OOH Ad rates soar 3-4x amid brand frenzy for Ram Mandir's consecration

In talks with BestMediaInfo, industry players said that the surge in advertising in Ayodhya is primarily propelled by major categories such FMCG, e-commerce, automobile, government advertising, political campaigns, and more

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OOH Ad rates soar 3-4x amid brand frenzy for Ram Mandir's consecration

Whether it's the 'Megh Santoor' billboard for Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea or Zomato's 'Kheer Mangoge Kheer Denge' hoardings, the out-of-home (OOH) advertising industry in India has experienced significant growth and change in recent years with brands leveraging this medium in new and impactful ways.

In the past year, particularly during festive seasons, elections and major sports events, OOH advertising gained traction with an increasing number of advertisers getting on board. The excitement doesn't stop there, this year kicked off with significant events, such as the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya scheduled for January 22.

In response, brands from various categories are eagerly seizing the opportunity by selecting prominent locations in Ayodhya city to enhance their visibility through OOH advertising.

Increase in the number of brands looking for OOH ad placement in Ayodhya

Haresh Nayak

Haresh Nayak, Founder and CEO, Connect Network, said, “Currently, our OOH agency Connect OOH is actively involved in organising six impressive campaigns in Ayodhya. The response has been phenomenal, leading to a spike in demand that has nearly exhausted the media in town.”

Furthermore, he added that consequently, this increase has affected market dynamics, creating a significant impact on prices. Notably, increased demand has spurred the emergence of new media opportunities, which promise to take a positive path towards the growth of the industry.

Jayesh Yagnik

Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor, highlighted Ayodhya's vibrant transformation with respect to outdoor advertising services. In the pre-Ram Mandir era, Ayodhya was a minimal spending market for brand awareness but today, major brands focus on impactful imagery and presence.

“Sustained visibility for 3-6 months can leave a lasting impression, with media pricing increasing to Rs 2,00,000 per month, highlighting the market's significance. Substantial campaign spending, which started in January 2023, is expected to continue in 2024, elevating brands' presence in this growing market,” he added.

Mayank Shah

Meanwhile, Mayank Shah, Vice-President, Parle Products, said that many brands and companies are considering Ayodhya for advertising purposes for two main reasons. Firstly, due to the large number of people expected to visit. Initially, the numbers will be high, and on average, it is anticipated that around 4-5 lakh people will be coming every day.

"Looking ahead, we believe this number will either stay the same or even increase, given the significance of the place. The government's initiative to build a grand temple and develop the entire corridor around it is turning it into a tourist attraction, similar to what we have seen with other places. Considering this, being present there seems like a sensible choice," Shah said.

Furthermore, he went on to say that the audience is not limited to one specific location, it comes from various parts of the country. This initiative provides an opportunity to target and engage people from all over India. Moreover, the cost of implementing this initiative is expected to be considerably lower compared to undertaking a similar project in larger cities such as Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore.

While there could be increased spending right now due to the inauguration, it would be a sustained activity. When considering the long-term perspective, it proves to be more cost-effective. The cost per reach or cost per contact becomes significantly lower due to the large number of people consistently present in that area.

Shah said, "In Ayodhya, we are actively involved in advertising through various means, including OOH advertising. We have set up stalls, selling our products, and also sponsoring several events there.

"We've engaged in various promotional activities, including branding on local monuments. Additionally, we have utilised LED screens to showcase our ads. This encompasses a range of OOH advertising formats, spanning from digital to static OOH," he added.

Similarly, ahead of the big event, in addition to employing print, digital and radio platforms to advertise, Dabur is also leveraging OOH medium in the city.

Rajiv Dubey

Rajiv Dubey, Head of Media at Dabur, said, "We are actively promoting all the popular Dabur brands in Ayodhya through OOH advertising by setting up billboards, kiosks and engaging in street branding, including wall paintings.”

Amarjeet Singh Hudda

Amarjeet Singh Hudda, COO, Laqshya Media, said that currently, there is a significant spike in the market, with an anticipated increase of more than 20 times in ad spending in the short run.

“This surge is expected to settle in the coming couple of months. Notably, OOH media prices have experienced a substantial rise, reaching 3-4 times the regular rates due to heightened interest and competition among advertisers,” he added.

Adani Wilmar, under its renowned brand Fortune, has also curated a series of advertising activities in Ayodhya, including below-the-line (BTL) activities such as gate branding, hoardings, shopboards, and kiosks to capture the attention of the large congregation of devotees who will gather in the city.

On the day of the inauguration, Mangaldeep, ITC’s incense stick brand, will be installing a unique "Khushboo Path" within the temple premises where five foot tall incense sticks will be installed.

On the other hand, Greenpanel, a wood panel manufacturer, has launched an outdoor marketing campaign in Ayodhya and as a part of this two-month-long campaign, the brand has strategically displayed wall wraps on the roads connecting Ayodhya Highway catering to the high footfall.

Greeting visitors along the way, the billboards are positioned along the routes from Lucknow to Ayodhya, Basti to Ayodhya, and Gorakhpur to Ayodhya.

Local retailers vs nationalised brands: Who's stealing the spotlight in OOH advertising?

Yagnik emphasised that local brands once dominated the pilgrimage site. Now, with changing dynamics in Ayodhya, major national brands are prioritising prime locations for a stronger presence. It is expected that national brands will further establish salience in the market.

Hudda said that the prevailing trend in Ayodhya indicates a focus on key transit touch points such as airports, railway stations and bus stands. These locations are particularly sought after by advertisers.

“Additionally, strategic and critical spots like Saryu Ghat, Lata Mangeshkar Chowk and routes leading to the Ram Temple are in high demand. Notably, both local retailers and nationalised brands are vying for visibility in these prime locations,” he added.

Striking a similar tone, Nayak mentioned that the trend is a mix of both retail and national clients, the tilt is more toward national clients. Notably, government entities and political parties have substantially dominated the OOH media landscape, securing a significant lion's share.

Categories fueling advertising momentum in Ayodhya

Nayak highlighted that major categories fuelling the surge are political parties, government, FMCG, auto, e-commerce and consumer durables.

“The format is a mix of 200 sq ft to almost 1000 sq ft which are aggressively focussing on high traffic areas, airport road and internal arterial routes of the city,” he added.

Similarly, Hudda emphasised that several categories have fueled the advertising momentum in Ayodhya, with significant contributions from FMCG, auto, banks, media and government campaigns, including political campaigns.

“However, due to time constraints and existing restrictions, there aren't many major innovations observed in the city. Advertisers are aggressively targeting traditional ad spots and sizes, focusing on strategic locations such as transit points and key landmarks to maximise visibility and impact during this limited time frame,” he added.

Yagnik said, “Ayodhya market saw a significant shift in media dynamics, with 100+ new media stands emerging in a month to meet diverse brand demands. Per-site costs surged by nearly 500%. Aggressive players in automobile, FMCG, jewellery, real estate and banking are focusing on the market and it's expected that more brands and categories will contribute in the future on a sustainable basis.”

Furthermore, he added that the market has been introducing innovations like Motor Boat's LED displays and upcoming DOOH screens to cut through media clutter. Brands are also competing with new ad tech for enhanced visibility.

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