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‘Common industry currency is an absolute essential’

By N Jayalakshmi - October 11, 2021

There is no difference between OOH and other advertising mediums like TV, says Karthi Marshan, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Kotak Mahindra Group

Karthi Marshan, President & CMO<br>Kotak Mahindra GroupCould you first share a bit about your approach to out of home advertising? How has it served the marketing objectives in the past?

We see OOH like we see television. The large format, high traffic locations are equivalent to impact properties like IPL and KBC, while the smaller formats like bus shelters et al are similar to frequency builders. We believe OOH has the ability to serve multiple needs of brands, including awareness, reach as well as stature. We have also over time evolved a distinctive look for our OOH work, that has helped set our brand apart.

As we transition from a challenging period of lockdowns and restrictions towards a post pandemic stage, what role do you see OOH playing as a marketing and advertising medium? Do you also plan to explore newer options in the OOH space?

I think, while the role of OOH has not changed, the pandemic challenged our conventional thinking on the medium. We accepted that traffic might be lighter, but we took the gamble that this might actually power the medium even more, as traffic itself is a form of clutter. We did campaigns for our first-of-its-kind initiative video KYC, our breakthrough home loan rates and so on, and found that we made a great impact.

Do you agree that OOH as a medium helps better in reinstating consumer trust in the brand?

I don’t know enough to go that far but I will definitely say that large format OOH is like 70mm films of yesteryears…the medium does have the ability to impart a sense of larger than life stature to the brand as well.

Do you see spends on OOH going up in future? What would it take for it to be treated on par with other mediums?

I didn’t know OOH was treated below par with other mediums. We have even run campaigns where the primary medium has been OOH - for example, our ‘Money ka Matlab’ campaign. We have even successfully run a campaign for our 6% savings account interest rate product with no logo in it on OOH, and achieved both fame and success for the brand.

What about digital OOH? Do you plan to explore it? 

DOOH  is a welcome development, as it will fuel creativity in a hitherto static medium, and also move the medium towards more sustainable practices, over time eliminating vinyl, hopefully.

As a brand marketer, what are some of the biggest challenges you face with regard to this medium?

Like I’ve said many times before, the main challenges in this  space are:

  • Third party measurement
  • ROI analytics
  • Reliable spends monitoring

Technologies are increasingly becoming integral to OOH space. But specifically what do you think will be the key differentiator?

One common industry currency for OOH planning is a sine qua non.

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