A Case Study
INDIAN RAILWAYS – The OOH Way
Imran Ahmed Jafri
OOH Media – A Glimpse
Any type of advertisement which is carried out of home comes under OOH or Out of home
advertising. Various advertisers prefer Outdoor advertising as it renders effective reach to
the target group. Outdoor advertising is world’s oldest medium of advertising and it still
works today. Various tools of outdoor advertising include neon signage, street furniture,
bus/metro advertisements, sky-flyers, kiosks, billboards, hoardings, etc. One such unique
example is of Indian Railways, an effective medium for OOH media.
A large portion of the advertising that the average consumer is subjected to these days is
advertising that comes at them when they are in their home. Internet advertising, television
advertising, newspaper advertising and magazine advertising are all examples of this.
Because OOH is not associated with these, it is definitely a type of medium that can be used
with great accessibility advantages. The visibility is high through railway advertisement.
Indian Railways – a unique OOH medium for advertisement
Out-of-home advertising in India is no longer confined to hoardings and billboards at
strategic locations. The country’s super fast Rajdhani
trains have become moving billboards with
technology making the wrap concept a major hit. One
such example is that of the OOH initiative undertaken
by Peacock Media to promote Kerala tourism.
Digital advertising platforms are used in public
transportation vehicles such as long-distance buses
and trains in India. The OOH firm has already
wrapped a few other Rajdhani trains with advertising
commercials of brands like Airtel and Max New York
Life Insurance and has existing deals going on with Mindshare for HUL’s Domex and
Lifebuoy-branded toilets, wash basins, consumables and audio spots running on trains.
For example in one of the campaigns, the train’s 17 coaches depict 17 places of tourist
attraction in Kerala. As the train moves through 6-7 states, it will be advertising Kerala's
tourist spots among millions of potential domestic tourists. The Delhi-Trivandrum Rajdhani
Express is claimed to be the first train with 17 different creatives used for the 17 coaches.
Peacock Media, an OOH multi-platform media company, has won a silver in the Regional
Train Carriage (Campaign) category for its Full Train Vinyl Wrap for Indian Railways.
The company had won a bronze in SOAA 2008 in the Train Carriage (Single Ad) category. In
the same category, Leo Burnett also won a bronze for its Backpocketing campaign for
Mumbai Railway Police's initiative, Pickpocket Awareness for Commuters.
Large LCD screens can be found on the train, at the railway station and in railway control
rooms. The Indian Western Railways plans to install 4,000 large panel LCD screens in 67
trains. The LCD screens will be installed by an OOH media company who will earn revenue
from the advertisement on the screens and Western Railways will get a license fee of Rs 7
Crore (approx. US$1.75M) per year for the duration of the contract (which is 5 years).
Branding on Indian Railway
The train, which sports the tag line, 'Chalo Kerala' in Hindi and 'Go Kerala' in English,
journeys through the heart of India. This campaign is for a period of six months till June
2010. The travelling showcase is expected to reach out to more than 3 crore people across
10 states, including Delhi NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil
Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka as well as Kerala. OOH advertising on long-
distance trains is highly effective as each train is visible to nearly 60,000 people on every
platform it crosses every day, most of which are unique audience. Also, such advertising
builds responsible brand image as the services offered are seen as the brands' CSR initiative.
Such advertising also has extremely long attention span, say 16-36 hours in the case of
The experiment has been successfully executed abroad. The Gatwick Express, which is a
non-stop rail link between Gatwick Airport and central London, provides the same OOH
advertising option with the advertisement pasted across the train's exterior. Amtrak, the US'
financially struggling railroad, also turned its premium Boston-Washington service into a
However, for India, it is somewhat a new experience. It is a new medium and the market has
started to accept it widely, which in turn decides the potential revenue for the medium. In
this modern era of digital printing, fleet graphics, the wrap-around concept has added a new
dimension to advertising opportunities. However, the biggest challenge for the successful
execution of such projects is to have vinyl prints that would last long and withstand all kinds
of weather conditions, let alone acts of vandalism.