Covid2019 communication: Is it time to change OOH messaging?

Governments, local bodies should be refreshing the communication to stay relevant

NEW DELHI: It has been close to three months since the announcement of a nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid2019 and even longer since the governments across states have been trying to promote the necessary social distancing and other precautionary measures via advertising. While there has been constant innovation in digital and TV commercials, with the constant addition of newer faces and updating of messaging with changing scenarios, OOH hoardings are still covered in the initial set of messaging. Case in point, the following hoardings spread across Mumbai, which have been a constant for months now!

Posterscope India director Fabian Cowan believes that for communication to be effective it needs to be refreshed with time, based on the current environmental cues and prevalent truths. Therefore, a refreshed set of creatives and communication is most certainly required to be promoted by the civic bodies.

“The elements and tone need to be in line with the current stage of the pandemic. If staying at home was the single-minded focus at the start of the pandemic, maintaining the right kind of social distancing could be the line of thought in the current context as restriction begins to ease.”

Laqshya Media group CEO Atul Shrivastava adds, “The Covid2019 communications had utilised the OOH space for over two months. However, awareness is still needed especially in the larger cities where the curve is still climbing. Therefore, a few strategic locations with high visibility should be chosen for specific Covid2019 communications. As people start going back to offices across the country and supply chains open up, there needs to be a healthy balance between public service and commercial activity.”

Kinetic India co-CEO Charanjeet Arora feels while it is important to refresh the messaging, it is totally the government’s call to do it or not. “Honesty, it is a pandemic and the government understands the magnitude of it. In their long list of priorities, I think saving lives is on top right now.”

He continues, “If I talk about just Delhi and Mumbai, they are much evolved markets and internet penetration is quite high. People are aware but there is a constant need for communication because the memories in our country are constantly shuttling. It is important to have this (Covid-centric) communication but there is a need to work on the frequency as we have to build the sentiments of businesses back. For example, in Delhi, at least 30 per cent of all OOH billboards should have this communication but the areas should be chosen based on the need.”
So, should the brands be taking the onus of acquiring OOH space and share Covid-related messaging?

Arora doesn’t think it will be wiser for brands to constantly keep talking about the pandemic in their messaging. “Brands need to be subtle and empathetic in their communication, surely. It shouldn’t look like a high-decibel sales pitch. But they should be talking about their own brand experience and usage.”

If Cowan as to be believed, brands too are looking forward to incorporating the same style of out-of-home messaging going ahead. He says, “Currently there are encouraging signs with regards to the increased number of enquiries and considerations being made on possible open markets, especially with respect to green zones. We see this as a positive development. While these discussions currently are in the realm of media possibilities and its deployment our sense is that the communication will largely be centred around sales and benefits of ownership of such products given the current context.”

Shrivastava says that most brands are trying to strike a balance between awareness and sales pitch and the pure commercial advertising will take a few more weeks to come back. “They are keeping marketing communications sensitive, meaningful, relevant and optimistic. Many companies have launched new initiatives to give them an edge in the age of the New Normal. The brands are communicating these initiatives more to portray to the consumers that they care for their employees and their consumers.”

Latest Reads
Brands leverage Rahul Tewatia moment

NEW DELHI: Over the years, IPL has given birth to several big stars who haven't just entertained the crowds but went ahead to become viral-sensation. The latest to be a part of that elite club is Rajasthan Royals' Rahul Tewatia who smashed five sixes in one over in a match against Kings XI Punjab...

MAM Marketing Brands
IAA appoints Megha Tata as president

The India Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) has appointed Megha Tata as its new president. She is the MD of Discovery South Asia and was elected as vice president of the association last year. The association announced the appointment in a tweet congratulating Tata on her...

MAM Media and Advertising People
iD Fresh Foods' new spot pushes ready-to-cook idly-dosa batter

NEW DELHI: iD Fresh Food has come up with a new campaign #MadeWithLove. The campaign depicts iD as an integral part of the Indian family. We see a joyous child-welcoming her parents and newborn sibling home, with a delectable spread of fresh crispy dosas and soft, fluffy idlis – made with the help...

MAM Marketing MAM
Logicserve Digital wins over 20 new businesses during lockdown

NEW DELHI: Logicserve Digital, a digital marketing company and the Indian arm of Logicserve Group, has strengthened their market position by aptly using their expertise and devising tailored strategies to onboard over 20 new accounts during the lockdown period. The new brands onboarded come from...

MAM Marketing MAM
DDB Mudra wins creative duties for Protinex

MUMBAI: Protinex, the leading nutritional supplement brand from the house of Danone, has awarded its creative duties to DDB Mudra, following a multi-agency pitch. DDB Mudra will bring in its expertise to strengthen the brand’s communication and architecture. Indian diet is primarily carbohydrate-...

MAM Marketing MAM
MevoFit launches Bold Fitness Band and Smartwatch in India

We are often torn between the choices to go for a fitness band or a smartwatch. So now we have for you a comprehensive solution - a Fitness Tracker Smartwatch! MevoFit, a leading lifestyle brand, has launched the MevoFit Bold fitness band and smartwatch, a two-in-one super device.

MAM Marketing MAM
First Partners bags PR Mandate for Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH)

First Partners, an award-winning premier communications firm, has been accorded the PR mandate and annexed the Agency on Record (AOR) for FAITH (Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality), the National Federation of the ten National Tourism, Travel and Hospitality associations...

MAM Marketing MAM
Dentsu Aegis Network rebranded as Dentsu International

After six years of its establishment in 2014, Dentsu Aegis Network has decided to rebrand itself as Dentsu International. Agency CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto announced the news in a notice to Tokyo Stock Exchange.  The move places more than 66,000 people globally within the Dentsu brand. As per the...

MAM Media and Advertising AD Agencies
Bollywood celebs, brands & the SSR controversy

Apart from God, Indians worship cricket icons and Bollywood stars. On most occasions, all that a brand has to do is stick a product in a famous cricketer’s or actor’s hands, and, lo and behold, it starts moving off the shop shelves.

MAM Marketing Brands

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required