‘OOH is becoming an essential marketing tool to be a part of new normal’
By Bhawana Anand - July 15, 2020
Atul Shrivastava, Group CEO, Laqshya Media Group talks about identifying the opportunity in adversity stating the example of recently launched ZEEL's teaser campaign
The recent ZEEL’s teaser campaign #13KiTayyari has rebooted traditional OOH advertising under the current scenario. The campaign, designed to announce the comeback of daily soaps, has garnered the desired attention which shows that OOH medium can create an impact that will remembered for a long time.
Talking to Media4Growth, Atul Shrivastava, Group CEO, Laqshya Media Group, explains the OOH industry’s journey from March 2020 till today and how the agency leveraged the TV screen comeback for the OOH business revival. Below are his edited excerpts.
1- Covid19 has severely impacted most of the industries along with OOH. Do you think the OOH business is coming back to normal or the wait is not over yet?
Yes, if we talk about first and second quarters, then Q1 was a complete washout for the OOH Industry. But Q2 is giving lot of hope as we have entered into unlock phase. We would have seen this by now but it took more time because of regional disruptions in the form of local lockdowns and restrictions on working hours and number of employees in a particular office.
2- Can you share the story behind the ZEE campaign, starting from concept till the time OOH got fit into the same?
As we all knew that TV channels decided to broadcast new episodes for their programmes from July 13, ZEE group was exploring the options for the promotion of their programmes. Alok Jalan, our MD has been motivating us to identify the opportunity in adversity. And when the idea came for campaign #13KiTayyari, team of Laqshya Media Group did everything possible to turn it into an opportunity. ZEE liked the OOH proposal and planned its theme in such a way that it became the talk of the town. They collaborated with brands and released a teaser campaign, which was released widely in Mumbai and Delhi. It created curiosity in the minds of people thinking what is going to happen on July 13 that multiple leading brands are talking about.
Credit for such a wonderful campaign goes to client Zee group for reposing faith in OOH Media in these challenging circumstances.
3- Under the current pandemic situation, we are talking about ‘new normal’. Do you see any change in the planning or execution process of an OOH campaign? How will you respond to it?
According to me, the ‘new normal’ means becoming conscious and doing essential things only- be it related to health, travel, shopping or even get-togethers. But, we are yet to reach to the new normal, currently it is completely abnormal. The new normal will take shape once the Covid19 graph going towards downward direction.
OOH media industry is improving its presentation and accountability and becoming essential marketing tool with each passing day. Our media planning combined with the strength of buying will respond in such a way to the changing dynamics of the industry that it gives robust return on investment to our clients.
4- What challenges did you come across owning to the lockdown restrictions?
Lockdown has restricted the life movements and adversely affected the economy, which forced the brands to withdraw budgets and campaigns during lockdown period. OOH Industry has been severely affected because of lockdown as people stooped going out of their homes, visiting malls and various other transit points as well. Our biggest challenge, however, was survival without any business and slow recovery of outstanding payments.
5- The OOH industry is waiting for more such big budget widespread campaigns, what are the crucial factors that influence brands to employ OOH medium more prominently in their plans?
The pandemic has shaken the entire OOH ecosystem, be it landlord/ societies, government bodies or media owners to adjust their costs. It is a golden opportunity for the clients to exercise ‘brand visibility’. The biggest advantage of OOH is that it can support all other media formats like in ZEE campaign it has helped creating a wonderful suspense story on digital media.
6- The OOH campaign-scaling is limited to a few cities, how long do you think will it take to roll out multicity campaigns?
Generally, 80% of our campaigns are multicity and if you are talking about current situation, these campaigns have already started rolling out and ZEE is the best example. India has 735 districts, of which only 135 are in the ‘red zone’. It is an opportunity for the marketers to experiment with Tier II and Tier III markets because very low budget will be required to cover non-metro cities. These cities may not have large appetite for luxury brands, but they are important for every other category such as FMCG, BFSI, automobile, telecom, media and entertainment and many more.
7- Can you share some findings or learnings from this campaign, which can be utilised in other campaigns?
The most important learning is that OOH media needs to be taken more seriously by the marketers and creative agencies of the brands. It can create magic if they focus on using it innovatively. Our services and in-puts are always available, but decision makers have to get involved if they want to multiply the impact of their investments. All good effort and hard work of OOH agency goes futile, when client spending INR 2 crore on a campaign declines an innovation costing INR 2 lakh saying “budget nahi hai.” In case of ZEE campaign, there was extra cost involved for the printing of multiple creative, but by the sharp assessment of team ZEE, it was viewed not as an additional cost but as an additional mileage and result are there in front of us.