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Flashback 2010: The ones that made the biggest noise outdoor

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | January 14, 2011
Here's a look at some of the OOH campaigns across 2010 that left an indelible mark on people's minds.

From the flurry of responses received, Volkswagen (the OOH campaign was done by Portland) was the clear winner when it came to top-of-the-mind recall. 'Clutter-breaking' and 'relevant' were words used to describe it.

It all started towards the end of 2009, with the Volkswagen Beetle campaign that won a lot of hearts with its 'part-by-part campaign'. The OOH at a prominent junction in Mumbai revealed parts of the Beetle each day, heightening people's anticipation and excitement about the imminent launch. The company also launched an innovative mechanical billboard with just the manufacturer's logo on it and a small model car of the Beetle moving across the length and breadth of the 'VW' sign.

In 2010, the brand continued with its out-of-the-box ideas and conducted a unique consumer engagement event for the Polo called 'The New Polo Ultimate Test Drive'. Professional German race driver Ronny Wechselberger was invited to perform stunts at an on-ground event to showcase the features of the new Polo. Consumers were invited to watch breathtaking stunts, and even become co-passengers while the stunts were performed. Wechselberger also interacted with them and provided tips on driving in crowded areas.

A recent campaign for Vento - Tears of Perfection - extended the idea of the TVC of pure passion onto OOH. It showed an engineer crying with his tear drops falling into the two buckets placed on a mobile van, which held up the billboard. The second one had the same crying engineer, with the tears illuminated in the form of LED, which again fell in the bucket placed at the bottom of the display. The second innovation had a real person hanging from the top of a building, cleaning a glass facade - apparently cleaning the window of the car.

Anirban Ghosh, business director, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions had this to say about the Beetle campaign, "It was a talk of the town innovation and thus created huge impact for the brand."

Abhijit Sengupta, CEO, Outdoor Advertising Professionals (OAP), felt that, "The quality of sites and innovation built in were remarkable. The brand has lived up to its penchant for outdoor in India as it has shown internationally."
Next on the favourite list was clearly Tata Docomo's carpet-bombing campaigns (done by MOMS) across the country.

While not all of its outdoor campaigns were outrageously creative, its multiple logo representations with four different colours were plastered across outdoor platforms and managed to build a connect with its new 'Pay Per Second' offering.

Prasenjit Bagchi, vice-president, west - sales and marketing, Peacock Media, says, "Docomo's launch was very well planned in the media by MOMS and the simple, yet instantly eye-catching, visuals like the one with LED lights logo used on buses in Indore made the new entrant brand an instant hit."

Nabendu Bhattacharyya, managing director, Milestone Brandcom, adds, "Its excellent proposition with huge visibility, especially in Mumbai, was the highlight and it created immediate awareness. Its innovative tariff helped creating a buzz."

Sengupta of OAP makes a point when he says, "It had top class creatives and used the market situation of low demand of outdoor to its advantage by taking up anything and everything."

Other telecom operators like Uninor, Aircel and Idea Cellular managed to create a buzz outdoors. While Uninor came in with its 'Ab mera number hai' campaign and spread itself flat across most outdoor surfaces, Aircel took its social 'lifeboat' campaign forward. It also launched the 'Save the Tigers' campaign outdoor with a 'searchlight' innovation.

Idea Cellular was not to be left behind. With a mission to paint cities green with a range of outdoor media innovations to promote its message: 'Use Mobile, Save Paper'. It transformed bus shelters into green covers, with potted plants and tendril climbers to convey the green message. Its 'Walk while you talk' LED moving lights innovation created a hefty buzz as well.

Next on the popularity list of outdoor campaigns of 2010 was McDonald's that painted the town red with its popular crimson colour and golden arches. The quick service restaurant (QSR) had launched a Mumbai-specific outdoor campaign for its new meal category (done by Milestone Brandcom) earlier last year, the breakfast menu. This was the first time that McDonald's was advertising its menu in India. It later pulled in the crowds with a simple, yet larger than life high visibility, billboard campaign in Mumbai and Bengaluru for the McDonald's Happy Price Menu.

In a style that matches the McDonald's campaign, Mukesh Manik, man-in-charge, Encyclomedia Networks says of the campaign, "Crisp, clear, short and direct message. Message seen, message delivered."

The Economist's clean red and white print campaign 'Interpret the World' that was adapted to outdoor grabbed eyeballs as well.

Another popular campaign in 2010 was one by Emirates (done by Navia Asia). After the airline grabbed eyeballs outdoor last year with its creative cut-out kiosks in the shapes of things representing places like a starfish for Mauritius, the Eiffel Tower for Paris and the head of the Statue of Liberty of New York, Emirates recreated its kiosk campaign this year as well. Says Sengupta, "I liked the way Emirates used the medium innovatively. The centre medium kiosks were transformed very nicely, and have certainly attracted all passing eye balls."

Teasers worked too

The logo change by Anchor Electricals in June last year that kicked off with a teaser campaign, did not go unnoticed. A three-phased campaign done by OAP, declared Anchor's logo change and new parentage - Panasonic.

In the first round of teasers, the billboard showed old signs of Anchor being brought down; here, the Anchor emblem/symbol was highlighted. The billboards were also made to look as if the logo, now removed, left in its place a white watermark, while the rest of the hoarding looked a little yellowish, depicting that the logo had been removed after a long time. Lifelike installers were seen handling the removal of the signs. The copy read, 'Change is Inevitable'.

In the second round of the teaser, bamboo scaffolding was used, giving the impression of an installation team working on putting up the new logo units, while the third round revealed the new logo and message 'Anchor by Panasonic'.

Another teaser campaign in 2010 came from Tata International. The brief campaign for its new brand, Tashi Shoes, was created for the unveiling of its first retail store at Linking Road, Mumbai. The campaign generated a buzz with the outdoor teaser messages, such as, 'It's funny how a pair of really nice shoes can make you feel real good in your head.' Another creative read, 'A stiletto is more an attitude as opposed to a high-heeled shoe'; while a third said, 'Is there such a thing as too many pairs of shoes? Not in our world, there isn't.' The revealer campaign that was unveiled at the same outdoor sites, showed the brand name and pictures of the shoes, with cheeky copy such as '99 per cent of men say they love women in stilettos. The other 1 per cent lie.'

Just out, yet buzzing away...

The recent Reebok Reezig innovation (done by Primesite and Milestone Brandcom) with larger than life shoes placed on hoardings showing off the zig zag of the new runner was a stunner that managed to find a mention in the list of top OOH campaigns. So did Kotak Mahindra's 25th anniversary campaign.

Nothing like a controversy

To end the OOH story, one has to touch upon the big fight that ensued between P&G and HLL on billboard space in Mumbai. It created quite a flutter in industry circles with P&G's Pantene launching an extended teaser campaign (done by Grey Worldwide), which was hijacked by HUL's shampoo brand, Dove.

Pantene's outdoor campaign said, 'A Mystery Shampoo 80 per cent women say is better than anything else'. This was to be a precursor to its new, revamped avatar. Competing brand Dove, however, seized the opportunity (done by Ogilvy India) to take a pot-shot, with massive hoardings of its own claiming, 'There is no mystery; Dove is the No. 1 shampoo' - with many of these hoardings strategically placed near Pantene's 'mystery shampoo' ones.

Industry observers had mixed opinions about the ambush. While some commended the swift dive-in by Dove, others said it was a cheap tactic. It finally turned out to be a case of 'Love it, hate it, you can't ignore it'.

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