| 'We try to make our outdoor advertising efficient enough to be noticed in 5 seconds'Debarpita Banerjee
is the vice president marketing of NGC Networks India and FOX International Channels
. In her current portfolio, Banerjee is responsible for all marketing and communication initiatives of bouquet of channels under Fox International in India. Her role involves strategising to strengthen the existing brands in the Indian subcontinent which includes National Geographic, FOX History & Entertainment, Baby TV, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Music and National Geographic Channel HD. In a career spanning over 14 years, she has worked for leading advertising agencies like BBDO, Leo Burnett and JWT where she successfully managed brands like Horlicks, ICI Dulux, Coca Cola, GSK, and SBI. In an exclusive interview with network2media's Neha Nagpal
, Banerjee talks about the importance of outdoor advertising in the promotional activities for her brands. Edited excerpts:
How important is outdoor as a medium for channels such as yours?
We are an extremely visual channel and any medium which is visual is important to us. It allows showcasing the footage, the quality of imagery that we have. Outdoor is a very important medium for us because now a days in metros, everybody is mostly stuck in traffic and they do have time to look outside the window. Outdoor has been always a very impactful medium and all and all, it's quite important.
Does your outdoor presence stretch beyond the metros? If yes then why?
We mostly concentrate on main metros. We focus on the top four metros and if required, at times on seven main cities. Outdoor is an impact medium and we cannot treat it as a reach medium. It creates an impact in the seven metros where there is maximum concentration of our TG. Hence the four/seven metro plan works out for us.
In the absence of credible research, how do you measure the efficacy of your OOH campaigns?
It is true that there is no credible research to measure the efficacy of OOH campaigns. This has been a debate going on from very early days. There are different ways in which you can know the response levels of your campaign. When we do equity or brand studies, we do get to know whether it is word of mouth, online, or through any other medium about what perception people have got about the brand. So when we do these kind of studies, we build in such questions that show the impact of a sustained outdoor presence in that study. But as of now, you cannot directly measure the efficacy of an OOH campaign. Buzz, word mouth an comments on our Facebook fan page are the only indicators.
Brands often talk about clutter in the outdoor domain. Does that influence your decision in any way?
It influences our decision in terms of what quality of outdoor we should do. Yes, there is clutter, but there is clutter in everything. Whether it is media or number of brands, there is clutter everywhere. The whole task is about creating differentiation, so we cannot shy away from a certain medium because there is clutter, because that medium is still very important to create an impact in a certain place. It is a five second medium if you are not stuck in traffic, and we try and make it efficient enough to be noticed in those five seconds.
Is innovation the best way to stand out of clutter in the outdoor domain?
By differentiation we mean two things - first, be true to your brand. As for National Geographic, we are a hugely differentiated channel when it the look, colorus, the yellow window, the imagery that we have.
Secondly, push the creative boundaries, do innovation.
Also, innovation is not the only or the best way to stand out in the outdoor clutter. It is one of the key ways to be there but innovation does not work everytime. Sometime you do not need innovation and just a simple message works. Sometime simplicity and clarity delivers the goods. So, innovation is not always the key but innovations should be executed at times when it works. It varies from project to project.
A lot of brands and channels are experimenting with on-ground activities. How important are these in your promotions hierarchy?
These are good to do but there are not 'must do' ever. On-ground always helps as it makes a face to face contact with viewers and it is about building relationship. Hence, when a project requires, we uses it, but it is not there as a thumb rule for every campaign or every show. But yes, when we want to connect with our TG on a one on one basis, we initiate on-ground activities.
What are your views on mall media?
It is interesting medium. On one hand, it is great to have trapped audience which is there inside the malls for a certain period, which is good for marketers who are advertising in the malls. On the other hand, the trapped audience is interested in many other things like sale offers in outlets, food etc. So, they may not notice you. A 50 percent sale board will draw more attention than any advertisement or brand message. Hence, in order to stand out and be noticed, it becomes very important for brands to shout out other attractive messages such as discounts etc. To get noticed in the malls, you have to tweak your message differently like we do different cuts for radio, TV, outdoor etc. We have to understand that it is more difficult to get noticed in malls even despite the trapped audience. But yes, malls provide a great opportunity to use high quality media such as backlit displays etc.
What about transit media?
It is all a part of the big outdoor. You can play with a logo or create brand recall with it. It is just to maintain certain visibility of the brand.
It works when you want the brand to be present in the minds of people. Vehicle branding, bus panels, and other forms of mobile OOH media gives very little time to register. You are in transit and they are in transit. So, the five second medium becomes a three second medium. If the purpose is to be top of the mind, it definitely works. It is passive medium. It works for minimalistic top line messages which can be registered by the TG in a very short span.
Airport media is growing significantly in our country, is it an important tool to reach out to your TG?
Airport media is only growing so well or it comes at such a premium because people are travelling a lot. This is because of the low cost and economy airlines. There are loads and loads of people coming out of the airports and going into the airports. So yes, when you come out of the flight and enter the city, it's the first thing that hits you. You get the benefit of prime position, before the clutter hits your sight and sound, the advertisement displays at airports hit you. So yes, it is a prime location and it is important. It is just that it comes at a great premium. The use of it depends on project to project. While it can prove to be value for money for some project, for some others, it may prove to be expensive.
How important is digital outdoor media for your brands?
We have used digital outdoor for our channels. At T3, there is National Geographic channel content playing. It can be important for channels like ours because we are all about showcasing fantastic imagery. So, if we just show the yellow window, our logo and some mind blowing imagery, our job is done. It helps in telling audience what NGC looks like. It is important as channel building exercise. I believe that if properly used, this medium too like every other medium has a great future in a growing economy such as ours.
Going forward, do you see increasing your investments in the OOH advertising domain?
It is again going to be very project led. It is not a blanket call. We have to evaluate on a project to project basis. We do recognise that outdoor is an important medium to create impact in the key cities because, we know a lot of people spend time on the roads. However, what is the efficiency of that particular project can only be determined by the nature of that project.
What would you like to see happening in the outdoor space in the coming years?
I would actually like to see a lot of blind spots being stripped off. There are lots of media that falls into blurred vision and when you really notice it you can only pick out one or two things. Lesser clutter, more visibility and more clarity is required. We should remove the media which is been placed for sake of it just to add clutter. I think we should reduce the clutter so that marketers who are opting for premium media get their due visibility. Let the effective ones stay.
What are your suggestions to outdoor media practitioners to get better value for their media in the times ahead?
Allow us ways and means of doing innovation. Help us in getting clarity for our messaging in all this clutter.