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'We want to become a lab for brands'

By M4G Bureau - January 27, 2014

The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has become an icon for world-class service and a much sought-after space when it comes to airport advertising. The airport has in fact converted OOH advertising into a 360 degree experience for their passengers and intelligently utilised the medium as a value-creator. Romy Juneja, Chief Commercial Officer, Delhi International Airport Limited talks in detail about his views on OOH advertising at their airport in a chat with Outdoor Asia.

The Delhi International Airport Limited, which is the 2nd best airport in its category and the 8th largest airport in the world, has definitely raced the charts in terms of service and ambience. Going further, the airport is also turning out to be a hub for experiential advertising and formats with international standards. Where DIAL scores above others is in the way it has developed the medium as per the requirements of their passengers and made it an integral part of their airport. Romy Juneja, Chief Commercial Officer, Delhi International Airport Limited, shares his vision to build their airport as a testing ground for several brands and shares some insights on airport advertising.  

Could you first share the vision DIAL has for Outdoor advertising at the airport?

Airport typically is a very high-profile area for any city or a country. Typically less than 3% of a country's population passes through an airport. However this 3% of population carries over 40% of wealth of a country and therefore it plays a very important position for advertisers. Over the last few years, airport advertising has been viewed as a 360 degree communication point for all brands. The airport is not only viewed as an ATL space but also viewed as a BTL one that generates a touch and feel experience triggering the audio as well as visual sensory levels. Given this, the Delhi Airport, which is the 2nd best airport in its category and the 8th largest airport in the world, has a vision of making this the most premium and sought-after location for brands worldwide where they would be happy to launch their products both for the country and for the global market and interact with their potential customers.

What role do you want outdoor advertising to play for the airport and its passengers?

For us, a 360 degree experience is the key. And when I say 360, outdoor is a part of that 360 degree experience. Outdoor in a traditional context is viewed only as a billboard standing on the road side and looked at as street furniture. But in an airport, we don't consider that to be an outdoor medium. For us it is the total experience that counts and that comes from a touch and feel of the product. Therefore a billboard is supported with a product from the store for promotion where passengers can experience the product and its highlights highlight. We in fact had some very interesting launches of a few brands here. So OOH becomes one small element of the entire activity.

What significance does Outdoor advertising hold for Delhi Airport, in terms of becoming a revenue generator? Any targeted figures here?

An airport is like a city which has its own population. A city has retail outlets, markets, restaurants, food, banks, ATMs, car-parking, bus service, security-service, foreign exchange etc and so does an airport. So if we consider airport as a small city then we see the importance of advertisement for each element in the whole value chain not only as a value generator, but also and more importantly as a value creator, because the value creation of this component of a mini city or an airport is a combination of different aspects including physical money. We don't consider advertising as just a revenue stream, but as a value generator.

What kinds of policies have been laid out by DIAL for Outdoor advertising?

Anything we do has to be of global standards. We need to upgrade our media on a regular basis. The medium needs to be driven by two important criteria:  technology and innovation and we have demonstrated this over the last three years. Today we have the largest network of digital mediums at any single location and we have got the most sophisticated technology through which we are not only able to control but also provide an advertising experience to our customers. Besides this, we have put in efforts in terms of freshness in advertising and follow a process by which there is no overlap between the mediums and there is assurance of committed returns for the advertisers. So it becomes win-win for all.

Your airport has various formats, both static and as well as digital. How deeply does DIAL intervene when TIMDAA proposes any new format?

TIMDAA is a joint venture between the Delhi Airport and Times OOH and because of the nature of the joint venture; we are very partners who are strongly into this. We play an important role at the operational as well as the board level. We make sure also understand that this business is best understood by a builder, and it is also governed and regulated by the policies and decisions which the Board takes for the advertisers. Therefore we work very closely and ensure that the charm of the media is kept alive, that innovations are coming regularly and that the technology is cutting-edge.

Does DIAL follow any international case study or do some R&D to make a proper balance between the OOH medium and the airport scenario?

Over the years, we have managed to understand that advertising is all about real time and is also connected with the aspirations of the brands. Therefore on a regular basis we do technological upgradations on the media that we have and accordingly suggest what brands could come there. We also do innovative promotional campaigns where brands participate and put up iconic sites at the airport.  Some of our clients have been really happy about the experience they have had at the airport. 
So how do you balance the aesthetic value of the airport with advertising and passengers comfort?

For all the business that we operate at the airport, there is a hierarchy of important factors which governs. On top of the hierarchy is passengers' convenience; quality comes next, followed by time and money in the end. We exist because of our customers. Anything done to include their understanding, standards and moods comes first on the priority list. We believe and trust the feedback of our passengers conducted by a panel which surveys on a monthly basis and we are governed by ACI -- Airport Council International, which surveys passengers on a quarterly basis as an international third party neutral agency and gives us the feedback. 

Could you share with us the equation DIAL shares with TIMDAA?

We have a significant partnership with Times OOH and we share a very healthy working relationship with them. Our partnership has blossomed over the last 3 years and we have jointly put up strong pitches for international brands at international locations. We are happy with this joint venture. 

Finally, what are your future plans with regard to OOH advertising?

There is no the dearth of brands and neither do we foresee that as a challenge. What is going to be important for us is to be able to create an advertising lap at the airport. We would like to become the advertising lap with a strong client partnership and a strong technology–driven media organisation that can create new and futuristic options for various clients. We want to become a laboratory where brands could use their powers supported by the best technologies and offer the right sensory excitement to their potential customers. We are working strongly to ensure this happens.

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