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DOOHing it for D’better

By - July 22, 2021

The McDonalds’s - Burger King moment for DOOH is waiting to happen where forward-looking media owners join platforms that are being created to expand the ecosystem, writes Fabian Cowan, India Head, Posterscope

By Fabian Cowan 

McDonalds and Burger King, undoubtedly amongst the most recognisable brands on the planet, have also been the most talked about rivals in the fast-food industry since the 1950s. Interestingly, both these burger giants came together for an amazing cause in Argentina in September of 2019. How? Well, McDonalds was raising money for childhood cancer. Just for a day in Argentina, all proceeds from Big Mac sales were donated to children with cancer. In an effort to help the cause, Burger King halted Whopper sales for a day, dubbing it “A Day Without Whopper.” So that more people could buy the Big Mac and more donations could be made to the cause. Yes, it is possible for two very different brands and possibly businesses to come together for a greater cause.

Fabian Cowan, India Head, PosterscopeSometimes, odd couples click. And what they create together is highly unusual and unique. There are many examples of this, from Netflix and Spotify’s collaboration on Sacred Games and Stranger Things to the Airbnb and KLM partnership for the ‘airplane apartment’ idea.

Is there a leaf that can be pulled out of this for reimagining the DOOH space in India? Well, there just might be. There is a lot being written and spoken about the coming of age of DOOH in India, and rightly so. The buzz and the interest are real for sure. For some time now this has been an area of interest and a topic of many boardroom discussions, resulting in some very interesting initiatives by a few companies -- initiatives directed towards creating platforms that can be used as gateways to buy and sell DOOH advertising inventory.

While the steps are seemingly in the right direction, the challenges are a plenty. India is a fragmented market with multiple media owners investing in developing and building digital assets that in all fairness will help in building the ecosystem into a sizeable universe that will be difficult for advertisers to ignore. While this is an encouraging trend, the next big leap will only be possible when this large inventory moves to common platforms that enable automation, bringing with it transparency, and measurability, hitherto missing in many ways from the medium as whole.

The initial excitement about getting tech to drive usage was visibly apparent. The challenge in all respects has continued to be the bringing together of diverse networks onto platforms that can accentuate ease of buying and selling of DOOH. May be, the McDonalds’s Burger King moment for DOOH is waiting to happen where forward-looking media owners cross over and join platforms that are being created to expand the ecosystem and create increased value for both advertisers and media networks alike.

The growth of digital OOH advertising in India depends solely on the large shoulders of its very own stakeholders. The adoption of future tech is not an option anymore, it is a must for the industry and will depend on how key pillars align together to help scale up from here on. As Terry Crews, actor and former NFL player says, “You need the success of everyone in your field in order to achieve your own success”. Yes, it is not only about building one’s single network but creatively aligning to develop larger markets for advertisers to get drawn towards. 

 The good news is that India is at the cusp of the 5G phase, which will result in high-speed connectivity. Just the right kind of platform for a connected screens ecosystem to take advantage of platforms that can be used by advertisers to upload contextual content in real time on the go, minimising go-to-market lead times by leaps and bounds, forever changing the way brands contact, connect, and converse with audiences. This astounding level of flexibility will redefine the DOOH advertising concept forever, bringing the oldest advertising medium known to man to the forefront of new age communication.



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