The world of cricket is about to be set ablaze as India plays host to the 13th edition of the Men's ODI Cricket World Cup scheduled to be held from 5 October to 19 November 2023.
Brands, like seasoned cricketers, are meticulously strategising their game plan, aiming to capitalise on the cricketing extravaganza that's set to capture the imagination of millions.
The World Cup coincides with the festive season, a time when the nation comes alive with celebrations and purchasing decisions surge.
Campaign India set out to uncover how the world of OOH advertising is set to benefit during the World Cup.
Unleashing the power of OOH at major sporting events
Haresh Nayak, founder and CEO, Connect Network, paints a vivid picture of why out-of-home (OOH) advertising during the World Cup (and festive season) could be a game-changer for brands.
Nayak emphasised the unparalleled advantages of OOH during such events.
He shared, "With captive audiences numbering in the millions, brands have the opportunity to craft unforgettable experiences through various OOH media options strategically positioned near venues and bustling high-traffic areas. Real-time updates and interactive elements, including DOOH (digital out-of-home) and pDOOH (programmatic DOOH), engage fans like never before."
Nayak also put the spotlight on how location-based targeting helps brands hit the bullseye.
"Brands frequently collaborate with athletes, harnessing their star power, while seamless social media integration amplifies reach and fosters fan engagement. These opportunities allow brands to harness the sports fever, forging powerful connections with audiences", he added.
Fabian Cowan, chief growth officer, ideacafe.agency, urged brands to incorporate a human touch into the equation, emphasising that sports fans are a unique, receptive audience.
He shared, "Sports fans eagerly embrace communications that mirror their passions, creating an ideal space for brands to connect on a profound level."
Shyam Ravishankar, global head of agency partnerships, Moving Walls, puts the onus on contextual engagement.
"Sporting events offer an unprecedented opportunity for advertisers to engage users through location-based OOH, DOOH, and creative integration, delivering outstanding ROI. Brands are discovering innovative ways to connect with users during these events, setting the stage for memorable interactions", commented Ravishankar.
Citing an example, Ravishankar explained, "A food delivery brand may seize the opportunity to reach viewers who will watch the games from the comfort of their homes by targeting them during their commute with special delivery options ahead of the big match."
Explaining how OOH will be able to leverage the biggest sporting event of the advertising calendar, Vinod Kunj, founder and chief creative officer, Thoughtblurb Communications, shared that every brand wants to be associated with the World Cup and OOH is the best way to announce topical promotions in a public space, in the context and environment of the brand.
Kunj stated, “OOH is vital in several roles. It can be used as an announcement medium and as a reminder medium throughout the World Cup. Of course, OOH also helps in promotion-agnostic situations. Here is where brands can use creative skills to equate the brand with the nuances of the game.”
The DOOH gold rush
Cowan stated that there has been a rising interest in DOOH over the past several months.
He remarked, "The emergence of SOOH (social out-of-home) campaigns going viral has added an extra layer of intrigue. The World Cup will likely amplify this trend, affecting the pricing of DOOH display time, which will see an increase in demand.”
Gautam Bhirani, founder and CEO, TagTalk.Ai, accentuates the significance of mega sporting events for DOOH networks.
"With the World Cup 2023 taking place in India, the scale is expected to be unprecedented. Live broadcasts at trending pubs and cafes, coupled with special dining offers, are set to draw a 35% surge in foot traffic and extended dwell times of over 90 minutes. , shared Bhirani.
Nayak highlighted the substantial interest in DOOH inventory associated with the ICC World Cup.
Nayak explained, "As brands compete for prime ad spaces, the cost of advertising in ambient OOH locations such as malls, restaurants, and airports is expected to rise. Real-time updates and interactive elements engage fans, while ambient locations provide location-based targeting for enhanced relevance and engagement."
Ravishankar emphasised the wide adoption of DOOH advertising from multi-format capabilities to video and animations, making it an attractive channel for advertisers looking to associate with sports events like the ICC World Cup.
"DOOH offers an appealing cost-effective solution, and with measurement now in place, it ensures both reach and engagement. Media owners are crafting unique packages to cater to the high interest from brands eager to align with the ICC World Cup", articulated Ravishankar.
Kunj noted that within the cacophony of messages that saturate these occasions, he identified a common thread of discretion and discernment.
"Digital out-of-home's programmatic variant has distinguished characteristics — real-time adaptability, pinpoint local targeting, topical relevance, and momentary alignment. This can set the stage for an innovative approach to brand engagement. It offers brands a dynamic canvas to synchronize their messaging precisely when and where it matters most," Kunj explained.
While DOOH presents advertisers with real-time metrics, Kunj underscores the importance of astute minds.
"The data stream, akin to a fast-flowing river, demands skilled navigation to extract opportunities before they fleetingly vanish. The effort is demanding but undoubtedly worthwhile when executed with meticulous precision", shared Kunj.
Traditional compliments digital
According to experts, in an ever-evolving advertising landscape, the fusion of traditional out-of-home (OOH) and digital strategies is proving to be a powerful combination.
While the digital out-of-home (DOOH) realm continues to expand, Cowan isn't surprised that some global brands still prefer static billboards.
"Traditional OOH campaigns have been proven to elevate a brand's online initiatives, and more advertisers are recognising the value of marrying OOH with digital for enhanced results," shared Cowan.
Bhirani highlighted the potency of live displays in attracting millennials and cricket enthusiasts.
"Positioned strategically adjacent to match broadcast screens and projectors, these displays offer advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with a vast audience. Through location-based Instagram engagement and point-of-sale offers, these displays become hard to overlook, serving as a vital link between brands and their target demographics," shared Bhirani.
On the topic, Nayak noted, "By seamlessly integrating traditional OOH with online initiatives, brands can create a cohesive, multi-faceted experience for their audience. Features such as coordinated messaging, QR codes for online interaction, and real-time updates bridge the gap between offline and online marketing efforts. Social media integration, including the use of hashtags, further encourages audience engagement, extending the brand's reach and influence within the OOH space during events."
Ravishankar stated that traditional OOH now possesses the capacity to deliver audience reach and impact, particularly when integrated with location-based targeting.
"Video content serves as a common format across OOH, broadcast, and online, allowing brands to expand their reach across channels with precise audience targeting," he remarked.
Brand categories betting big on OOH
Nayak highlighted that the retail, e-commerce, and consumer goods sectors are leading the charge in embracing OOH, digital OOH (DOOH), and programmatic DOOH (pDOOH).
"During high-engagement periods such as the festive season and major sporting events like the ICC World Cup, advertising spends typically soar. Festive seasons, spanning across regions, are proving to be particularly robust, surpassing pre-COVID booking levels. The overall market sentiment is optimistic and on an upward trajectory", reported Nayak.
Cowan underscored that the festive season coupled with major tournaments triggers an upswing in advertising expenditures.
Cowan stated, "While industries like automobiles, OTT platforms, and real estate have historically been substantial OOH users, the festive season is set to witness an uptick in e-commerce, durables, and lifestyle brands. Positive sentiments surrounding the festive period, combined with a major sporting event, present advertisers with a prime opportunity to unleash their most compelling offers and communications."
Ravishankar noted the preference of digital brands for OOH, particularly for building tangible connections with audiences.
"Traditional OOH remains a staple for brands in BFSI, retail, FMCG, and automotive sectors. On the other hand, DOOH is gaining favour among tech, streaming, music, delivery, and e-commerce brands, consistently ranking among the top advertisers. The festive season's association with significant sales drives advertisers to utilise OOH as a canvas for promoting sales and special promotions. In the coming quarter, OOH promises to be a hub of activity," he signed off.