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Brand engagement, metrics, DOOH, creativity stood out in OAC Day 2 deliberations

By N Jayalakshmi - August 22, 2022

From audience measurement and role of technology, to leveraging creativity and enhancing the competitive quotient of OOH, the second and concluding day of OAC 2022 set new milestones for the OOH eco-system through an engaging lineup of speakers and sessions.

Day 2 of Outdoor Advertising Convention 2022 struck a new ambitious note, continuing the central thread - the integration of OOH with multiple aspects such as technology, creativity and audience engagement, among others.

While the day began with the inauguration of the audience measurement booklet developed by ReLU AI System and launched by the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA), it was followed by Rachana Lokhande, Consultant, IOAA, and Magesh Poondi, CEO, ReLu AI Systems, addressing the audience on ‘Building a Common currency for the Indian OOH.’ The subsequent sessions lined up for the day offered a diverse range of perspectives.

A big tick for tech

Suresh Balakrishna, CRO, The Hindu Group & Rana Barua, Group CEO, Havas Group India

There was the ‘Fire Side chat’ session themed ‘How a tech-driven OOH finds a defining role in integrated brand communications,’  in which Rana Barua, Group CEO of Havas Group India, shared his insights with Suresh Balakrishna, CRO, The Hindu Group, in an engaging conversation. Drawing on some examples of impactful campaigns such as the multiple award winning recent Adidas campaign in MENA, and reiterating the power of the medium, Rana said, “I am a strong believer in the world of out-of-home.” He also talked about some of the strategic alliances that Havas Group had struck post pandemic and highlighted the role they played in strengthening the business outcomes.

The conversation peppered with light hearted banter and interactions, also focused on the need for OOH as a medium to adapt to newer dynamics that were driven by changing audience behaviour and technology shifts. “OOH is a fabulous medium but we need to understand brands and consumers and get more innovative to remain relevant,” Rana said, summing up. 

The Big C

Prerna Mehra, Creative Director <br>& Head of Design, MullenLowe MENAWhile driving home the role of technology in enhancing the OOH medium’s impact, Rana did remind the audience that it was still the creative idea that was central to OOH and that technology was mainly an enabler. This in a sense also set the context for the next session by Prerna Mehra, Creative Director & Head of Design, MullenLowe MENAwho presented on the theme, ‘Leveraging creativity for innovative, impactful OOH advertising’.

Prerna spoke with conviction and passion, having been an ambassador for OOH creativity herself, winning many awards and titles and having played a pivotal role in iconic OOH initiatives such as the Emirates Mars Orbit Insertion and the World’s Tallest Donation Box. Prerna’s presentation, among other things, demonstrated how an iconic OOH site such as the Burj Khalifa could be used to create sensational campaigns and enagements. 

Prerna’s point was very clear. “You are sitting on a gold mine, waiting to be mined,” she said talking about  the potential that OOH and DOOH have in driving spectacular brand campaigns, and added, “You have all the eyeballs in the world. All you need to do is realise your true potential.” Prerna also emphasised what creative professionals have been shouting from the rooftop for many years now in the context of OOH -- don’t just adapt, but create!

Padmavati Rao, Actor & Director Creativity was indeed the buzz word in the air as the next speaker, Actor & Director Padmavati Rao, who is also an acclaimed Poet and Natural Farmer, gave something fresh and new to the audience to think about in her session on the theme Thinking out of the box: how creativity broadens one’s horizons.  

How to market the medium?

The next session addressed one of the most critical questions for OOH today - ‘What should OOH do to attract more brand spends’. Addressing this question was  Archana Aggarwal, VP – Media, Airtel, in conversation with Alok Jalan, MD, Laqshya Media Group. With both  the participants representing important stakeholder groups in the OOH ecosystem, the conversation quite naturally touched on all the relevant aspects that can drive OOH higher up on the brand’s marketing agenda.

While addressing Alok’s questions on Airtel’s spends on OOH, Archana threw light on the shift in the brand’s approach to OOH as a marketing medium, given the changed market conditions.  Elaborating on what the OOH industry needs to do to drive higher spends, she said, “The OOH industry has always been very focused on the operational aspects and has been very execution oriented. Perhaps now is the time to focus more on the strategy part so as to push up the value that can be derived from it.“ Archana also stressed on the importance of knowledge building to enhance the medium’s appeal among brand marketers. 

Jun Sakurai, CEO, LIVE BOARDDOOH, the global story 

The next session had Jun Sakurai, CEO of LIVE BOARD, Japan, sharing his insights on the theme ‘Globalisation of DOOH business: key success factors’. Jun took the audience through his experience and observation of the Japanese DOOH market and talked about the challenges there - fragmented with no unified measurement. He contrasted that with more advanced DOOH markets such as the US and highlighted the opportunities available in markets like India. 

Jun drew on his in-depth experience of working in the media & agency industry, including his experience at dentsu, to elaborate on the factors that can drive greater globalisation of the DOOH business. He cited WOO data to point out that OOH accounted for only 6% of the global media budget and explained how LiveBoard was working to raise it to 10% in Japan. 

When beauty and stories come together 

Fabian Trevor Cowan<br>Advisor Sapio, Heritech <br>& Founder, 1bbFabian Trevor Cowan, Advisor to Sapio Heritech & Founder, 1bb, then set a historical context while making his presentation on the theme, ‘How OOH can play an instrumental role in city beautification & heritage preservation’. Sharing some very interesting historical anecdotes and information, Fabian took the audience through the  story of Mumbai city itself. Essentially he was making the point about how “the story of a city captivates audiences, builds loyalty towards that space and a loyal audience responds to messages better”. He also pointed out that studies show beauty is one of the most influential factors in community attachments.  “Visually appealing communities increase the land value, enhance business and improve the overall image of the neighbourhood,” Fabian stressed and highlighted how ‘Placemaking’ offered a lot of scope in India and held a lot of promise specially in the context of OOH. Fabian also took the audience through some interesting examples from across the country to show how engagements integrated with heritage/historical/iconic sites helped elevate the public space and how it was made possible when decision makers and policy makers came together.


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