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OOH advertising during monsoon: An opportunity or excuse?

Automobiles, retail majors and water purifying brands are active out-of-home advertisers in the rainy season. But real estate and broadcasters don’t depend on seasons to advertise

Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | July 14, 2016

OOH-during-monsoon

Every season has its own categories of advertisers, be it summer where ice-cream brands and colas are more prominently seen outdoors or the monsoon where one can see the much-awaited ‘end of season’ sales out-of-home (OOH).

Outdoor advertising plays an important seasonal role, especially in metros. But more importantly, outdoor advertising takes a hit in revenues during monsoon in the Indian market. A lot of brands or advertisers find monsoon as an excuse to not advertise out-of-home. In fact, innovations too are not possible due to the weather conditions in some metros.

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is something that is seasonal because of the nature of the media.

Haresh Nayak Haresh Nayak

Haresh Nayak, Regional Director, Posterscope Asia Pacific and Managing Director, Posterscope Group India, says that every season has its own categories. He said, “In monsoon, automobile, water purifiers and paints look at advertising as problems related to water, leakages and all arise during this season. But yes, out-of-home advertising by most of the brands happens apart from the monsoon.”

According to statistics, about about five years back the revenue drop in the industry was as high as 60-70 per cent compared to a 20-30 per cent drop today during the rainy season. Today, the consumer’s ecosystem has changed. A lot of ambient media is used during monsoon for attracting visibility.

Nayak said brands today prefer using newer forms of outdoor media. “The fact remains that while technology has improved for printing and lighting has got better, innovations during monsoon is still a challenge.”

Ice-cream brands are prominently seeing advertising during summers but not during monsoon, points out Mandeep Malhotra, CEO and Founding Partner, The Social Street. He feels that ice-cream brands can have more sales during the monsoon as well. The problem in India is that ice-cream is treated as a separate category, while it is actually a dessert.

In Malhotra’s view, real estate, e-commerce, retail and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are the ones who look at advertising the most during the season. It is always different, based on the city’s climatic conditions. He explained that Mumbai will have a separate out-of-home strategy versus a Delhi, Chennai or Kolkata. Weather conditions are important for outdoor advertising. Smaller towns don’t really affect the industry but the seasons definitely do in the metros.

Chaitnaya Rele Chaitnaya Rele

When it comes to ice-cream brands, they do think of advertising seasonally, especially because of the type of business they are in. Sharing some insight about how monsoon affects advertising for them, Chaitnaya Rele, Vice-President, Marketing, Havmor Ice-Cream, says that it does not make sense for them to advertise in the season. “Our active sales happen from March to June and that’s when it makes sense for us to advertise and out-of-home is a great medium to stay top of mind.”

Rele mentions that during the monsoon, their budget is slashed to zero. The direct correlation between sales and advertising is logical and cost-friendly for an ice-cream brand.

Having said that, there is another media itself for whom advertising is not seasonal. Broadcasters advertise outdoors throughout the year. For them it is not really about the season, but about generating recall of a new show coming their way.

Chandramohan Mehra Chandramohan Mehra

For Chandramohan Mehra, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Sony SAB, spends are spread depending on show launches, new track or brand building initiatives, planned through the year. “I am not sure if media consumption habits undergo a change in monsoon. Hence, media planning does not change substantially due to monsoon,” he said.

On the other hand, Malhotra feels that advertising during this bloomy time gives the brand a different freshness. Nayak too seconds the thought as he says that ads are clearer as the dust clears away, compared to other seasons. With water proof lighting, there is more visibility, baring adverse conditions.

Speaking about retail, one must have seen a splash of ‘end of season’ sale ads by big brands. But that is not the case with Future Group. Their focus is different. In spite of being one of the biggest retail brands, their outlets themselves act as the best ambient media for advertising out-of-home.

Sandip_tarkas Sandip Tarkas

According to Sandip Tarkas, President, Customer Strategy, Future Group, technology has become better in the OOH space. Earlier, hoardings used to fall and that used to fall flat on a brand. While today, monsoon does take a hit and is considered as a semi-low season to advertise OOH. Future Group tones down its activities so that monies can be utilised in the right manner. While permanent sites remain, the ones that are hired to highlight visibility are lesser. Tarkas says retail media itself is an ambient one, hence making the job easier.

Automobile, water purifiers, sports brands and many more are seen advertising during monsoon. While there are some problems in advertising during the monsoon for certain categories, it doesn’t make a difference for others. Categories like real estate, broadcasters, e-commerce and so on are seen advertising throughout the year. For them, monsoon is no excuse to not advertise in OOH. But for others like ice-cream brands, retail, air-conditioners, their business itself makes them split their media budgets according to seasons. They might not necessarily spend in OOH, but might look at other options.

Retail-out-of-home

Ice-cream-in-ooh Havmor-in-ooh

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