‘Agencies are gearing up on OOH’
Anuradha Aggarwal Sr. VP, Brand and Consumer Insights, Vodafone India
Measuring the medium
OOH measurement depends on whether there is a collaborative effort among all stake holders to devise a common currency of evaluation, which can then deliver an ROI calculation. Addressing the current gaps in measurability collectively as an industry will go a long way in enhancing our confidence in the medium, and possibly help in higher spends on OOH, but if the current fragmented and individual efforts to do so continue, then the evolution will be sporadic and superficial at best. In the absence of any matrix that derives efficiency figures, there will be continued vulnerability of budgets being deployed into media that can be evaluated for efficacy, wherever alternatives exist. This, even as we continue to employ OOH as part of the media mix.
Percentage of advertising spend on Outdoor medium
It is between 8% and 10% of overall spends. Increasing this percentage will depend on various factors - what are our objectives as a brand, therefore what media outlets and formats work best to achieve our visibility goals, what our campaign messages are, and therefore whether OOH can help in taking those messages forward. We have reposed faith in this medium over the last several years, and it has worked for us, in various ways. With changing dynamics of audience engagement and media consumption, the way we plan all media also undergoes a change, and this is true for OOH as well.
Preferred outdoor format
It completely depends on the task at hand. Each format has a role to play, based on what the brand / campaign objectives are. It would be foolish for us to insist on a specific large format billboard at the busiest junction of a metro, when we are looking at reach within a specific target segment. Considering Vodafone’s brand imagery and history of creating signature OOH properties, obviously billboards and other large formats would be an integral part of our media mix, but again, it would depend on the brief, entirely.
Focus on Digital OOH
Digital OOH still needs to prove its worth, in our opinion. While it may claim to deliver reach, there are limitations in what it can achieve for us. Costs, regulatory issues and actual contribution to engagement are some of the areas where we would evince concern, before we can embrace this in a large way. This is also due to the fact that our OOH footprint extends to lots of small towns upcountry, and these opportunities may be fewer than in metros.
Creative agencies –Their focus or the lack of it on OOH & their creativity
In India today, there are not many agencies who specially focus on OOH creatives. The creative agencies can come out with interesting options if they have a strong understanding of how the media works, which is still not the case. At times the OOH creative may look brilliant in presentations but when executed has little impact because it may not fit the desired effective metrics that OOH demands. Creative agencies have to remember that OOH is a 4-5 sec media… if the message cannot be conveyed in that much time, then it has failed. Clients can extract better attention from agencies if they believe in OOH as an equally important constituent of their media mix.
Credit issues faced by media owners
Traditionally, OOH has been relegated to a size adaptation of a print ad. This is changing for the better with OOH coming into its own as a format, and agencies beginning to leverage the strengths and customize the message accordingly, If the brief is shared with the OOH agency and the creative agency simultaneously, and they work on the campaign development together, then we find the output is sharper, more relevant and cohesive. It is better than OOH being roped into the picture after the print and television work is already done. OOH agencies have also begun to think beyond the confines of size adaptations, and create a difference, which helps a campaign stand out among the clutter. While this is a work in progress, at this point, the only way forward is up. Creative agencies don’t willfully set out to ignore OOH as a medium. If they can be made to see the value of including OOH in the plan and the potential it offers to take the message forward, they are happy to create something memorable. Well maintained surfaces, customized communication and a modicum of planning can help them realize what OOH can bring to the table and we have seen them do wonders with the work. Like media innovations in print, there are possibilities in OOH which are now getting explored more often, and creative agencies are geared up to take advantage of what OOH has to offer.