afaqs!

Pradeep Guha adds OOH division, Street Culture, to Culture Company

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | July 08, 2008
Sriram Iyer is Street Culture's new CEO, while Swapna Desai is the COO

The chief & #BANNER1 & # executive officer of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), Pradeep Guha, has stepped into the OOH arena by setting up a new agency called Street Culture. Street Culture will be a part of Guha's firm, Culture Company, which creates entertainment products and manages talent; it has produced films such as Fiza and Tehzeeb.

Pradeep Guha
Guha is the company's founder and promoter. He says, "We've just started off with this, though we haven't launched anything new. This is one part of my private company, Culture Company, which has been in existence for about five years. We've done many things here like producing movies. OOH is one of the newer activities we are working on."

Sriram Iyer is Street Culture's new CEO. Iyer was earlier with Outdoor Media Integrated (OMI), a part of Laqshya Media. He joined OMI in 2007 and, while there, helped to produce highly innovative campaigns for brands such as Dove and UTI Mutual Funds.

Swapna Desai is the chief operating officer of Street Culture. She moves here from Digiratti Media, where she was an executive director.

Sriram Iyer
Talking to afaqs! about the plans for Street Culture, Iyer says, "I move here from OMI, where the focus was to bring professionalism and creativity and innovativeness into the industry, and we demonstrated that with the launch campaign for Dove shampoo. We didn't look at outdoors as just billboards. It's the same culture that Swapna and I are bringing here. Our basic idea is that anybody can buy billboards and give them to you. It's just a matter of rates - somebody can give it to you at x, somebody else can give it at x-1. We are not looking at that aspect; definitely, it will be a core point that you have to have the best buying efficiencies. But what we are looking at here is transforming outdoors, the way the creatives are executed, not just a cut-out on a billboard. That is not innovation, it is the way you use the media. It's a whole new way of thinking that we are looking at."

Iyer says Street Culture will be a pure-play agency; it will not own any media. The agency will use OOH in all its forms - bus shelters, ambient media, everything. "In every campaign, we will try and include as much of an ambient media element as possible. Today, people are spending more and more time outdoors. In fact, the research we have shows that Indians are spending a minimum of one and a half hours commuting. The weekends are spent in malls and multiplexes. So, that's a consumer touch point where a brand should be visible," says Iyer.

He adds, "A billboard can never be quantified. But ambient media, a below-the-line activity done for a campaign, can show results instantly and that is what we're looking at this time. We have a very robust monitoring system, not just for our campaigns, but also for our competitors, tracking, market reports, everything in place."

Is this the right time for Street Culture to come in? Iyer believes that this is definitely the right time because clients are looking to get the maximum out of their budgets in these times of inflation. Iyer says they do not have advertisers on board as yet, but are pitching for various businesses.

Street Culture was in the planning stage for about two and a half months and saw a soft launch on June 6. Based in Mumbai, it will have offices and representatives all over India.

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