Ajaz Memon: It’s a time for happy choosing

26 Oct,2011

It’s that time of the year again.  New “Kandeels” and crackers are bought.  Old lights left from last year are dug out.  Festivities abound in the season of the Festival of lights.  For the quarter of the year which is considered peak season for Out-of-Home, what does it mean for the Outdoor industry to be part of the over-the-top Promotions?

While it is a truism that except for very select brands, Outdoor continues to be a support medium for Mainline media, it is also true that off-late Diwali is the time when outdoor comes into its own.  This is so because while most of mainline media are targeted at getting consumers to shop, the actual shopping is done when the potential customer gets out of home to a point of purchase. Thus the medium which targets the client closer to the sales point is outdoor.  Smart brand custodians have realized the power of this medium and are harnessing it specially during the festival season giving rise to the “peak season” phenomenon during Diwali.

These last few months of the year are a good time to be in the Out-of-Home industry for reasons other than the ballooning sales and all-time high occupancy of Outdoor sites. It is a quintessentially Indian Festival.  Almost all corners of the country are lit up with every possible spectrum of colour. While most of these colours are seen at offices, residences and side streets, its Outdoor which lends colour to main streets and junctions, indeed it does so round-the year, but specially during the festivities when most outdoor options are lapped  up to cater to the burgeoning shopping crowd.

While it is obvious that consumer durables lead the pack in Festival-specific advertising, other segments are not too far behind when it comes to inducing purchases on this propitious occasion right from jewellery to realty, everyone recognizes that this is the best time to make people buy your product. Auspicious-time-to-shop coupled with the financial windfall of a Diwali Bonus leads to a unique purchase inclination for majority of Indians. And the intelligent brands are there leading the pack, following their potential buyer right from the time he leaves his house till the time he reaches anywhere where there is a potential purchase to be made. This is achieved thanks to the phenomenal reach and variety of options that OOH accords the smart brand manager. Yes, it is indeed a good time to be a OOH Professional.

However the picture is not rosy for all.  Out-of-Home inventory is growing at a phenomenal rate, unfortunately far higher than the growth rate of the industry itself.  While in the good old days there were literally waiting lists for decent OOH options, today the glut of new media has led to the quirky scenario that you actually have decent Outdoor options sometimes vacant on Diwali.  The festival season has become the great leveler for deciding an Outdoor options’ ultimate appeal. If your site is unsold even on Diwali, its time to rethink about your inventory or costing or both. Having said that, more options only lead to more choice for the advertising community, ultimately promoting  the very same consumerism culture which the brands are themselves promoting. So Happy Diwali and Happy Choosing to all.


Ajaz Memon is Director, Network Media Solutions.

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