from this sector.”
Arijit Chakrabarti, Head of Strategy, Kinetic India, points out that 17 new car launches are slated for this festive season. He added, “During the lockdown, when most of us were exposed to just their six-inch mobile phone screen and TV sets, people craved stepping out and looking at those bright happy faces smiling at us from large billboards across the city. When brands need imagery, OOH has the unique ability to occupy visual real estate unlike any other. With over 3,000 + brands back on OOH this September, there has been 80 per cent audience recovery pan-India. And this happening at the threshold of the festive season is just the right setting for a spirited growth in both numbers of clients and their investments.”

OOH has the backing of pre-COVID brand investors

Times OOH states that with business activities coming back to normal across India in a phased manner, the out of home premises are again receiving back their traffic like major metro airports have recovered 70% of flight traffic. Times OOH says, "Airline load factors have seen an uplift with average load factors rising to 63% in Sept 20 as per DGCA data. Since the lockdowns were lifted, metro rails are seeing commuters come back with safety measures in place and so are the advertisers returning to advertise with the festive season on the verge. The coming season which is considered auspicious for new purchases and with pent-up demand will trigger brands to advertise more to recover their deficit caused by the pandemic."

Times OOH sharing data with us states that FMCG, Real Estate and OTT contribute around 30-40% to OOH in metro cities. This clearly indicates that advertisers find value in the media as clients can go hyperlocal with street furniture’s and target specific consumers in captive spaces like metro and airports. "Secondly, we are seeing that people are Out of Home now with cities coming back to 80-90% of pre covid level traffic. And finally, clients in these categories have started spending and we will continue seeing this uptrend as the economy strengthens which will drive more consumption," states the agency.

The interest of new brand sectors is igniting
Times OOH shares, "There has been a visible change in consumer behaviour which has given positive momentum to categories like Health and Edu-tech. Edu-tech has seen growths which one could have never expected to in such a short term. Auto is expected to bounce back as need for personal commute increases domestic passenger vehicle sales rise by 26.5% in Sept 20 as reported by Industry body SIAM. Healthcare institutes are realising the importance of branding and spending on media consistently. Every brand today has to communicate their safety practices esp. from the service industry. While regular spenders on OOH will continue to spend, we are optimistic and are already witnessing traction from new categories. We are working closely with clients on some of these categories like OTT, Edu-tech etc. to develop media solutions which are apt for today and made to create high recall.

"For example, we partnered with a salon chain down south Naturals who sponsored Hand sanitisers at Coimbatore and Trichy Airports thereby participating in a larger cause and also getting desired branding elements in the unit’s places at the two airports. While there is surely an addition in clientele who wants to grab the market share, we have also aligned some products and solution so that they can reach their target audience fast and in an effective manner. These subcategories are new and surely they cannot offset the degrowth in the current FY, but some clients from these categories will surely become one of the growth factors in the coming FY."


Talking about new sectors, Bansal says, “Education and automobiles were, in any case, big spenders on OOH. Auto as a category has really supported OOH. With robust sales being clocked by most of the manufacturers, this will be one of the saviours of OOH in the days to come.”

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