OAC 2007: Improve the creative content to increase ROI for advertisers

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 12, 2007
Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, pointed out that in the current scheme of things, half of the hoardings fail to make an impact on the consumers, and this will continue till there is a drastic change in creativity in this sector

The share of & #BANNER1 & # outdoor advertising in the over all advertising pie, in India, toady stands at a mere six percent. Till the year 2002-03, the outdoor advertising industry was growing at the same rate as the total advertising industry. But in the last few years, the growth of advertising industry has outgrown that of the outdoor industry, with the latter slacking.

In his presentation at the Outdoor Advertising Convention (OAC) 2007, Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, discussed the factors that need to be keenly looked in to, to make the outdoor advertising industry outgrow the overall advertising industry.

Sam Balsara
Balsara pointed out that choices within the same medium are continuously multiplying. There are presently 364 television channels on air in the country and together they telecast close to 306 million seconds of programming. Over 100 different magazines and 100 new stations have been launched in the last six months and more are expected. There are already 160 million mobile phones in the country offering tremendous opportunity for reaching people through this new medium. The internet has already overtaken outdoor in terms of global spends and in some countries it has outdone print.

In such a clutter, the only way to grow for the outdoor industry by five times in the next five years is, by ensuring that the outdoor medium delivers a high return on investment (ROI) to the advertiser compared to any other medium. The Indian Outdoor Survey will hopefully help the industry achieve this. Apart from that, one of the critical techniques that can go a long way in contributing to high ROI is concentrating and improving the attention-gaining and persuasion power of the creative content on outdoor sites.

According to him, not much attention is being paid to what goes up the sites even in cities such as Mumbai, where they are highly expensive. In a small experiment conducted by Balsara himself, he carefully observed 30 outdoor hoardings on the western express highway. He judged these on parameters such as content, picture quality, font, colour combinations and creative ideas. Out of these, fifteen turned out to be pitiable and failed to make an impact with respect to creative content and the brand connect. Some of these advertisers include Franklin Templeton, SBI and Shekhar Suman's new album 'Kuch Khwaab Aise'. Ten were found to be fairly good and five were outstanding.

When 50 percent of the outdoor hoardings are not making an impact on the consumer, Balsara suggested that the creators of these advertisements are not creating for the medium specifically. He said that while television and print medium have specifically created advertisements, outdoor medium has to settle with print ads, making it utterly redundant.

In such circumstances, the advertiser's loss is temporary as he is only spending six percent of his advertising budget on outdoor. The real loser is the outdoor advertising industry, because as a result of this, the advertiser will not return to outdoor and even if he does, he will not increase his advertising spends on the medium.

He concluded by recommending that every outdoor agency should compulsorily have a creative cell to create specific ads for the medium. Each creative should be modified precisely as per the requirement of the outdoor medium, keeping in mind the fundamental principles such as single dominant visual, bold colours and only five words per hoarding.

He also suggested that hoardings should be created in three different sizes with the same creative. The first size should be appropriate for sites with long visibility, another for medium visibility and third for close visibility. If this is diligently followed, Balsara assured, the ROI for the advertiser is bound to grow up by 50 percent and the outdoor industry will smoothly grow by five times in the next five years.

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