The ambient out of home (OOH) category has always been restricted to malls and cinema halls. While the conversion of cinema halls into multiplexes has in itself expanded the scope of advertising in closed door locations, ambient media today is much more than just malls and movie theatres.
As a medium that was always appreciated for the kind of traction that it gets for brands, the opportunity to see, when it comes to ambient media, is great for any psychographic destination outside one’s home, making it a marketer’s paradise.
The entire media business hinges on attention. Even in outdoor media -- whether it is a placard, a name plate or a banner – everything is about grabbing attention. Consumers’ attention is exactly what marketers are vying and paying for. Within ambient OOH, brands are now moving on to explore other prospective locations such as coffee shops, restaurants and quick service restaurants (QSR) to reach out to customers.
Deepak Kumar, Vice-President, Ambient OOH, believes that ambient media holds tremendous potential and the controlled environment the medium provides is a win-win situation for all.
“The best part of ambient medium is that it’s a controlled environment with higher possibilities of innovation and even higher engagement opportunities. As these locations are now warming up to the brands and brands too respect the locations’ sensibility, it’s a win-win situation for media owners, brands and the consumers,” explained Kumar.
For Soumitra Bhattacharyya, Chief Executive Officer, Madison, Out of Home, the potential is directly linked to footfalls that are generated in the environment where the ambient media is present.
“The more popular or the more number of malls one has, the growth of ambient will be more. Similarly, the potential of ambient will be in direct proportion to the number of people walking into the multiplexes,” said Bhattacharyya.
According to GroupM’s TYNY Report 2017, out of home (OOH) has grown by 7 per cent. Madison’s 2017 Report too said that the medium has grown by 6 per cent. What is interesting is the fact that within outdoor, ambient OOH has grown much more than traditional OOH. The fact that ambient requires less governance has caused the rise in use of this medium.
What are agencies doing to tap this opportunity?
Currently in OOH, 60-65 per cent of the media is occupied by billboards or traditional OOH and the remaining 30-35 per cent is ambient media – airports, bus stops, railway stations.
While there is no denying that airports are considered as one of the best places to reach out to more evolved audiences, it is also true that the ambit of ambient media goes much beyond these traditional haunts. Ambient has many more touch points, apart from malls and multiplexes, like colleges, QSRs, lifestyle stores, chemist shops, salons, spas, corporate parks and many more.
According to Kumar, agencies are now realising the power of ambient media and are investing in upgrading and including it as a part of their brand strategy.
“All experiential, be it in real or digital world, can be seamlessly implemented. Agencies are also investing in data, consumer behaviour and ROI in ambient space,” he said.
Corroborating Kumar’s thoughts, Bhattacharyya said, “Actually, as agencies we have to make strategies based on data. So, we propose this platform when we feel there is a need for more eyeballs.”
However, according to Shashi Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, Laqshya Hyderabad Airport, the larger agencies are not going beyond crunching secondary data to experience market first hand.
Can digital complement ambient OOH?
Digital does complement ambient OOH. Since the use of digitally connected devices is higher in ambient locations, if the brand can grab the consumer’s attention on both digital and ambient at the same time, it’s spot on. Brands could look at a mix of digital and static media to reach out to more number of people and interact with consumers.
“In fact today ambient display has to be digitally led. It is no more about exposure but more about engagement, so they have to go hand in hand,” said Bhattacharyya.
When questioned about the possibility of targeting different audiences in different parts of the city, Malhotra said, “There will be certain cases where sharp shooting happens. As of today, picking and dissecting the audience by geography is not happening much. It is filtered with point of destination, rather than point of geography. For ambient, it is more habit-led filtration than geographic.”