Outdoor ads get a festive boost

The prospects of the outdoor advertising industry are looking up after being grounded by the pandemic

Saumya Tewari
Updated17 Nov 2020
The pandemic’s fallout has been a lot harder on outdoor ads than other segments.
The pandemic’s fallout has been a lot harder on outdoor ads than other segments.(MINT_PRINT)

The billboards are going up once again, and with them, the prospects of the outdoor advertising industry are looking up after being grounded by the pandemic.

The economic fallout of the crisis has been a lot harder on this segment with billings drying up completely in the June quarter as people stayed at home and businesses remained shut. The recovery since then has been substantial, at least on a sequential basis. Revenues in September and October have now recovered to as much as 50% of last year because of festive spending and the easing of restrictions on mobility, advertising industry executives said.

As the curbs were lifted, traffic within the cities, as well as inter-state travel, increased. “This aligned with the festival season and customers coming back to the markets. It is just the right time to reach the consumers through out-of-home (OOH) media,” said Atul Shrivastava, chief executive, Laqshya Media Group, an independent outdoor media agency.

“We started seeing an uptick in outdoor ads from July. The festive season OOH ad spending has managed to revive to 50% of what brands spent last year,” he said.

Companies across automobiles, smartphones, jewellery, banking, financial services and insurance, telecom, e-commerce, video-streaming platforms and real estate are driving the recovery. Spending has been particularly strong in smaller markets such as Lucknow, Kozhikode, Jaipur and Indore.

“Whether it was Tanishq or local jewellers across cities, multiple outdoor campaigns were run throughout the festive season. We have also witnessed higher media occupancy in smaller markets than metros,” said Shrivastava.

Tanishq and Laqshya Media Group mounted the brand’s festive Ekatvam campaign in 10 cities, including Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Lucknow and Patna. Launched on 16 October, the OOH campaign was part of Tanishq’s 360-degree campaign for the new festive collection and was on for a month. It used 152,000 sq. ft of OOH media to maximize impact and reach the target audience, the company said.

“This campaign featuring the new collection will help strongly rebuild the livelihoods of our jewellery karigars (artisans) across India and illuminate their homes this Diwali,” said Arun Narayan, vice-president, category, marketing and retail, Tanishq at Titan Co. Ltd.

Regional brands have also started advertising as companies opened for business.

“The road to recovery in OOH has been decent since July and traction is visible across national and regional markets,” said Nabendu Bhattacharyya, CEO and managing director of Milestone Brandcom, a Dentsu India owned outdoor agency.

“Even at regional or local-market level, OOH has been actively used by local players, especially real estate, education and retail businesses,” he added.

Bhattacharyya said that he expects outdoor advertising to pick up further in the coming months.

“By the first quarter of 2021 with vaccine news and the new budget calendar of global clients, OOH spends will improve rapidly. I am hopeful marketers will look at the medium in a different light and use it to connect with their audiences across regions,” he added.

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