Friday, July 11, 2008

AD’s OOH affair

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Almost a veteran, AD’s World is totally charged up to take on the new onslaught

OOH la la! AD’s WorldThat’s what the Rs.1200 crore Out-of-home industry is singing after the Supreme Court on October 16 approved the Outdoor Advertising Policy for New Delhi, allowing hoardings on road after a hiatus of 10 years. Little wonder that OOH is the most talked about dimension in the world of advertising at present, with big names like Times Group, ADAG, et al, flocking toward it. However, agencies like AD’s World have been betting heavily on this sector for a long time. Since AD’s World started in March 1992, OOH has not just been its first love, but till date remains its only love. Also an acronym for advertising, AD’s World seeks to pay homage to its founder Ajay Dhawan, by using his initials ‘AD’ in its name.

From a one man show at the time of inception, AD’s World has grown to 11 offices across the country, and clocks a billing of Rs.70 crore annually. The agency has big-ticket clients like Vodafone, Acer, Canon, ING Vysya Bank in its ever-expanding kitty and has registered a three digit growth for the past five years (except one year in which they took a breather to consolidate). Even then, their average growth for the past five years has been an impressive 105.6% on a Y-o-Y basis.

Dhawan emphatically states, “The competencies that has helped AD’s World scale these heights is that while most of the companies in OOH business focus only on static advertising, which is like the last mile apart from the regular buying and planning that all the companies have to do, AD’s World does turnkey project management at retail level as well, so that it does not cover just the last mile but last hundred meters and the last meter as well.”

The agency has always sought attention in the midst of the biggies, so when asked about the strategies they adopt at the time of pitching, Dhawan revealed with a big smile on his face – ‘Flanking’. Simply stated, AD’s World tries to break in to a company through its retail arm and once a connection is established, it tries to get its hands on other services of the company. A case in point is that of Vodafone. Ogilvy handles almost the entire Vodafone account, but Vodafone’s Balloon March was organised by AD’s World in various parts of the country like Kolkata. Maybe these are the strategies that give Dhawan the confidence to comment, “There is no competition in the industry as of now.”

The man is also not too worried with the kind of aggressiveness Times Group & ADAG are showing. Adds Dhawan “It would help getting regularisation and some kind of method to the madness. It would not be a dream to think that if newspapers can have something like Indian Newspaper Society (INS), OOH can also have society, which mandates payments within the set time frame.”

AD’s World has been around for quite some time now and has learnt the tricks of the trade well. Apart from their creatives, they would like to be known for their transparency. This philosophy coupled with the fact that this fiscal, AD’s World has already done three times the business that they had the entire previous year, leaves no iota of doubt that for AD’s World FY-08 would be yet another year of impressive growth numbers and a smiling cash ringer.

Edit bureau: Surbhi Chawla

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