At the busy Cyberhub in Gurugram, passersby halt in their tracks as a gigantic digital screen seems to crack and a stunning red car bursts out hovering in the air, before rotating to display its full features. A haze of spectacular effects and dizzying action ensues with two black cars joining the red, before they all vanish. The screen turns blue and a sleek rectangular box pops out with the message “The New Hyundai Venue”.

Hyundai Motors’ anamorphic 3D outdoor activation for “The New Hyundai Venue”
Hyundai Motors’ anamorphic 3D outdoor activation is creating a buzz for its new car — the Venue at Cyberhub in GurugramVideo Credit: Hyundai India

Hyundai Motors’ anamorphic 3D outdoor activation is creating a buzz for its new car — the Venue. People are stopping, taking selfies and videos of the digital installation, and sharing away. The DOOH (digital out of home) activation will be on for two months at Cyberhub and Hyundai says that though it may be at one location, it expects to derive considerable social media mileage through the immersive and impactful content.

This video shows how ​Tanishq along with Laqshya Media Group created India’s first immersive and interactive 3D Anamorphic Outdoor Installation at Bandstand Promenade, Bandra in Mumbai.

Hyper realistic anamorphic installations are now the big global trend in outdoor activations — remember the amazing Nike AirMax that floated out on the street, with the help of a cat’s paw, out of a 3D billboard in Japan earlier this year. Well, they have arrived in India. Abhijit Sengupta, CEO, OAP India, one of the agencies that executed the Hyundai campaign, says the technology is not particularly difficult to do, though you have to build capability — 3D Max software, proper camera angles, etc. “It is based on rules of practical perspective and an optical illusion — but more than the hardware part, it’s the content that is important,” he says. The content for this installation was created by Hyundai’s agency, Innocean.

Tanishq’s season of bloom collection — Live a Dream at Bandstand Promenade, Mumbai

Tanishq’s season of bloom collection — Live a Dream at Bandstand Promenade, Mumbai

A few months ago, Inventech, Laqshya Media Group's tech and content production company, had done a 3D anamorphic installation for Tanishq’s season of bloom collection — Live a Dream at Bandstand Promenade, Bandra in Mumbai. The billboard gave the impression of a dreamy, surreal place from which puffs of white clouds, pretty blooms, rocks and jewellery waft out.

After giving us VR and AR experiences on the small screens, brands are now bringing us blended reality on billboards.The canvas of outdoors has got exciting and innovative with digital wizardry.

Back with a bang

After being badly hit during the lockdown (OOH saw a degrowth of 63 per cent during 2020, falling to ₹1,292 crore, according to Pitch Madison Report 2021), the outdoor advertising segment has now come roaring back.

Atul Shrivastava, Group CEO and ED, Laqshya Media Group says, “Laqshya Media’s Out of Home already came back to pre-Covid levels in March-April 2022. Now we are seeing a huge growth in OOH in the festival time ahead, which starts with Onam, Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali. Sectors such as automobiles, real estate, retailers, consumer durables etc, are eyeing OOH for this festival season, and they will spend huge as the last two festival times were not that great for many industries. Therefore this festival season, growth is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 15 - 20 per cent.”

Abijit Sengupta of OAP also feels that this year , outdoor advertising is gaining momentum and doing so at the cost of other media. He says real estate is the top consumer of outdoor media.

But of late, new users have emerged with BFSI using this space innovatively; ed-tech and OTT is also increasing its spending on outdoors, with hospitals’ advertising relying on hoardings. Automobile sector too uses OOH heavily. Hyundai Motors says it spends around 8-10 per cent of its media on outdoors.

Although traditional canvases of OOH like hoardings, vehicle wraps on auto rickshaws, buses, posters on pillars, signages on streets are all thriving, the action is shifting more to digital OOH.

Rise of DOOH

From digital billboards, digital kiosks, elevator screens and giant TV screens in airports, malls, and other public spaces, we are seeing DOOH inventory growing steadily. Industy experts feel the ban on single use plastic will escalate the use of DOOH, as traditional billboards use plastic based vinyl.

According to an EY FICCI M & E 2022 report, DOOH is now 6 per cent of OOH’s revenues, up from 2 per cent in 2019. By 2024, the report says the share of DOOH revenues will reach 15 per cent. In Singapore, 60 per cent of all OOH is DOOH, while the global average is 40 per cent.

Laqshya’s Shrivastava says, “More and more screens are digitising, with many media owners investing heavily in DOOH. Few advertisers turned to programmatic DOOH advertising during the pandemic; however, this is just the beginning. Programmatic is still a relatively new media buying method for OOH, which is forecasted to become a significant percentage of DOOH in short time. The flexibility, location-specific targeting and trigger-led nature of programmatic DOOH provides brands with efficiency and deliver incremental revenue for media owners.

Measurement improvements

Sengupta of OAP feels that with huge strides made in measurement of OOH campaigns, adoption could rise. He describes how Moving Walls from Singapore, and Mumbai based Roadstar, are providing measurement solutions that give unique reach, frequency and impressions. “You get the OTS (opportunity to see or exposure) of a campaign, individual site matrix and then can assess impact and CPMs (cost per million impressions) out of it,” he says. Also, the sample size is 11 crore daily average users. As more and more advertisers see this data, the approach to media planning will be different, he added.

Shrivastava of Laqshya also said that they have strengthened the OOH audience metric system SHARP (Strategic Hyperlocal AI-aided Reach Planner) which was first developed in-house by LMG in 2019. “SHARP now works with 1.5 billion GDPR-compliant app metadata per month to deliver efficient campaigns with unprecedented levels of accuracy for residential and transit data,” he said.

Strategic Choices

A lot of strategic considerations go into a brand’s OOH campaign. The brand’s status in a market will determine if it wants to do a reach or a frequency campaign. Sengupta describes how Apple has been doing a high frequency campaign as it has used the same outdoor location for three or four years, whereas other handset makers use a location for short bursts just for awareness.

With huge data pouring in, OOH campaigns are getting more scientific with targeting of consumer behaviors. A project that Sengupta is involved in, is to link the consumption of messages to time of day. For instance, he says, in the morning when a man is setting out to work, the persona will be of an office executive thinking of work, but on his return journey, the persona is of a family man. “So content to be played at a particular time can be assigned to location of the user,” he added.

OOH is certainly full of possibilities. And with people back on the streets, in malls and airports, the great outdoors beckons brands.