Sanjeev Kotnala: Say no to mediocre creativity. Amplify OOH experience

07 Oct,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


There is too much of Out Of Home (OOH) advertising. It’s a space that is cluttered. It is tough to make a statement. It is tough to create an engaging experience.  It is tough to defend such an observation. Absolutely true for hoarding, bus shelter and other such traditional OOH still seeped in old technology that is inching forward at a pace slower than the Himalayan tectonic plate.


Unfortunately, with the global distances shrinking and information becoming a democratic advantage, one gets enamoured by the global experimentation in this space. Creatively hungry teams in sync with the demands of a willing client are using cutting edge technology and digital interface to create experiences that stand out. Alas, all of this is miles away from Indian shores.


It’s is definitely not the lack of technology. It is the dearth of clients with confidence willing to take the bite, willing to ride the OOH space. Indian clients want every bit of the enhanced experience and engagement but fail to appreciate the need of investment and commitment to make it a reality. The right results is more than a fault-free implementation, it banks on social media and the insights based creative capability. It banks on the implementation to generate waves in the unpaid media space.


So, let me not ride in that painful and highly debateable zone. What comes first is the technology investment by media owners or the pathbreaking creative and commitment from a client.  Many questions, no answers. So after raising the subject, let me get back to reality, the basics. It helps to do so.


Most of our bigger cities are full of potential. Let me take example of Mumbai city.  It is plastered with hoarding and sites. Are they legal or illegal is not the scope of this discussion.


SV Road, Western and Eastern Highway, Mahim, Haji Ali, Peddar road, Sea Link approach… you name it and there is a junction with immense potential of creating a destination outdoor.  Such busy points of prime importance have a Cluster of hoardings. Unfortunately they are referred as Clutter by the misguided trade and media advisors.


Let’s take a step back. Compared to print (an intended medium) where eyes narrow their vision to take in the news or ad, OOH is an incidental medium. I have never ventured out seeking a particular hoarding and I bet you have also not done the same. When you are moving, your angle of coverage is wide. Things keep getting in and out of your field of vision.


You miss out the smaller things and details, unless they are dramatically different or critically important to you. In such a situation, a cluster stands out and becomes a prominent element in your vision and is tough to negate. Unfortunately, they can become blind spots due to inactive engagement. To stand out in this cluster all you need us a challenging creative.  But, what we do is to take the easy way out. We stay away from advantageous clusters. We try being isolated and independent. We do not leverage the possible amplification of a cluster. The mediocre creative that we are so emotionally attached to, pushes us to take such myopically safe actions. In process, all we do is to increase the chance of being missed. Live with lower efficiencies and effectiveness. Miss the chance of making an impact. We remain satiated with the Excel sheet 360-degree plans.


Take the challenge, invest into technology, understand the audience and create some creatively appealing OOH work. Not the picture from print or a freeze frame from the latest TV commercial. Stop treating OOH as a support and reminder medium. Changing your attitude toward the medium may help you enhance the impact. In this era skewed toward digital, it’s time even OOH took advantage of new technology.


Try approaching it differently. Say ‘No’ to the mundane non-engaging creative. Next time, think OOH as the lead medium. Next time, design a campaign as if no other medium was available. Next time, force yourself and your teams to push the limit.  And once you get your brilliant OOH answer, go ahead and create that statutory TV, Print and radio creative



Sanjeev Kotnala is Founder of Intradia World. A Brand, Marketing &  Management UnConsult Advisory. He is a certified Life  and mid-life transition Coach. He  conducts specialised workshops in the area of IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and Innovation (InNoWait). He focuses his energy in enhancing client’s internal team’s potential and capabilities. In the process, decreasing their dependence  on external resources. To contact email  or tweet at s_kotnala visit


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