Election Campaigns: How they boosted OOH sector

Since the 2014 elections is being touted to be one of the toughest elections of all time, parties are more than willing to dig deep into their pockets and spend on advertising...especially outdoor since their vote bank lies within the masses on the street of not just the metros but also the tier II, III, IV markets. Therefore, outdoor has become massively important for them. It’s much more rigorous this time.

Election season has given a boost to outdoor advertising industry by more than 30 per cent. Understand, unlike television and print which also exude national presence, the power of outdoor lies in its local behaviour. It helps put up a larger than life picture wherein literacy is not a heavy requirement. You can easily look at the picture and understand the message. As a result outdoor has become a very significant medium for the parties to reach out to the masses who stay in the hinterlands of this country. They are their vote banks, most of whom who may not even have a television at home to watch an ad or are not literate enough to read the paper. It’s outdoor that helps the candidates and parties to reach out to such regions. Now talk of metros like Mumbai, where time is limited and people do not have the leisure to watch TV and read papers, since people are constantly on the run and outdoor helps capture their attention in a very big way. Outdoor inventories  such as hoardings, transit medium, street furniture, mobile vans, railway media all can be placed at strategic locations and just cannot go unnoticed by the target viewer. In a city like Mumbai where consumers are constantly travelling, hoardings play an exponential role in capturing their attention.

The government has estimated a 4.9 per cent rise in economic growth this financial year, against a decade-low of 4.5 per cent last year. Parties have majorly used larger than life hoardings without much innovation in a bid to keep their campaign language simple and direct. National political parties such as Congress, BJP, NCP and the latest entrant in the political game Aam Admai Party (AAP) have also rolled out an outdoor campaign to woo voters pan India. Outdoor has come up as an effective mass communication tool for targeting people on the go as soon as they step out from their home.  This has given rise to the demand of outdoor inventories on big scale especially large size hoardings. Taking the professional approach, these parties have engaged highly lit, strategically located, clutter free hoardings along with bus media.

Interestingly, political parties have also raised ad spend on OOH medium to cater to large number of diverse voters. Focused on innovation, diverse range of outdoor inventory and tactical media planning have brought national political parties closer to outdoor medium.

Digital Marketing and OOH: Combination used?

These political campaigns came up with single objective to influence the decision of voters. Therefore, the demand of quality outdoor products coupled with highest reach gained popularity amongst parties.

Parties used combination of digital and outdoor campaigns for various political promotional events such as rallies, public appearance of prime ministerial and Lok Sabha seat candidate in every constituency, awareness campaign of party’s agenda and promises to the voters and many more.

 This year we have noticed many new trends such as advertising via mobile vans, LED, huge display screen at traffic junctions, public announcements, heavy advertising on railway and bus stations etc. A lot of BTL activities are also planned around the city like Narendra Modi T-shirts, Arvind Kejriwal’s Cap and Rahul Gandhi’s Mask to list a few.

 What after election?

The elections this year is expected to boost the ad revenues across sectors in double digits. And this boost will help sustain even the OOH industry for the rest of the year. It is only an addition to the already existing and growing business of OOH as a whole. So, we do not think that there should be any coping issues. There will be business as usual. Elections are a once in a five year phenomenon. We do not depend on elections alone, therefore...right?! The elections will get over in a few days. And April-May are the best advertising months. Its summers...and holiday season for schools too. So, a lot of advertising happens across the summer FMCG brands, tourism and education too.

(These are purely personal views of Global Advertisers MD Sanjeev Gupta and does not subscribe to these views)

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