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'The only guideline is that there are no guidelines!'

By M4G Bureau - January 17, 2013

OOH advertising is morphing into newer avatar as newer possibilities are being discovered by creative honchos. For Raj Deepak Das, Executive Creative Director, BBDO India, however, it is the message and the emotion which make an OOH copy strong, strong enough to capture the eyes and hearts of the audience.

Today ever brand worth its product, has had at least one brush with the OOH medium. For Raj Deepak Das, Executive Creative Director, BBDO India, who is fascinated towards OOH medium, it is one of the most primary mediums that attracts everybody.

"I love the OOH medium. It is a very basic medium with no hard and fast rules. It was the first medium that we all used to convey our thoughts by sketching or writing on the walls with crayons. We can't forget and ignore this medium anyway,” shares Raj. 

Speaking about how the medium is evolving, says he, "The OOH medium has always had a presence. Even during ancient times, people used to communicate only on walls. 

 Even our history shows that this was the only medium to communicate and spread messages; Khajura Temples and Kamasutra paintings are the best examples. This medium has developed over the ages and evolved from stone to paper to metal to vinyl to finally digital. This is a premier medium which can't be forgotten.” 

Undoubtedly, various factors affect the OOH advertisement but it is the core message that really makes a difference. Says Raj, talking about this, "The success of any campaign depends on various factors such as the message, product, motive etc. But I feel that the message should be strong enough to catch the audience's attention.” While talking about the creative guidelines of OOH medium, 
Raj adds in a light vein that there is only one guideline in the OOH medium and that is -- there is no guideline! "People should have the courage to craft the message and use this medium appropriately. An idea shows how brave the creative director has been to play with this medium. It is not about doing something crazy but something about doing something innovative that is also excellent offering lot of creativity and possibilities,” he adds.
As for the complications and challenges in the medium, Raj doesn't think there are too many in this medium. "I don't think there is any hardcore challenge with this medium. It is a medium that has 2 minutes to communicate and you can make it as strong as you want. The power of this medium can be judged from a scene from the movie'Sholay' where Dhamendra goes up on the water tank and asks for Hema Malini's hand in marriage. In that scene, the water tank is the outdoor medium that he uses appropriately to send out his message,” explains Raj citing a very interesting example. 

Ask Raj about the rapidly advancing innovation and technology in this medium, and he is quick to point out the power of emotions at the end of it all as he feels that no interactivity or digital technology can connect with the audience the way emotions do. "There are several technologies in today's time but they should be used wisely to communicate the message. Technology should be used with a certain meaning because technology doesn't connect to you with audience; it is the message and the emotions that does,” states Raj. To justify the statement, Raj recalls his favourite OOH campaigns that demonstrate that emotions can't be replaced with any other element. "My favourite campaign is BBDO South Africa's OOH campaign done for NedBank, where they put up a billboard with solar panels attached which powered a school kitchen in one of the townships in Johannesburg.The billboard makes good on Nedbank's message - "What if a bank really did give power to the people?" - by transforming sunshine into electricity for the MC Weiler School kitchen in Johannesburg's Alexandra township, it saved the school around R2 000 a month in electricity bills. Another recent campaign was done by BBDO India for Blackberry phone that revolves around the thought 'Action starts here'” shares Raj. Explaining further, he says, "These are not highly interactive or technologically enhanced campaigns but they are some fine campaigns because their ideas were strong and well connected with the audience.” Well, who's listening? 

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