Metros, airports & entertainment centres fast becoming marketing hubs

11 Jun,2014

By Amit Bapna


Sometime in May this year Samsung did a first ever-by rebranding one of the busiest airport terminals in theworld UK’s Heathrow Terminal 5 as ‘Terminal Samsung Galaxy S5’ to promote their latest flagship phone the Galaxy S5.


Closer home in one of the busiest and richest commercial hubs of the country, the Gurgaon Rapid Metro opened its stations not just to commuters tired of dealing with the city’s famously whimsical rickshaws and time consuming traffic snarls, but to brands. The Cybercity station became IndusInd Bank Cybercity.


Others on the metro line are MicroMax Moulsari Avenue, Vodafone Belvedre Towers and Airtel Phase 3. The just-launched Andheri – Ghatkopar corridor of the Mumbai Metro is also going to be marketer friendly. For advertisers, these ambient media vehicles represent a surge of opportunities both for branding and cold hard business, even if they are seemingly expensive.


As per industry sources, the station naming rights for the rapid metro have been sold at anywhere upwards of ’30 lakh per month for a period of two to three years.


Not content with painting the Cybercity station in brand colours and naming rights, IndusInd is also setting up a fully digitised branch-the bank’s first -inside the station premises.


In addition, for a certain number of days, brand promotions can be done inside the station to engage commuters. As per Mohit Ganju, head – marketing & communication, IndusInd Bank “Gurgaon is one of our high priority markets and venues for a high decibel branding property is limited.


The Rapid Metro was the best possible opportunity.” The brand plans to evaluate similar opportunities in other key markets.


In the case of Vodafone which also has station naming rights, the tie-up fetches the telecom player exterior visibility at a prime location, retail business space on the platform,and an experiential marketing setup complete with interactive design elements.


Explains Ronita Mitra, senior vice president, brand communication and insights, Vodafone India,”We neededto strengthen the brand in Delhi-NCR in an innovative way and Vodafone Metro station was a unapt fitment.”The brandhas kept the overall design theme around the key promise of Vodafone 3G of being ‘Faster. Smarter. Better’ which it claims dovetails into the many virtues of the metro rail system.


While the brands get a medium for unique advertising opportunities, for the capital-intensive metro it provides quicker ways to monetise. It is a known fact that long periods of time are required to breakeven and globally metro services have started looking for nonfare revenue opportunities.


Dubai Metro was the first project in the world to sell station-naming rights and others have followed suit. Two things that make metro branding stand out according to Aman Nanda, executive vice president, Times OOH are: most of the metro passengers are regular travellers andadvertisinghere givesbrandthe opportunity to communicate a story 365 days a year. Secondly, metro offers high dwell time – image captivated audience inside the metro station – who can be engaged, he adds.


Sanjiv Rai, CEO & MD, Rapid Metro Gurgaon is very gung-ho about the potential of the medium having been a part of the Bombardier, the company that built and launched the Las Vegas Monorail as well as opened it up for branding.


Drawing a comparison with the IPL, the biggest branding event in the country, he says IPL takes place for only around 45 days in a year and when compared the metro train is a 365-day daily phenomenon drawing in the crowds many times over. A permanent station branded is that much more powerful as a medium, he adds.


Of course like any other marketing program, the key to a successful ambient media campaign is to choose the best media format available and combine it with effective message. Says Aneil Deepak, head of ideas, DDB Mudra “Branding is the easiest part. If you have spent that kind of money, you have to ride those investments.” The story starts the morning after the branding.


This paradigm shift in ambient media is not restricted to airports and metros alone. The family entertainment centre brand KidZania is another instance of a disruptive ambient opportunity. Started in Mexico, the brand present across the globewithits 15centresandinIndiacurrently in Mumbai, emulates the workings of a real city and each experience zone represents industries fromthe real world like private services, public services, entertainment,automobile,retail, restaurants, factories, etc.


According to Viraj Jit Singh, chief marketing officer, KidZania, “To build authenticity to the experience each zone or establishment is made in conjunction with the brand partners to bring brands, services and products to life.” Brands across categories are looking at utilising the ambience to match their product portfolio. Kellogg’s has established the first cereal factory for kids worldwide at KidZania that offers kids an excellent role playing platform to understand the journey which simple grains undergo to reach from the field to their cereal bowls.


Shares Harpreet Singh Tibb, marketing director, Kellogg India, “This initiative has helped us demystify cereals to kids and their parents and establish the brand’s solidnutrition credentials.”


Not just kiddie brands but other category brands like Yes Bank and Hyundai are also enthused about the inherent possibilities in the ambience of the kids zone.


For instance Yes Bank has associated with KidZania to inculcate financial literacy in children and allow them to understand the value of money through a branch like set-up inside the centre. The auto brand Hyundai has established the first kids driving school and the dealership at KidZania premise, targeting the age group of 4-14 years, to introduce the young generation to safe and responsible driving.


Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Hyundai,”while the school allows kids to learn the responsibilities of driving as well as road and traffic safety guidelines, at the car dealership kids can become an auto sales consultant, or a car designer.”


With media convergence happening across platforms, consumers are moving from first circle of connectivity of traditional media options to the second circle of ambient OOH. Agrees and adds Haresh Nayak,managing director, Posterscope Group India, “The future really is in Ambient 2.0 which brings in connectivity and engagement with consumer through technology and digital platforms.”


Source:The Economic Times

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