OAC 2008: Outdoor is more than pretty pictures, says Meenakshi Madhvani

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | July 01, 2008
On the second day of the Outdoor Advertising Convention 2008, Meenakshi Madhvani, CEO, Spatial Access Solutions, spoke on what outdoor measurement can do on the industry as a whole

Meenakshi & #BANNER1 & # Madhvani, chief executive officer, Spatial Access Solutions, thinks there's more to outdoor than just hoardings. "In India, we equate OOH with hoardings," she said on the second and concluding day of the Outdoor Advertising Convention held in Mumbai recently. "We rarely look at OOH as an integrated and integral part of a whole marketing communications plan."

Madhvani illustrated her point with a case study from abroad, which treated outdoor as a respectable medium in its own right. The campaign in question was for the European Union Climate Change Awareness drive, with the objective of improving awareness and understanding of climate change and global warming. The campaign by M&C Saatchi wished to educate people about the various causes (some surprisingly so) of global warming, encouraging them to 'do' something about it.

Meenakshi Madhvani
The insight was that items of household consumption (such as gas cylinders) were also causing global warming. The campaign used a single word 'Change' in block letters, with the colours in the alphabets moving from blue (symbolising cold) and merging to form a bright orange (signifying heat/ global warming). This was followed by the thought, 'Turn Down. Switch Off. Recycle. Walk', to educate people on turning down household thermostats, etc. Signages on buildings also contained these words.

Posters containing the words, 'You Control Climate Change', along with the simple image of a globe were wrapped around large buildings for visibility (particularly EU and other government buildings). This was supported by press and television (contrary to the notion that outdoor is a supportive medium).

Moving on, Madhvani spoke of outdoor measurement, saying that "although we use the medium poorly, we all want to measure it!" This invoked laughter from the audience. On a more serious note, she spoke of the upcoming outdoor measurement system soon to be doled out by the MRUC, which is being funded by Laqshya Media, Reliance ADAG, OAP and Ogilvy, while the field work is being done for MRUC by Hansa Research.

The research will include site surveys, traffic counts, individual surveys, Probability of Viewing Index (PVI), and outdoor media planning services. "Research can help plan for outdoor and gain the best out of sites," said Madhvani.

One of the factors plaguing the OOH industry today is relevance (to the overall marketing strategy), she said. "Trust me, outdoor is about the creative concept and execution, not about the number of sites captured, the size of the hoardings or irrelevant pretty pictures." To punctuate her point, Madhvani went on to show photos of some exotic locations to the audience present, and just as one wondered where it was all going, she said this is what irrelevance can do to an outdoor campaign. "Let not a bad workman blame his tools!" she emphasised. "OOH has to be part of a well orchestrated plan."

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