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A Season of Opportunities

By Nabamita Chatterjee - September 08, 2014

The Durga Puja (Durgotsav) is the season of hope for the OOH industry in Kolkata and rest of West Bengal. Every year, brands of all hues make their presence on permanent and temporary outdoor media available in the region to connect with a large out of home audience.

The Durga Puja in Kolkata and rest of West Bengal is an opportune time for the OOH industry to step up its business engagements and revenues. As the festival season approaches, the OOH leaders in the region are sizing up their own expectations from the season.
On this, Abhishek Kejriwal, Director, Balaji Ads, says, "This is the time when the brands increase their spend in the outdoor as Durga Puja draws people from all parts of the country and even the overseas, so outdoor advertising during this festival will reach a much larger audience.”

On a similar note, Nishit Mondal, Managing Director, Ad Service, comments that "Durga Puja is the most-awaited festival in the region and the OOH fraternity eagerly looks forward to doing good business during the festive season.”

Mondal points out that as the festival brings a lot of people out of home to participate in the carnival, advertising clients see the festivity as an opportune time to undertake outdoor advertising. "Hence, our aim is to provide maximum visibility to these brand such that they get greater mileage,” he adds.

According to Tilak Dubey, Founder & Director, Ad Touch, "Durga Puja is a time when consumption of various goods goes up significantly. So, brands seeking a large presence in the eastern markets tend to allocate larger budgets for OOH spend in this period. As OOH and activation specialists, we seek to maximise the revenue opportunities that come up during this festival.”

Preferred Formats

Typically, during Durga Puja, advertising clients tend to opt for permanent format sites like billboards, bus shelters, kiosks, and gantries, and temporary roadside banners and hoardings, pillar branding and gate branding. There is usually a large demand for large formats like billboards, and other prominent formats like bus shelters and lamp post kiosks. Mall advertising is another option that many brands opt for.

On this, Kejriwal says, "The brands look for all sorts of formats like hoardings, bus shelters, gantries, kiosks, etc. As the Government allows the use of temporary outdoor branding formats in this period, clients go for advertising in a big way during Durga Puja. We are working with local, national and some international brands in this upcoming season and we are looking for 20 per cent increase in business in this quarter.
We have started the execution work and aim to complete them by Mahalaya”. 

According to Aninda Banerjee, Managing Director, Enkon, "Outdoor is considered as the most affordable media, so in this period brands opt for OOH advertising to complement their print and electronic and digital promotions. Retail and apparel brands in general take up a large number of outdoor sites to maximise their visibility.” He adds that these brands seldom go in for any innovations.

"We are covering 15-20 Puja Pandals in the southern, central and eastern parts of Kolkata where we offer various temporary media formats like hoardings, pillars, gate branding formats, digital screens. We are offering these clients the best possible service and the installations will be completed just before the Pujas. These temporary sites are largely deployed for the five most important days of Durga Puja. Sometimes, cut-outs are also in demand and we provide that to clients. However, during other times Enkon does not undertake any BTL activity. Apart from these, regular permanent sites are also in high demand and every media owner tries to make the best of this season.”

Mondal adds, "It has been observed that temporary branding formats related to Durga Puja like banners, pillars and gate branding are take up jewellers, garment and hosiery makers and traders, FMCG brands, among others. We have also seen that during the festival period, as the demand for outdoor formats increases no every brand get the traditional and permanent formats that they so desire. In fact, brands go in for a one month booking during this festive season. As the brands expect local involvement, the OOH media fraternity here directly handles this type of branding activity.” 

"As an OOH and brand activation company we provide complete 360 degree communication solutions to our clients. Brands generally like to spend on a host of innovative and unorthodox media like hoarding banners, drop downs, pillars, overhead gates, led panels, stalls and also traditional OOH media. So, we offer this entire bouquet to our clients,” adds Dubey.

Major Spends

Commenting on the patterns of OOH spend, Sudeep Ganguly of Accord Advertising Pvt. Ltd, says, "The Durga Puja season looks promising and I am expecting a 20-25 per cent increase in revenues over the last two-three years. The sectors which are spending the most now are e-commerce firms, banks, jewellers, mobile phone companies and the telecom service providers like Vodafone and Airtel, garments, beverages like soft drinks, juices, etc. So, if we look at this trend there are primarily 8-10 categories that plan a good budget for the festive season's outdoor branding.”

Dubey adds that "during this time, more so in the last few years, we have seen telecom service providers, telecom device manufacturers, FMCG, consumer durables, media companies (both print and TV) and soft drink brands spending the most. Overall, we are seeing a rise in the advertising budgets this year thanks to a stable government at the Centre. We expect at least a 10-15 per cent jump in overall budgets this time.”

Unlike markets like Delhi and Mumbai, around 60 per cent of the business comes from local brands, and the rest 40 per cent from the national brands. Given that the rates of outdoor formats are relatively low, local brands can afford to take the media of their choice for advertising in the festive season.


The OOH fraternity opines that innovations are generally not targeted by the brands in this period. Innovations, if any, are opted for brands who do not have anything special to promote during the festival, like the telecom service providers. They essentially look for a popular single spot where they can get a captive audience to put across their message.

On the other hand, Ashif Kumar Biswas, Director, Arun Sign Services Pvt. Ltd, states, "This year we are involved in a highly innovative project wherein Parle Biscuits and the famous Durga Puja Committee of Kolkata are conceptualising the'Bose Pukur Sitalamandir'. We have presented the plan to our client on how the theme of the Puja and the branding initiative can be synegised.”

"We have also created innovative branding zones like the Adda Zone in popular Puja Pandals, and have taken up gate facade branding, back-lit pillar branding, etc. We are now talking to the Puja Committees, and seeking due authority permissions from the Corporation and Police,” he adds.

Biswas says, "We generally bag 80 per cent of the Durga Puja related outdoor branding work in Kolkata during this season, and we work with a plethora of brands. We are expecting at least a 20 per cent growth in business from this year's Durga Puja Campaigns. Brands like Vodafone, ITC Limited, Nerolac Paints, Parle, Coke are some of the prestigious names with whom we are associated directly for such activities. All the major campaigns are starting from first week of September and we aim to complete the execution work by Mahalaya.”

Campaign Duration

Bitan Roy, Managing Director, Eden Media, states that "due to the general economic slowdown in recent times bookings are happening for only a month, although there will be some budget also allotted for temporary branding. Overall, business is not the same as it used to be 3-4 years back.”

Ganguly adds that "Day-by-day the booking period is coming down. Earlier we used to get a solid two - month booking that stretched till Diwali, but it is becoming shorter now. This year the occupancy dates are from first week of September to first week of October. We are giving maximum visibility to the clients through our services and packages for the festive season.”

Nimesh Shah, Director, Adhunnik Mercantile Pvt. Ltd, opines, "This time the Puja campaigns have not started from August like the previous years; the budgets are still to come. We work with some top jewellery brands who cater to a very niche segment and these brands are of the opinion that as the niche population of Kolkata generally travels during the Puja days they have curtailed their spends. So, while things are moving at a very slow pace.”

"We are trying to work with FMCG, apparel and footwear brands, local jewellers, and hosiery brands as they spend a good amount during this festive season. As a whole the main budget comes from the local brands and the corporate spends have become static.”

Sanjiv Lall, Director, Pioneer Publicity Corporation, mentions that "Durga Puja is less than a month away but so far we are not very optimistic. Earlier, we used to get long-term bookings but we can see that this time it will be for a very short term. By the first week of September it should begin for sure. We have observed that since last two years the scenario is changing and the booking in this quarter is not up to the mark like it used to be in the time of festivity. The economic slowdown, inflation and reduced disposable income in the hands of people are resulting into such situations.”
Nonetheless, according to Satinder Roy, Director, Sampark Advertising, "During Durga Puja business grows by 40 per cent for us and we try to recover the losses which we make in the other quarters. Since last year we have observed that even the IT sector spends certain amount of their budget during this season apart from the other regular sectors like Garments, Electronics, Media Houses (both TV channels and Print Media), Jewellery Brands. We offer both permanent and temporary formats to meet the client demand.”

"E-commerce brands like Quikr, OLX, Flipkart, and Snapdeal are using the outdoor media in a big way now and we are looking at good spends from them in this Durga Puja season,” concludes Ganguly.

Overall, the OOH fraternity in Kolkata and rest of West Bengal is gearing up for accelerated business.

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