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Like people wait for the 8 bogey metro for comfort, they are excited to get into a Brand Wrapped metro; Praveen Gupta

08, June, 2015

Abhinav Mohapatra, New Delhi

Praveen Gupta, Director, EG Communications, the exclusive concessionaires to DMRC metro wraps and branding, in a conversation with discusses how the metro wraps create excitement among the audience as well as the clients and how the lines 2,3 and 4 have been a viable opportunity for both the asset owner and the advertisers.

1. It has been more than 8 months since you have bagged the 10 year contract for metro-wraps and in-metro advertising, how long do you get bookings for and is there a strategic stand-point that your advertisers take?

Generally all long terms 3-6 months, the response is very good, there is no client that has told us that they did not receive enough visibility. In India there have been wraps in the metro before but not at this scale covering such a huge network. Basically in Delhi there are 6 tracks and out of those 6 two are the most important and most used line 2 and line 3and 4 which are combined. Line 2 is Jahangir-Puri to Huda-City-Centre and line 3 and 4 are Nodia-Vaishali to Dwakrka. Now, strategically, one has to see the consumer profiling for each line; for example we did a Myntra campaign and wrapped the metros on line 2 which is the Yellow line, this line is perceived to be used frequently by youngsters which is the core target audience of Myntra. Similarly there is a new campaign that is going to be put up by Gulf Oil who wants to advertising on line 3 and 4 since the brand’s community travels by these two lines.

2. Has the DMRC set any kind of regulations for wrapping the metros and do these wrapped metros only run at specific timelines?

Our contract states that we can use 10 per cent of the total number of bogeys in the DMRC line 2,3 and 4. Since the fleet of DMRC is huge, it is not possible for us to wrap each and every metro train. This is also a premium product and we don’t want to wrap all the trains, if it is done, then the charm of wraps will end. Secondly the installation costs is very high and of a premier quality. There is no regulation on the timings or the rotation of the metros and the wrapped metros don’t only travel during peak hours. It is according to DMRC’s routine and schedule; for example if you travel by metro at 8pm every day, you will not get the same metro at 8pm it will be different every time, this also proves to be advantageous, since no two same wrapped metros can be seen at the same time every day, this in turn increases eyeballs for the brand that has taken up this format.

3. You said this is an expensive proposition, what kind of capital investment does a single metro wrap require and is this different for 6 and 8 bogey metros?

It takes approximately Rs 8-9 lakhs for wrapping a 6 bogey metro. We have not started wrapping 8 bogey metros as of now since that increases the cost for the advertiser. Having said that, it is not that we cannot or we don’t want to, none of the clients have asked for an 8 bogey metro wrap till now, if they do then we will cover those up too.

4. Line 2, 3 and 4 have both elevated and underground tracks, does that make any difference in the visibility of the campaigns?

In line number 2 which has 32 stations, 19 stations are elevated, we calculate the impact for the entire network and don’t differentiate as of now, but it is obvious that at junctions and at places where the metro is visible from the red-lights people can see the wraps and from Jahangir-Puri to GTB and after Saket to Huda city centre, the track is elevated and can be seen from a distance. People are used to seeing a normal metro from their cars, but when this wrapped metro goes past their visual radar, it becomes an immediate neck-turner since it is something different and colourful. Nevertheless, there is no standard to measure the visibility of the elevated metro from the streets and multi-storeyed residencies and buildings. Visibility from the streets is considered as a spill-over to the advertiser’s core TG.

5. What is the growth figure that you are looking at in terms of ROI for this year and the next coming few years?

Though it is early to claim, but we are expecting a growth of approximately 40-50 per cent since this is the initial year and there is a novelty factor, but going forward in the next few coming years we are expecting 10-15 per cent growth which will be standard.

6. There have been speculations in the market about metros becoming high-tech with LED screens and digital innovations is that true, if it is how are you going to utilise that?

The news about metro trains going high-tech is not currently possible in the metros that are running today. These digital or technological installations have to be there while the metro is getting manufactured and they come in the trains pre-installed like the rapid metro in Gurgaon. Also, every metro has a standard power source and there is currently no provision for more. DMRC alslo has to invest a huge amount of money to replace their current running trains with the ones with LED screens etc, which I feel cannot be done at least for several more years. The new lines that are being constructed as of now might have these advancements, since they might get manufactured with the high-tech specifications, but there is no scope of the current ones getting these services.

7. Line 6, the violet line is claimed to be running through a posh area of south-Delhi where tons of brands’ clients reside. Why did you not pitch for line 6?

The commuter base of line 6 and 7 are low, and these are considered as connecting lines. Also maximum areas that they cover are going through residential colonies and sound barriers have been installed in 90 per cent of the tracks. Hence, there is no visibility, so you are dependent on those people who are travelling in the metro through the stations, which compared to lines 2,3 and 4 is very less. Also, most people who take these lines end up going to line 2 or 3 and 4 where we have our presence. It is not that we had not filled up the tender, but we thought that these three lines were a more viable option. According to DMRC data only 4 per cent of the total traffic is using the green and violet line and the other 96 per cent uses the others.

8. Does the client ever feel a disconnect between the train wraps and the static media on the platforms? Don’t you think there is too much of clutter?

There is no clutter, how much time does a person spend at the platform? There are 140 stations and there is static advertising at the stations as of now. Suppose there are 4 entry and exit points at Karol Bagh; the person who takes the metro daily from Karol Bagh does not use all the different entry and exit points to experiment; he is comfortable with one point of entry and exit and he would be looking at a static site everyday which does not change for quite some time, depending on the campaign duration; at the end of the day he will get used to the same communication. While when it comes to wraps, daily you are looking at something new since there are so many and different metros and wraps one metro will be going through all the stations on that line, while the ads keep changing at every station since they are localised. There is also an issue, if there are too many people on the platform then the static media cannot be seen by everyone but the metro can, hence it has a larger impact.

9. You talked about impact what is the kind of engagement that this new format of advertising can create for the audience?

The level of excitement is a lot, like people wait for the 8 bogey metro, they are really excited to get into a wrapped metro. We also have rights to brand the media inside the metro as well as outside, for example, if there is a Myntra wrapped metro, there will be Myntra communication inside too. Brands are using QR and Bar-codes as well as coupon codes to engage the audience currently but as we go along; the metro stations, which are speculated to become WiFi-enabled in the coming months, will create greater engagement for the audience.

10. Delhi High Court ordered the implementation of the OAP in Delhi, what is your reaction and will this affect metro wraps in any manner?

Our media is 100 per cent legal since the entire tender has been rolled out by DMRC which is an independent body. This is one media that has never been defaced or vandalised for the last 10 years, it is a neat and clean. The system of advertising has been set by the DMRC and it makes sure that the OOH media players adhere to it. Also this is a measurable medium since DMRC keeps count of the number of people who walk into their stations. Hence, if we consider the people as eyeballs to a campaign then we can calculate the visibility of a campaign.

11. What are your expansion plans and what is your outlook for the future?

Future has always looked good that is one of the major reasons why we have taken the tender for a period of 10 years. We will definitely try and take the advertising tender to the upcoming metros but at the right price. It is easy to fill a form for the tender and invest, but to maintain and run the show is most important. There should always been a cost-benefit-ratio. In the country we are the oldest company that started metro advertising and we have along drawn relationship with DMRC. I am sure we will satisfy all our clients with their advertising requirements. 

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