Ubaid Zargar

Is India’s OOH space ready for an anamorphic makeover?

  • Anamorphic OOH ads are gaining traction in the country with an increasing number of brands adopting this trend

  • Creating these ads involves specialized skills, storyboarding, and designing 3D content, with a production turnaround time of at least 20-30 days

  • Challenges such as high production costs and limited availability of skilled experts currently restrict the growth of anamorphic ads to select metro-centric regions

  • Industry experts dissect the advantages of this DOOH trend

Anamorphic OOH ads are slowly gaining traction in the country. The frequency of brands employing this trend is on an upswing. 

A few weeks ago, Hrithik Roshan’s latest film Fighter took over the digital OOH space at the Mahim Causeway Garden in Mumbai. The anamorphic OOH ad was created by Screenox, a premium DOOH network under the aegis of its sister company Khushi Advertising.

The setup involved a 10ft rotating 3D jet plane, supplemented by engine thrust and smoke effects to represent the movie’s fighter jet. All of this was summarised within a 10x10ft LED display.

Fighter's anamorphic OOH ad
Fighter's anamorphic OOH ad

This promo stands on the shoulders of many other brands who’ve also tested the waters with the new tool in town. Over the past few months, we’ve seen an ample number of brands delve into this 3D artistry. Last month, Continental Coffee unveiled a 3D anamorphic display installed in Bangalore, as part of its comprehensive OOH campaign created by Platinum Outdoor, an OOH advertising unit of Madison World.

Continental Coffee's 3D OOH ad
Continental Coffee's 3D OOH ad

Similarly, Lenovo in partnership with Posterscope India launched a 3D anamorphic ad campaign titled Lenovo-F1. The campaign saw the brand target IT decision-makers and tech optimists who are Formula 1 fans. Advertising agency Signpost India helped Greenply create a vivid 3D OOH ad during Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata’s New Alipore. 

Lenovo-F1 OOH ad
Lenovo-F1 OOH ad

All of these campaigns were produced and executed in the past five months or so.

There are many more examples of brands leveraging this new DOOH tech at their disposal. Beyond mere aesthetics, what goes into making these new tech ads has a lot to do with how ready brands are to adopt this new style.

It is an add-on to the industry, and will only take the industry forward.
Gautam Gulati, CEO & founder, Screenox

As per Gautam Gulati, who is the CEO and founder of Screenox, the agency behind Fighter’s OOH promotions, the demand for anamorphic ads is fairly high, especially for campaigns that are product-oriented. He says, “It is an add-on to the industry, and will only take the industry forward. The demand is high from the customers. It is one of the ways to make a product-specific campaign stand out.”

Gulati also points out that the feasibility and appropriateness of these ads also depend on the location. He says, “In particular spaces such as malls and ambient zones where dwell time is very high, these screens make sense. In a drive location, these ads aren’t necessarily feasible since the viewer might not be around for enough time.”

But how are these artistic ads created? And more importantly, how do they differ in production from regular outdoor ads? 

Is India’s OOH space ready for an anamorphic makeover?

As per Aman Nanda, chief strategy officer, Times Innovative Media, Creative anamorphic OOH content requires a special skill set and entire storyboarding to come up with the best output. He says, “The process involves storyboarding, designing 3D content and then putting them into frames for the final output. The lead time for building content is higher than arranging the logistics part. The production requires at least 20-30 days of turnaround time to create anamorphic content.”

This also leads to some unavoidable challenges that can potentially drive brands away from the avenue. Nanda says, “The biggest challenge is the cost associated with creating 3D Anamorphic content. Storyboarding and designing such content requires specialised video production skills, leading to additional expenses. Unfortunately, the limited budgets typically allocated for Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising often discourage brands from considering anamorphic content.”

Furthermore, in India, the trend of 3D anamorphic content is still nascent. Nanda reveals, “Consequently, there is a scarcity of digital assets capable of running high-quality 3D Anamorphic content. Skilled experts who can craft such content are also in short supply.”

Since locations and the ambiences surrounding the OOH properties also play an important role in determining the feasibility and utility of anamorphic ads, Nanda highlights that the availability of L-shaped screens is important for the success of such ads. 

“For 3D billboards, utilising an L-shaped screen can work wonders in creating depth perception and delivering an immersive 3D experience. High-tech digital billboards take this to the next level, providing an unparalleled visual experience where everything appears remarkably realistic.”

For Times OOH, all their digital assets are equipped to run 3D anamorphic content. He says, “When it comes to advertising in airports and public transit touchpoints, there are no special permissions required. Additionally, all digital assets owned and operated by Times OOH are fully equipped to run 3D Anamorphic Content. This not only ensures seamless integration of brands but also saves significantly on rental costs associated with deploying additional assets.”

With high production costs and seemingly lower accessibility in many locations, the overall growth of anamorphic ads is still restricted to select regions.

Is India’s OOH space ready for an anamorphic makeover?

As per Dipankar Sanyal, CEO, of Platinum Outdoor, a shift in this metric could lead to more brands pouring into the space. He says, “The production cost is high, hence for a brand to go to multiple locations will not be feasible. So, as I see it, anamorphic ads will be a metro-centric phenomenon for now. If cost and time of production eases then we will see more brands coming into it.”

But are there any emerging technologies that could help propel the quality and overall appeal of anamorphic ads? Sanyal answers, “High luminance screens are curtailed for creating dynamic and visually appealing content. The right colour calibration is equally important. As an industry, we must invest more in high-end screens for advertisers to take full advantage of it and also possibly make the anamorphic content interaction in the near future.”

Sanyal also says that the avenue is applicable to all brands, as long as the story from the brand is good enough. “The avenue is a great storyteller. It evokes awe, virality and emotional connection in one go. All brands, including FMCG, sports, telecom, mobile handsets, automobiles, media entertainment etc. can make use of it. It just needs a good story to tell.”

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