Travelling is real cool

Tanvi Parekh looks at the OOH branding at Mumbai’s international airport which has sculptures, paintings and antiques. The Terminal 2 (T2) and Mumbai’s Metro line have big advertisers and mall-type swankiness, courtesy Times OOH

21 Mar 2014 | By Tanvi Parekh

The three buzz words in Mumbai are: the Lok Sabha elections, the T2 terminal at the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport and the Mumbai Metro. While the LS elections and the Metro will reach its final phase April-May, the T2 has been operational for both national and international carriers since February 12.

The terminal and the metro are titled as the hallmarks of heavy infrastructure development plan in Mumbai. The four-storey airport structure has been designed by the American firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and is run by GVK. Meanwhile the Mumbai Metro, through a global competitive bidding process on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) framework is under RInfra.

A commonality between the T2 and the Mumbai Metro is Times OOH. The agency has acquired the advertising rights and is closely involved in creating and catering to the OOH opportunities at both these swanky spots.

Terminal 2 (T2): 40 million passengers annually
Sunder Hemrajani, MD at Times OOH, says, “We have closely worked with the airport officials so as to create an engaging experience for the commuter. While creating revenue opportunities for ourselves, we have strived to keep the aesthetics and the design elements intact. The idea has been to enhance the commuter’s experience.”

Hemrajani and his team have a lot on the plate. The T2 is spread across 4.39 lakh sqm, has more than 5,000 sq/m of landscaping and a multi-level car park. It also has 188 check-in counters, 141 immigration counters and 10 baggage carousels. The stats are favourable for the agency, the advertisers and the print vendors to monetise on. T2 currently has a total of 144 static media with 82 backlits, 50 quad towers and 12 wall wraps and 150+ digital media. This coupled with the promotion and sponsorship rights, the terminal offers, as Hemrajani puts, a 360 degree engagement experience.
“We have adopted a different strategy to monetise the opportunities at T2. Adrift from the conventional sale of rights, we offer packages to the client; welcome package, red carpet package, VIP package are a few to name. Each package is designed and priced with respect to the visibility extent, positioning and engagement with the brand that it can offer to the visitor.”

Currently, the agency has designed approximately nine to ten packages at the departure and two-three at the arrival, in addition to the experiential and digital packages.

Mumbai Metro: the city’s lifeline
Times OOH has also bagged 15 years media rights for India’s first public private partnership metro project, the Mumbai Metro. The agency offers advertising opportunity with 147 digital signboards and 375 static units at the 12 stations along with pillar wraps, train wraps and naming rights for the stations. It offers customised packages to suit the advertisers target audience and achieve maximum impact.

Hemrajani, says, “Innovative advertising and sponsorship options have the potential to create a huge impact for any brand. Offering naming rights is a long-standing option for a brand. While the rights are up for grabs, we ensure a long tenure to the advertiser, for about three to five years, at the least.”

With a daily expected footfall of 11 lakh commuters, the Mumbai Metro represents a huge OOH opportunity.

The Times Strategy
Currently, the Indian OOH industry is woth Rs 1800 to 2000 crore, growing at 8% pa CAGR. According to a FICCI-KPMG report released in March 2013, the sector is projected to touch Rs 2,727 crore by 2017.

Hemrajani says, “With the increasing investment in infrastructure, the OOH opportunities are going to quadruple.”

In the transit segment, the Times OOH group has, under its belt, the rights for the metro and airport in Mumbai and Delhi. Additionally, the group is at an advanced stage of negotiation for the Chennai metro. In the fixed furniture space, it has targeted the bus shelters in Mumbai, Banglore, Hyderabad and Chennai and also has limited presence in the billboard space.

Hemrajani reasons, “The billboard segment is a cluttered space to operate in. We are interested in this space as long as it is exclusive. Today, this segment has become commoditised and results in price competitiveness. An exclusive space like the Yamuna Expressway, where we operate, helps us deliver high quality media and presence to the client. And we are keen to offer solutions and exclusivity to the client.”

Most opportunities and growth in the OOH segment, Hemrajani feels, will have the roots in the transit segment. “The OOH segment is a more focused medium than a newspaper or television. A commuter engages with the media while he awaits his flight or train, ensuring media consumption, unlike in a newspaper.”

The medium can be either, print or digital. But Hemrajani feels the possibilities of the digital medium have not yet been explored and in the next three-four years it has a long way to go. “Digital contributes just about 2% of the OOH revenue in India. The medium has made inroads in underground metros like in Delhi and is likely to expand its presence at airports, too. However there are stringent regulations and limitations like the impracticality of a moving display at a road site, under which the digitla medium operates.”  

Whether or not your travel destination excites you, the way to it surely seems congenial!

Amruta Nemivant | Art Consultant
It’s been hardly a fortnight since the new T2 international terminal opened its doors to the public amid great celebration. There has been much said about the terminal, about its efficiency, its two kilometre- long art wall and the value it adds to this city. I was fortunate enough to visit T2 and be shown around by the curator of the art programme Rajeev Sethi.

Sethi explained the different aspects that went into designing the art programme and its depth and their future plans. On first look, the T2 terminal itself is quite stunning in its design and space utilisation, putting it on par with many landmark airports around the world. It has seamless lines and an open design with plenty of light which creates space, and does away with the drab, depressing look and feel generally associated with the Bombay airport so far.

GVK, the firm which is responsible for constructing this airport, visualised the terminal not just as a building with a utilitarian function, but as an opportunity to ‘Celebrate India’. To make this vision a reality they approached veteran curator Rajeev Sethi, to create a space that would incorporate different aspects of the Indian culture, and create awareness and curiosity about it, first for Indians and then for an international audience.

According to Sethi, the art wall, which is seen from all levels of the terminal, is a classic example of design coming of age. He has not restricted himself only to contemporary art, but has also incorporated elements from Indian antiquities and design. Sethi has created massive tableaus, combined with original sculpture, popular crafts, and contemporary video, to complete a stunning display, which not only ‘Celebrates India’, but is so thoughtfully installed with clever transitions into different sections that it provides the viewer with a complete visual experience. Apart from this, GVK, with the guidance from Sethi, has put into action an art management programme which will look into the upkeep and maintenance of the space.

As mentioned earlier, T2’s biggest achievement is its design; apart from the art wall, there are very clear spaces for corporate promotions, commercial activities, and refreshment zones, all of which make use of the architecture, and visual displays.

At this point the T2 could use better signage to help passengers navigate the space, but these are being put up. Amidst all the passengers arriving or departing, or going through security screenings, one can still see, small signs of fine tuning, like new signs being put up, the VIP lounge being completed, the artworks being cleaned and maintained, all of which point to the fact that the makers of T2 are serious about realising their aim to create an experience for the people who transit through this space.