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OOH industry expects 40% of annual revenue from festive season

The ongoing festive season and the upcoming elections are likely to fuel the growth of India’s OOH industry. Despite the rise of other platforms, outdoor still commands a special place in the media strategy of brands

The out-of-home (OOH) advertising industry hopes to get 40% of its total annual revenue from the ongoing festive season. The industry is upbeat this year as the upcoming elections are expected to rake in extra revenue apart from the festive season.

For the OOH industry, the major ad spend starts flowing in around Ganesha Festival in Maharashtra followed by the Durga Puja celebrations across the country, especially West Bengal, and then goes on to Diwali.

Explaining the kind of spend that the medium attracts during festivals, Nabendu Bhattacharyya, Founder and MD, Milestone Brandcom, said, “Starting from Ganesh Chaturthi to New Year’s, including Durga Puja and Diwali — these 3-4 months attract almost 30-40% of OOH industry’s budgets and all brands get active while looking at building visibility to increase sales. So, if OOH industry is Rs 3000 crore (annually), about Rs 1200 crore gets spent during this period.”

Giving a larger picture of the share that OOH contributes to the overall adex, Rachana Lokhande, CEO, Kinetic Worldwide said, “OOH industry contributes 5-6% to the overall media landscape, as per the TYNY report. Usually, 30-35% of a brand's budget is spent during festive seasons, which is also the approximate industry standard of spends.”

OOH still rides high

What makes OOH such an important and lucrative medium for the brands? The importance of festivals for the outdoor medium is huge since people gather in large numbers.

Bhattacharyya explained, “It is larger-than-life medium such that large size builds brand imagery and quick awareness, along with faster registration of message. OOH is a 24/7 media, which makes it available for the audience to view more than once and it’s cost effective. It is the least spill-over medium, since there can be area-specific display. Lastly, during the festival period, brands use communication to offer promotions which makes it easier to build quick awareness through adequate number of outdoor sites.”

Bringing out another trend in the outdoor space, Lokhande said, “Aggressive out-of-home marketing by brands is a phenomenon that we see every year. What changes is the client mix we see during this time. We see a lot of digital brands that are active during festive seasons, this year in particular.”

During the ongoing Ganesha festival in Mumbai, one can spot innumerable outdoor sites being captured by a new adhesive brand Resiquick. A Mumbaikar is sure to spot Varun Dhawan staring at them from a huge outdoor hoarding.

Speaking about the brand’s outdoor strategy, Kairav Engineer, Vice-President, Business Development, Astral Poly Technik, said, “Outdoor has always been a popular choice of medium for Astral, because if you look at TV, radio or digital today, it is overtly crowded. Especially if you have a TV plan going on, you want to supplement with outdoor. More importantly, when you run an outdoor campaign at a Ganesh or a Durga Puja pandal, you get undivided attention of the audience. It is right there in their face and they cannot change the channel, unlike in case of TV and radio.”

The brand is comfortable using outdoor as a strong supplement to every TV activity. Festivals become all the more important to serve this purpose. In addition to having a huge splash on outdoor during festivals, one also spots the same creative of a brand being pushed on many hoardings side-by-side. So, if there are 10-12 hoardings right next to each other, sporting the same creative, it’s no surprise.

Explaining how it helps, Engineer said, “This way, the message gets hammered more effectively in consumers’ minds. We have a 50:50 split between the marketing spends for outdoor and TV. We use some radio too, but it is comparatively more expensive and the attrition rate of listeners during ads is much higher than TV.”

Roughly specifying the spends on the medium, he added, “About 1.5% of the total turnover is spent on marketing and promotions, of which about 40-50% is spent on outdoor medium.”

As suggested by an industry expert from the agency side, the hoardings around pandals and festive celebrations are bought in bulk also because they are much cheaper than a formal long-term site. These smaller sites are temporary and have government permission for a shorter period.

Bhattacharyya explained this point, “What you see during Ganesh Chaturthi is event-based display. Those banners and temporary billboards are permitted for shorter duration by corporations.”

Lastly, one of the important aspects of outdoor is localisation and that is especially highlighted during festivals. Ganesha festival is the best platform to reach consumers in Maharashtra, while Durga Puja is most attractive in West Bengal. Similarly, Dandiya pandals are the most effective in Gujarat, even if these festivals are celebrated and advertised on across the country.

Speaking about the regional affinity of festivals and how brands use it, Lokhande added, “Regional affinity plays an important role because OOH is not just a global medium, it is also a local medium. Which is why, in the industry, our focus is on ‘glocal’ advertising. Lot of brands want to emphasise and capitalise on their offerings during the festive seasons. And of course, because OOH is a proven medium to drive footfalls to stores, you'll also see a lot of retail brands advertising this time around the year. Regional affinity also means using local languages for communication, which makes the brand more relevant and more relatable.”

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