Outdoor Advertising Convention 2008, the audience got a sneak peak into outdoor on regional turfs. Speakers KD Maheshwari, chief executive officer, NS Publicity Agencies (Rajasthan), and Imran Shaikh, director, Highlight Advertising (Mumbai), shared stories about their respective 'ilaakas'.
Passionate about his region, Maheshwari said he had undertaken various outdoor activities in Jaipur, keeping in mind the sanctity and beauty of the city. In 2004, when the Rajasthan government, like the Delhi government, decided to ban hoardings, he made a presentation with the agenda of beautifying Jaipur. Since then, he has been following his agenda successfully, undertaking outdoor activities that maintain the ethnicity of the region. He gave examples of a 70 foot tower, a revolving tower under construction, and a place called Paanch Batti, which he claimed was a popular landmark in the city.
Imran Shaikh gave a panoramic view of how outdoor in Mumbai has seen a transition from 'out of home' to 'on the street'. He agreed with RA Rajeev, additional municipal commissioner, Greater Mumbai, that not much investment and thought had been directed towards beautifying the city. The trade was plagued with issues such as varying policies and regulation enforcement, being under the scanner 24x7. But now, the scene was changing. "There are new entrants, new policies and new formats of outdoor, which will reduce clutter, introduce uniformity and security," he said.
Shaikh said hoardings are here to stay. Out of the 2,200 hoardings in Mumbai, 1,500 would stay, he said. He claimed that the new formats of outdoor would not be a threat, but a challenge to the conventional outdoor medium. He said he perceived new entrants as huge opportunities to partner or consolidate.
Looking ahead, he urged his colleagues to be more responsible to the city by featuring public service messages and employing natural resources such as solar power. Citing data and statistics, he claimed that the industry can enhance saleability. "We must help investments, educate vendor partners and protect the interests of the smaller players," he added.