afaqs!

FICCI Frames 2012: Out of the frame, but in the mind

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | March 16, 2012
In a panel discussion on innovation in OOH, the panellists spoke about the impact of innovation, not just on the brands but also on the consumers.

Out of home advertising, which reaches the consumers outside their homes, does not necessarily mean that it cannot be a part of their conversations at home. A session on OOH in India - The Innovation Imperative at the FICCI Frames 2012/03 convention focussed on the best practices to encourage innovative execution, thus bringing up the need for OOH innovation in India.

The panellists were Pratap Bose, COO, DDB Mudra Group; Anuradha Aggarwal, vice-president, brand communication and insights, Vodafone Essar and Dennis Sullivan, strategy advisor.

Sunder Hemrajani

Anuradha Aggarwal

Pratap Bose

Dennis Sullivan

Moderator Sunder Hemrajani, MD, Times OOH opened the session with a description of the uncertainty in the wake of high inflation, slowdown of the service sector and impact of global problems. He cited Prof Vijay Govindrajan's quote, "Austere times require audacious goals. When resources are scarce, innovation is the only route to growth."

Vodafone's Aggarwal reminded the audience that out-of-home is the oldest medium. "But, even today, OOH is an art of seeking attention," she asserted.

Speaking about the need for innovation, Aggarwal said that a brand story has to be told innovatively. "Specially, OOH requires a larger than life visual appeal," she said.

She added that OOH as a medium has a multiplier effect in terms of PR and gave several instances of how innovative execution by the creative agencies working with Vodafone Essar developed innovative OOH displays that got the brand a lot of PR mileage.

"Making every penny on the innovation sweat is what we believe in. Innovation should be magnifiable. When you see an innovation, you should go home and speak about it with your family and friends," she added.

She mentioned how, in big cities, it is twice as hard to do something innovative and hence grab the consumers' attention. "But the important thing with the innovation is that it starts with the intention," she said, adding that there are two-three golden rules that Vodafone follows for any innovation. "It should be path breaking, should have a multiplier effect and it should certainly go beyond the medium, along with the whole message and communication being relevant to the brand," she said.

Bose of DDB Mudra Group interestingly titled his presentation 'OOH that ooh!'. He said that innovation happens if the clients are brave. "Brave clients are important for innovation. Unfortunately, in India, there aren't many. Plastering 100 hoardings across the city is not going to get your client anywhere."

He gave examples of DDB Mudra's very brave client, Volkswagen, and the OOH innovation that DDB Mudra Group executed for it in India. He asserted that today, OOH innovation is about people. "It is about what you do and how people react to it," he said and emphasised on the need to be relevant, transparent and meaningful.

Sullivan postulated that today, everyone is a broadcaster. Speaking about the onset of digital innovation, he said, "Today, OOH is not only about people on the move, but about reflecting people's lifestyle."

According to Sullivan, OOH should have innovation, interaction and integration. When asked about the absence of scale (in carrying out innovations at many places simultaneously), the defensive panel responded with a few points.

Aggarwal spoke about monetary constraints and also explained that an innovation that works at a particular region may not work in another.

"It wouldn't be an innovation if it is carried out everywhere," explained Bose.

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