Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Unusual Outdoor Advertising

Vodafone UFO
One fine morning in the month of April this year I looked out into the sky from my bedroom window and saw a strange object moving in the sky. It was surely a U.F.O. -- an unusual flying object. I went to my balcony to have a better look. The object looked like an airship with the brand ‘Vodafone’ written on it. The object was on its rounds and appeared to be remote controlled.. One is used to seeing balloon advertising but this was a remote controlled airship and I have never seen anything like this before. During this period the ‘Zoozoo’ campaign was making waves, this itself was a very innovative campaign.

I think it was an unusual, innovative and great way to reinforce the brand; it surely grabbed the attention of the people of the area over which it flew. The TV commercials of Vodafone have always been impressive, that includes its previous avatars (Orange & Hutch) as well, and this outdoor advertising was ruling the skies, quite literally.

BRU Coffee - Live Conference
 The above incident brings to my mind another unusual outdoor advertising event which I had witnessed about two to three years ago; the product advertised in this case was Bru Coffee. It was actually a simple drama enacted at a busy traffic junction in Bandra west located in suburban Mumbai. The exact spot was the junction of Swami Vivekanand Road, Linking Road and Turner Road right under a huge hoarding of Bru Coffee. The hoarding site was above a furniture shop (it is not a furniture shop any more now). A special platform was put up right under the hoarding, and on this platform was placed a conference table and a few chairs. There were actors who enacted a conference scene; each of them had mugs from which they sipped Bru Coffee. It was a pretty animated conference; some were seated, one was standing and addressing the others, one young man holding a coffee mug in one hand and papers in another came up to join the conference, one person got up and move a few feet away to make a phone call, those who were seated gestured while they spoke and also sipped from their mugs. For a moment one thought that a real conference was in progress with the gigantic Bru ad banner as the backdrop. It was surely an unusual and innovative form of outdoor advertising, or let’s say live outdoor advertising; hats off to the people who thought of this idea and organized it.

Dipy's BEST bus painting
Talking of unusual and innovative outdoor advertising, well now my mind is working in a flashback mode.

If you are an advertiser who wishes to use BEST buses in Mumbai for your advertising campaign you could use the panels that are provided or you could paint the entire exterior of double decker buses with your advertising message and visuals. Painting the entire double decker bus is taken for granted today since it is pretty common, but it was not like this always. There was a time when using an entire BEST double decker bus for advertising was unthinkable and Herbertsons Limited was the first company to break the tradition for their Dipy’s range of processed foods. This happened in or around the year 1979, the company had decided to introduce a mascot – a cowboy -- Dipy the Kid. A 20 second B&W TV commercial was produced and was telecast on Doordarshan which was the only channel those days, it was an animation film featuring Dipy the kid, this mascot was also used in the double decker bus painting and other media. In all four buses were used but these made a huge impact and became a talking point, after all no one in Bombay had seen anything like this before. The ad campaign was a success and the man behind it was Vijay K. Rekhi who is now President & Managing Director, United Spirits Limited.


  1. Cleaver advertising is all fine but does it sell product? If so , great! If not, it's a waste of time and only serves to boost the egos of ad men and women, saying nothing to the buying public.

  2. Smart Concept!!