MUMBAI: It started off quintessentially as an effort to match global standards. And now the airport advertising segment in India is evolving like never before. Ordinary hoardings on the way to the city airports are giving way to scrollers, LEDs, monopoles, neons both inside and outside airports.
While there have been many positive developments when it comes to airport advertising which includes product launches, promotions and interactive advertising at airports, client receptiveness towards innovative airport advertising options has also undergone a sea-change.
Better infrastructure and state-of-art technology and media solutions have worked as a springboard for the Indian airport advertising medium.
Industry experts say that interactive and engaging advertising at airports will indeed fetch high returns for the industry, and that is possible only with the help of upgraded technology. Technology can play a vital role in growing the airport advertising share.
network2media spoke to a few industry experts to find out more about the fast changing airport advertising scene.
Towards the next level
On the next level, Sunder Hemrajani, MD, Times Innovative Media Limited, said, “Airport advertising is evolving in India. Besides static media solutions, various engagements opportunities like promotional kiosks, product placements and digital display options will help in increasing the opportunities. Moreover, medium-specific campaigns and target marketing which involves audience specific media planning will help the medium reach the next level. Various engagement options like product sampling, promotions, digital displays, graphics, and many more can be explored. But there are a few constraints which include limited categories, seasonal campaigns, longer turnaround time for non-static activation, and most importantly, short-term contracts which diminish the scope to invest in further development.”
Agreed Yuvraj Agarwal, COO, airport and ambient media, Laqshya Media, “In the next five years, airports will allow many facilities—state-of-the-art advertising displays, integration and customisation to create a specific airport differentiation, creation of advertising opportunities, 3D holographics, electroluminescence, interactive product displays, waterfall displays, touch screens, Bluetooth-enabled interactivity, Wi-Fi, 3D digital screens, projection technology, the list is endless. At Hyderabad, we have already made the airport Bluetooth-ready. It is probably the first airport in the world which is completely networked by Bluetooth interactivity.”
Said Vikas Bhambri, VP, sales & marketing, TDI India, “The next level will see a lot of digital screens in various departures and more so in the security hold areas. We will also see dedicated zones which will to generate very high awareness levels in a short span of time and will be able to cater to the right target audience in the most effective manner. We see a scenario where technology is deployed to its fullest capacity to create an outstanding impression on viewers.”
Comparing airport advertising in India and abroad, Hemrajani added, “Unlike exclusive airport media buying in foreign countries, Indian airport advertising is still planned locally by outdoor agencies. Larger categories like FMCG, consumer durables, fashion & lifestyle, pharmacy & healthcare, which advertise heavily at airports globally, haven’t been utilizing the airport medium in India to that extent. Airports aboard have long-term campaigns and other brand building activations which are yet to be optimized in India. Airports abroad are turning out to be launch-pad for brands.”
“India is catching up with the world fast. The wave of privatization witnessed post 2006 has ensured that most key airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, have a far better quality of advertising displays. Today, at least the top Indian airports are at par with the best in the world,” added Agarwal.
The technology factor
Mukesh Gupta, managing director, Graphisads, which has the advertising rights for the Srinagar airport said, “There are lots of product displays and show-windows happening at airports but there is potential for more formats. Technology in terms of touch screens has not been utilised fully at airports. There is a lot of scope especially in the Srinagar airport. One can put interactive information related to various tourist destinations apart from advertising. We have done a survey on the cost factor and have realized that compared to the potential of touch screens, the investments would be very feasible.”
Gupta said that it is the client and big agencies who have to think more innovatively as there are lot of restrictions at airports. The cost factor of airport advertising is one as they are the premium places and there are security problems as well. Despite that we expect to see more of new formats like LEDs and touch screens. Anything that is engaging with the audience will work. “As far as we are concerned, we expect to do quite well in the coming fiscal,” said Gupta.
Making a strong case for adoption of digital interactivity in airports, Anurag Gupta, president - strategic initiatives & integration, Mudra, said, “At airports, the customers are affluent and there is time with this category of audience. Scrolls are outdated and in such a scenario, a touch-feel experience will work very well at airports. It is here that technology can play a big role, for example, an email service over a touch screen plus an interactive product display. It could be a car where touching each part on the digital screen would provide information. This will work very well instead of the simple display of a car where people would come and see. But when the same thing is done using technology, the impact is much higher. Using touch screens and state-of-the-art technology, one can create awesome engaging experiences. We have also not seen any interesting work at the lounges where again there is a lot of potential. Something which is beneficial to the waiting passengers can be done, which would give a great impact.”
Speaking on using Bluetooth technology at airports, Anshuman Sharma, VP, Equifone said, “An airport is an excellent place for advertising using Bluetooth because waiting passengers are willing to receive information. The most important feature of Bluetooth is interactivity. For example, if ICICI Bank wants to send some application, it would request passengers to switch on their Bluetooth devices so that they can download the application. Similarly, any promotional offer could be updated using Bluetooth, SMS or GPRS. We are in talks with some of the airline companies where we plan to provide passengers with utilities like boarding passes using Bluetooth. We would then bring in sponsors who would advertise their products as well.”
Giving his perspective on airport advertising, Noel Stephen, branch manager, Selvel, said, “The next level of advertising for the conventional media is a movement towards digital media like LEDs, screens, touch-screens. Since rights for airport advertising is expensive, normal billboards would not fetch the necessary revenues. Therefore, media that is more engaging has to be used. New technologies are coming to India gradually and a number of options are available when it comes to technology. Advertisers can use technologies like Bluetooth; floor graphics, etc as one-to-one advertising as this kind of technology plays an important role in interactivity and engaging captive customers.”
India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world with 109 million passengers in FY09. With more green-field airports and privatization, there is a possibility of planned media placement and superior advertising opportunities. There are exclusive customized solutions available at airports that have led to higher market receptiveness which will help in further growth of the medium. According to industry experts, currently airport advertising is at 1 per cent of the overall advertising industry. In the wake of various developmental initiatives, this contribution may grow significantly in the times to come.