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'Media owners should also propose innovations'

By M4G Bureau - January 13, 2014

Pravin Kulkarni, General Manager(Marketing) -- Parle Products, talks about what role out of home advertising plays in the brand's overall marketing plans and the challenges therein, as Outdoor Asia speaks to many FMCG brands on their approach to OOH.

Average spend on OOH

Currently our outdoor spend is 2% of our total marketing budget. We are selectively doing it for some of our brands during their launches like'Milano'. In the last 2-3 years, the spend has decreased from what it used to be, though in East zone we are using outdoor quite extensively especially during festive season like Durga Puja in order to increase our market share.  Over all we have observed that as the rates of advertisement in other media is increasing 90% of the budget is going for the Electronic Channels and the ratio for OOH is coming down.

Role of OOH

OOH is used for creating brand awareness primarily among the focussed TG. For example, when we launched'Hide & Seek Bourbon' the outdoor campaign created a lot of buzz by attracting our consumers. Thus whenever we launch any new brand we extensively use out-of-home media which generates awareness for our products in the market.

Exploring formats

Mainly we use hoardings and apart from that we extensively use bus shelters in traditional media. We also use airport branding near convener belt and also we have done ferry branding in West Bengal.

We also sometimes do branding in the housing cooperatives and such during any special occasion.

Specific impact from formats
We can expect 4-5% of awareness or impact created out of outdoor media when it is judiciously used to complement any brand campaign among the media mix.

Strong OOH markets

Mostly we use outdoor in metro and mini metro cities and they are done for our premium brands across all the states in India by judging the potential of the markets like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and such other big cities and states.

Defining innovation

We have used innovation for many of our brands and there is a lot of scope for that in outdoor. For Parle'Top' we used out-of-home media innovatively in Kolkata very recently during Durga Puja. Innovations are needed and today many of the outdoor agencies come out with various such options.

Challenges in innovation

The primary challenge in doing innovation is the cost involved in it.. For a city like Mumbai may be, we can have 2-3 innovative hoardings at a time. But doing it in a large scale is an issue as there is always a budget crunch for outdoor media. So we really cannot afford innovation in many cities at a time.

Creative approach to campaigns

As the exposure time for outdoor is really very limited the message has to be very short within 4-5 words because one cannot read long copies. It should be more visual driven, the product should be shown clearly and if there is any brand ambassador for that product then he/she should get equal importance. The colours used in the creative have to be vibrant so that it can attract your attention from a distance as well.

The site selection is another important parameter which has to be considered and it has to be located at premium touch points having a clear visibility and high traffic flow.  Our team and the agency jointly do the recce and take the sites for hoarding.
Measurement of impact

When we do the planning we look at the numbers, there are some outdoor companies which gives some figures for certain and cities but still it is not available for all the locations, so for those we consider such evaluations. But for the other places we try to judge it from the qualitative information.  
Role of specialist agencies and expectations from them

Today as the consumers mostly are on the move, at outdoor brands have the opportunity to hit the audience and thus agencies have to be more innovative and creative in their approach by selecting the right kind of media. If that is done properly it will add more value to their media plan.  They should adopt a more scientific approach and present that to the advertiser.

Message to media owners

We deal directly with some media owners who have got national presence. They should also propose more innovation in outdoor because there are lot of possibilities for that but they have to be cost-friendly otherwise the whole purpose it lost. Today as the consumers get lot of exposure without innovation one cannot attract the attention, thus the media owners will have to be more innovative.   

Factors that can drive OOH spends

More possibilities have to be explored and out-of home branding through retailing and housing complexes has to be created to hit the niche segment as per the requirement. On ground and cost effective options such as ferry branding which have come up in last 4-5 years are very good options and more such avenues should evolve with time which would attract the advertisers to spend more on outdoor.
Many of the state authorities have become active these days and curtailed the hoarding activities. Delhi and Chennai are examples of that. Thus it is a challenge for us to find the more effective as well as cheaper media which can give equal mileage to our brand campaign.

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