OAC 2023 offers ways to unlock an evolving OOH

The 17th edition of the Outdoor Advertising Convention, the largest OOH event organised in the country, was held at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantonment on 28-29 July 2023. The two-day convention centred on the theme, OOH Next, and featured talks and presentations, and focused discussions on business strategies, investment avenues, technologies, creative solutions, and collaborations.

02 Aug 2023 | By PrintWeek Team

OAC, since its inception in 2005, has been the most definitive knowledge platform for all stakeholders of the OOH industry

OAC, since its inception in 2005, has been the most definitive knowledge platform for all stakeholders of the OOH industry, and draws the participation of senior government officials heading departments that regulate OOH/ award advertising contracts; global OOH leaders; accomplished brand marketers; OOH specialist agency heads and professionals; OOH media owners and professionals; business consultants; technologists; and OOH solutions’ experts. 

OOH is possibly the only medium with a dynamic variety of formats available within its fold. With DOOH and immersive technologies gaining more traction, the medium in fact offers infinite opportunities to brands seeking newer ways of connecting with their audiences. 

But, do brands consider all OOH/DOOH formats when they plan their media spends or draw up their campaign plans? Or are large formats like billboards the only ones kept in view? Is there merit in working with AOR or with multiple agencies when planning and launching OOH/DOOH campaigns? Will a robust common currency drive higher spends on the medium? 

These were among other vital questions addressed during the panel discussion on how an evolving OOH can be pivotal to brand marketing on the first day of the event.

Moderated by Rajiv Raghunath, managing editor, Media4Growth and Outdoor Asia, the panel discussion had  Ruchika Gupta of Beam Suntory; Apurva Sircar of Bandhan Bank;  Amit Sinha of PNB MetLife India Insurance; and Arkaprava Ray of HSBC India.

The discussion touched on crucial questions facing brands today as they seek to leverage an evolving OOH medium. Some key points and wishlists that emerged during the session included a platform to create awareness of the variety of OOH media formats available; greater engagement between OOH industry and brand marketers to enable discovery of the diverse possibilities; pushing up OOH on the priority list of brand’s marketing plan; clutter-breaking creative concepts that are unique to the medium; specialised OOH expertise to leverage the power of the medium, and scientific measures to arrive at common currency through the participation of all industry stakeholders.

In another session, Dr Dwarika Prasad Uniyal, pro-vice-chancellor, RV University, Bengaluru, threw the spotlight on the talent aspect of OOH in his session, building a game-changing talent strategy for OOH. 

Dwarika’s session brought home the need to make OOH an attractive medium for fresh young talent and drew the audience's attention to some of the collective inherent challenges. 

“We are a data illiterate country; we don’t do data analysis. Also, there is no collaboration between the academicia and the industry and OOH is not seen as a cool career option,” he said, drawing attention to a big challenge in drawing the right kind of talent and on the need to invest in best practices, research and training.” 

Talent grooming in OOH also attains urgency, given the way the medium is evolving by embracing new technologies. Programmatic DOOH (pDOOH) advertising for instance is set to redefine the medium, having already become an established practice abroad. Matt Steffenson of Vistar Media, emphasised the relevance of pDOOH in his session on how pDOOH can be the growth multiplier.

Starting by defining pDOOH, Matt took the audience through Vistra Media’s journey and in the process revealed the possibilities that unfold when pDOOH gains ground for both buyers and sellers of OOH media. With transparency, focused audience targeting and real-time measurability being the cornerstones of pDOOH, it is only a matter of time before it becomes an integral part of OOH practices, and Matt’s presentation highlighted these competitive advantages. Matt also made a very valid point when he stressed why traditional OOH and pDOOH were in fact complimentary to each other, addressing the concerns of traditional media owners. He also explained why pDOOH could help deliver brand objectives in a much more efficient manner.  

Day 2 of the Outdoor Advertising Convention 2023 began with a series of intriguing talks on the need for brands to re-evaluate their messaging and especially for OOH while understanding the shortening attention span of the audience. 

Rajib Basu, partner, PwC India kicked off the day, saying how there is an information overload today as on average people view more than 3,000 ad messages per day which has led to attention fatigue. As such, brands need to evaluate and change their advertising strategy based on the attention contingency. 

During the Q&A session, an audience member pointed out that while short viewing time was once a weakness of the OOH sector, with decreased attention spans it has now become an asset for the medium and its effectiveness. 

Anita Nayyar of Patanjali Ayurved emphasized that more than anything, the right messaging is key to grabbing the audience attention. Brands need to understand the simpler the message, likelier it is that they will remember it. She also emphasised the need to customise and localise communication for different markets, especially in India as she defined the country as a conglomerate of many countries. 

With 15% of the revenue of Delhi Metro coming from non-fare related activities, Dr Amit Kumar Jain of Delhi Metro provided a detailed breakdown of the advertising opportunities for advertisers on Delhi Metro’s extensive network. 

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