‘Why look in­ter­na­tional? Why can’t we have our own stan­dards?’

Man­deep Malhotra Pres­i­dent, DDB Mu­draMax

Outdoor Asia - - Agency Take -

Mea­sur­ing the medium

I have been fight­ing the bat­tle for mea­sure­ment like many among my peers have been. There have been nu­mer­ous ef­forts done whether at the or­ga­ni­za­tion level or at the in­dus­try level. Un­for­tu­nately, we have all de­cided to pull ev­ery­one and the ma­trix down rather than work­ing on them to make the process bet­ter. We have al­ways felt chal­lenged and said it doesn’t work be­cause of self-cen­tered rea­sons. But I want to now cre­ate my own bat­tle field and mea­sure­ment even if it may be ap­pre­ci­ated only by a few. I think I have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­turn back to the in­dus­try what­ever I have got from it. The onus is now on me to build cer­tain tools and make them avail­able. It is up to oth­ers, whether they want to use them or not. I am putting a lot at stake to en­sure that the in­dus­try grows be­cause what you leave be­hind for the next gen­er­a­tion is you what you have done in your life­time. I want to leave be­hind a mea­sur­able medium and I would like to leave an equipped medium in place to take the sec­ond layer for­ward, rather than fight­ing for the same pie. So we will have some­thing of our own com­ing up soon.

Chal­lenges in OOH

Lack of una­nim­ity is the big­gest prob­lem here. The at­ti­tude has more to do with ME than WE. I am not against com­pet­i­tive­ness but I am to­tally against get­ting to the top to pull some­body down; that is not the way of work­ing. We can achieve more by qual­i­ta­tive work and not by kick shorts.

Credit is­sues faced by me­dia own­ers

I don’t think there are any credit is­sues. It is a di­ver­si­fied busi­ness, so from a small Rs 2000 bill­board to a Rs 20 lakh bill­board there are vari­ants that ex­ist. As far as I am con­cerned; we thank­fully in our or­ga­ni­za­tion don’t have credit is­sues as long as doc­u­men­ta­tion is in or­der. If there is lapse in doc­u­men­ta­tion, then me­dia own­ers need to put the process in place as well. DDB Mu­draMax has al­ready put in the act four years ago. The re­sult is that, ex­cept for maybe one or two in the last 4 years, there have been no credit is­sues. Now peo­ple un­der­stand that it is not a one time busi­ness and can’t af­ford to for­get pay­ing the bills. If pro­cesses are in place then I don’t think credit is­sues ex­ist.

Reach­ing in­ter­na­tional stan­dards

Why do we want to match in­ter­na­tional stan­dards? Why can’t we have our own stan­dards? Why can’t we build a bench­mark the rest of the world looks up to? The rest of the world al­ready looks up to us for var­i­ous in­dus­tries, but not in OOH for sure. But I love the way the OOH in­dus­try works in In­dia. Tell me one me­dia owner or agency which would say that I can’t de­liver a cam­paign in 48 hours? The busi­ness here is very dif­fer­ent from that in Europe and other de­vel­oped mar­kets. I don’t want to as­sume any bench­mark. I have seen the me­dia over­seas; and it is as shabby as it is in In­dia. The only dif­fer­ence is that they have ac­cess to in­fra­struc­ture which In­dia doesn’t. I don’t get in­tim­i­dated by the de­vel­oped mar­kets. We are do­ing a good job though we al­ways need an im­prove­ment now and then. In­dian OOH should be able to com­mu­ni­cate the brand mes­sage at the right place and in the right form to the right au­di­ence. This is my ul­ti­mate de­sire now. Whether that will hap­pen or not re­mains to be seen. But if I can’t even dream, then I can’t even work to­wards it.

Dig­i­tal OOH

I don’t think there is any­thing called dig­i­tal out­door in In­dia. But I will prob­a­bly be the first one to jump on the elec­tronic medium and vouch for it to all the brands. I am per­son­ally kicked about be­ing able to con­trol the com­mu­ni­ca­tion sit­ting re­motely across the na­tion with a wide net­work and at an af­ford­able cost. I think we are re­ally look­ing for­ward to that.

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