The Coronavirus pandemic has put the whole world on a ‘pause’ mode. What is going to happen once the enforced restrictions are relaxed? What now is the real scope for OOH, especially post lockdown? While at this point, no one knows for certain when the spread will come fully under control in India, or if some cities will open up earlier than the rest, or which industries can restart full-fledged operations, we still need to prepare for what comes next. In unprecedented times like these and the economic crisis, a lot of parameters and rationales will change. In such budget crunch situations marketers will look at value-based media that can deliver performance-driven campaigns and help measure ROI. The advertisement measurement matrix will become the buzzword.
Roadside traditional OOH formats like a billboard, unipolar gantry, bus shelters, FOB, cantilever, VMS, wall wraps, pole kiosk, police booth, metro pillars, music, public utilities, etc which account major SOV and SOE will be the first to rebound and are ones to readily serve the purpose of brand messages owing to their proximity along the roadways within the city as well as an outside city along with highways. The captive and transit marketing vistas like malls, multiplexes, airports, corporate hubs, railway and bus stations will take more time to go back to the normal. Will, they ever become the old normal or will get reset in a new normal depends on multiple factors.
Lockdown is altering several habits of people across nations including the way they used to travel before COVID. Cabs and autorickshaws will look at restricting the number of passengers they ply on each trip. Buses may ease the load of passengers per trip. This will increase the wait time for procuring a mode of transport. According to a report by CARS24, an auto-tech start-up, a considerable share of the commuters will now look forward to using private cars in the post COVID world to essentially maintain social distancing. The report disclosed that while 42% of respondents feel that they now need to buy a car for the family, 53% of the consumers think of buying one within the next 6 months. 46% of respondents said that they have decreased their budget due to the global pandemic, out of which, 50% said that they will be purchasing pre-owned cars once the lockdown is over. The analysis showed that 55% of the consumers who were using cabs as their primary mode to commute before COVID would now like to shift to private cars; while 15% said that they will switch to two-wheelers. Understanding that social distancing will stay in our lives for a little longer period in the post COVID world, people are more inclined towards owning a private vehicle to commute in the future. The increase in ownership of automobiles will result in on-road traffic and traditional media are rightly and readily poised to attract the eyeballs of the target audience.
Point to be noted is that local travel within the city never completely stopped, especially in suburbs/outgrowth areas in metros and areas that don’t rely on public transportation. Many still make trips to the grocery store, gas station, and for attending other essential businesses. A lot of marketing budgets are going to shift to the roadside OOH in the post-COVID-19 era. While the planet will be in a state of rebooting itself, back to basics will be the new normal. OOH being the oldest medium of communication on this planet, traditional OOH medium will be the new most sought after media vehicle for advertisers. As India begins to slowly open up and consumers crawl away from their self-quarantines, advertisers will respond. And as they do, the traditional OOH medium may become more valuable than ever.“Each ad-dollar spent today also needs its legitimate share of justified outcome”, will become the guiding new mantra of advertisers when it comes to OOH advertising. The key to unlocking the potential of traditional media will be a measurement matrix that will put method to the madness and the client will have faith in investing more in this media. With the availability of tech-based system tools these measurement systems would only add to the efficiency and acceptability of the traditional outdoor medium more than ever before.
Vishwanath Kini, Vice President – Growth & Strategy, AdMAVIN