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‘OOH is a major medium for us’

By Bhawana Anand - April 14, 2018

A regional tea brand, Society Tea revived its positioning by targeting the teetotalers of the nation with its CSR campaign. Existing since 1924, the brand’s obvious choice for advertising i.e. OOH advertising, sustains the brand’s faith till today wherein Karan Shah, Director, Society Tea – a 4th generation leader of the business -- states that TV has become extremely splintered in today’s time. While sharing the insights on the response to their recent OOH campaign, Karan talks in detail about the medium.

What role does OOH play in your marketing initiatives?

Since we are a regional brand, OOH becomes a major medium for us. We have believed in OOH advertising channel more than TV because TV medium is extremely splintered and we don’t get the share that we used to get maybe 10-15 years ago. Our 50%-65% of the budget goes to OOH medium.

What would be the highlights of your brand’s recent OOH campaign and the takeaways?

We wanted a campaign to represent our brand and at the same time connect with all the possible tea-drinkers of the country which is almost everyone today. In fact, India is a tea drinking nation and almost everybody is a self-claimed tea expert as they know their cup of tea no matter which region one belongs to.  The method of making tea may change but everybody has an opinion and particular taste. Our brand name i.e. Society Tea -- the whole concept is in the name, so the tagline ‘For the Society Tea called India’ came out as a beautiful fit. Moreover, we come from a background of customising tea as per taste.

As more people spend more time out of home, do see a greater reason to drive OOH advertising for deepening your brand’s consumer connect?

Absolutely, there are always two sides to a coin. One being the fact that because today everyone is on the move in this fast pace scenario, one might miss a hoarding or two but the second reason is that since there is humongous traffic, it gives us a reason to have more hoardings around the city.

Also, because you have a lot of traffic, the brand does get noticed as people are always on transit and going to get stuck in traffic at the signal. I feel people do notice and absorb subconsciously the message given out to them. There is a market for everything and everyone is a consumer today and no matter what is being sold, there is definitely someone buying.

If the communication appeals to the masses or even a part of it, then the job is done. If the branding is strong, it stays on the top of the mind and if it does not, still it will be in the subconscious minds of masses for sure.

We always believe in strong communication as we have always been particular in using the language and the level of advertising we dish out that we will be proud of. So, our hope is that our communication would be on the top of the minds as we choose to display our communication at a lot of places that are noticeable.

As OOH becomes multi-faceted with dynamic transit media and activations, and the like, is there scope for more compelling brand story telling in the outdoor?

It largely depends on the storyteller and how the story is getting told. I believe no matter how many avenues you have, if the story isn’t being narrated in the right manner, you will surely miss out. In this scenario, we are very cautious about how we communicate to the consumers. Our current campaign is a simple photo essay but brilliantly done on the OOH medium. This campaign covers a lot of aspects of advertising formats but I think OOH has done justice to it, especially the larger sizes did justice to the photographs.

Do you also see OOH as a strong medium to connect with consumers in non-metro cities?

It depends on the city and its effectiveness varies city to city. If we talk about Maharashtra then yes OOH would be very effective because the audience is limited. The brand has to be sure of certain parameters. For instance, good connectivity, good roads and well-placed site locations will make OOH work.

Will expansion of DOOH give brands like yours greater reason to up the OOH spends?

On the top of mind, it sounds a brilliant thing and being a new product I would surely like to consider it for our campaign. But then another aspect is that the attention span is so splintered, unless it is at a signal I would think twice before advertising on this screen. At the traffic junction people are likely to stop at regular intervals and get some time to absorb the advertisement.

What changes do you anticipate in the OOH space?

As a client I would expect a lot of changes. I would like to see some interactive hoardings. I see 3D hoardings but then obtaining permissions for this format is a bit of a hassle. I like to see lot of animated kiosks which are available in other Asian countries. Nevertheless, India is growing leaps and bounds in advertising. India tends to leapfrog in technology adoption and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see lots of innovations in the coming times.

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