As people start to leave their homes, various brands and marketers have started to rethink their outdoor advertising spending. The holiday season and the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) have also caused brands and marketers to reconsider outdoor advertising.

Since COVID hit, most of us have connected to each other through our cell phones. Now we’re more likely to look up when we’re outside, rather than staring at our tiny mobile screens.

Experts believe that the recovery of out-of-home advertising (OOH) has been better than expected. Atul Shrivastava, CEO of Laqshya Media Group, tells afaqs! that outdoor advertising is now seen as an appropriate medium to reach the target audience. “The revenue for the 2021 holiday season is expected to be close to 2019, which is a positive sign,” he says.

Atul Shrivastava, Laqshya Media Group

The oversaturation of digital media and the constant bombardment of social media ads are other reasons brands and marketers reach their target audiences with OOH advertising.

For Mark Titus, Marketing Director, Nippon Paint India, the silver lining is having the IPL during the holiday season, which means more excitement for a brand like his.

Mark Titus, Nippon Paint India

Mark Titus, Nippon Paint India

Nippon is currently running a campaign, in association with the IPL Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) teams. The brand has also planned a few product launches. “With increased mobility in mind, post-COVID blockages, we are seeing a slight increase in OOH spending for the holiday season,” says Titus.

Bullish brand categories on OOH

Brands in all categories are open to outdoor advertising. Shrivastava of Laqshya Media Group points out that it is not just over-the-top (OTT) platforms, car brands or smartphone brands, but even the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and real estate spend a lot of money on OOH advertising.

Sidharth Parashar, President – Investments and Pricing, GroupM India, agrees, saying the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Retail, BFSI, Media and OTT brands will continue to dominate. “High-end real estate, luxury automobiles and other high-end brands will dominate at high-end OOH touchpoints. “

Sidharth Parashar, GroupM India

Sidharth Parashar, GroupM India

People generally tend to invest in things, including a new home, during the holiday season. Karthi Marshan, chairman and chief marketing officer of Kotak Mahindra Group, said that with this in mind, his company announced a low interest rate for home loans of 6.5%.

Karthi Marshan, Kotak Mahindra Group

Karthi Marshan, Kotak Mahindra Group

“This is one of our main campaigns. We focus on OOH and digital media. We started an aggressive push towards home loans last October and have used OOH advertising extensively. “

During the holiday season, people also spend a lot on home renovations etc. Titus informs that Nippon’s recent OOH campaign was for its Weatherbond PRO product.

The brand has a 360-degree campaign around it, and OOH advertising plays a vital role in the subways and major non-metropolitan cities of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Nippon has also executed innovative animation campaigns led by bus shelters in cities like Chennai and Bengaluru.

Have OOH advertising rates returned to pre-pandemic levels?

Advertising rates have a major influence on whether or not brands include OHO in their marketing mix.

Sanjeev Gupta, managing director of Global Advertisers, mentions that while brands are optimistic about OOH spending, advertising rates have still not returned to 2019 levels and have yet to cross the pre-pandemic threshold. However, he seems optimistic.

“Last year advertising rates fell to zero. If there is no third wave (COVID), advertising rates are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by December 2021. “

Many OOH advertising companies have reduced their rates for most of 2020 and early 2021, and have given special COVID discounts.

Gautam Bhirani, MD, Eyetalk Media Ventures, mentions that his organization was offering discounted rates until July 2021. But it has now returned to normal rates for outdoor space. However, due to the comparatively lower footfall in spaces such as shopping malls, restaurants, shopping complexes and coworking spaces, brands and agencies still expect discounts.

Gautam Bhirani, Eyetalk Media Ventures

Gautam Bhirani, Eyetalk Media Ventures

Is DOOH the new conversation starter?

Speed, flexibility, and measurability are the main DOOH currencies that create lucrative opportunities for brands to deliver day-to-time-triggered content while measuring its impact on performance.

As Bhirani mentions, “Due to COVID, every industry has gone through transformation. OOH has also taken the (technological) leap, which has changed the dynamics of planning and purchasing. Large Format Digital Displays (DOOH) have taken center stage in cities like Delhi and Mumbai. “

Speaking from a brand’s perspective, Marshan tells us that while DOOH is part of Kotak’s marketing mix, his only complaint from the media is that the brand lacks supply.

“I really like the flexibility it offers to bring a previously static medium to life. I am also happy with the possibility of gradually reducing the use of vinyl. I look forward to the day when DOOH will also be solar powered, becoming a truly sustainable medium.

GroupM India’s Parashar states that premium touchpoints (like airports) are likely to generate significant ad spend. “Advertisers are looking for more innovative solutions for their brand communication and that’s probably the flavor of this holiday season. The demand for DOOH is increasing in the subways. The reason: the medium offers better reach and an opportunity to connect audiences in real time.