Few days ago, there was a floating signboard on the sea front adjacent to Bandra Worli Sea link advertising about Boat Company with the tagline Boat on Boat and it was followed by Ola. The first such campaign using vast expanse of the seacoast as the backdrop made its appearance at Juhu Sea Beach where a flotilla was placed against the setting sun branding Colgate Products.
Seacoasts and waterfronts were the last open spaces, which seemed to be untouched by the advertisement banners, but Zen seems to have become Columbus to discover a new terrain. For imaginative way in which the campaign has been designed, it was catching the eyeballs for sure!
Outdoor media signboards placed at strategic positions have a charm of their own and capture eyeballs to the hilt. Therefore, what happens at Times Square Billboard in New York through the advertisement panels underlines the value and the status of the product that are on display through the billboards. Alternatively, for that matter densely clustered billboards on the streets of Tokyo and in Shanghai, which were used to accentuate the locations in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE-III or for that matter FAST AND FURIOUS-TOKYO DRIFT.
When Sona Mohapatra had appeared on the Time Square Billboard in July 2021, she was the first independent Indian musician who had achieved this feat and it increased her brand equity in quadratic proportions. After all, when one appears on the Times Square billboard he or she has arrived internationally. A song from Akshay Kumar starrer BACHCHAN PANDEY- Heer Ranjha became a first film song to make its debut on the Times Square and Arman Malik first such singer from the film industry to achieve this feat.
Advertisement banners have been used as a part of the backdrop of the cinematic frame after the advent of the motion pictures. First such case was that of Dunlop which was used in a Himanshu Roy production. Rahul Rawail had used the outdoor media publicity boards in a very imaginative manner in ARJUN and he had built his whole climax using the cutouts as the backdrop.
Brand positioning and accentuation of the brands is facilitated in imaginative ways and the planners think about imaginative ways to make the product stick in the visual imagery of the consumer. One such imaginative billboard that immediately comes to mind is that of AVATAR, the famous Hollywood film. When it was released, a billboard measuring 40,000 sq ft., was put up on Andheri Link Road which may have costed Rs.50 lakh but it brought the footfalls in droves. Floating billboards being attempted on the waterfront of Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai is a novel concept. This has the potential to shift the goalpost of outdoor advertisements and take them from land to the waterfront where perhaps municipal regulations and other such regulatory requirements may not be applicable for the time being.
Andheri Link Road has been the most favoured location for putting the advertisement boards, but with the flotillas entering waters around Bandra Worli Sea Link churn should be expected for the turf war. A turf war between advertisement signboards on ground and those taking nascent steps on the waterfront.
Javed Akhtar had written long time ago that the high rising buildings took his sun away. Would the floating billboards take away the joy of watching the sunsets across a very unhindered landscape? Time will only tell as India has one of the longest coastal line and they could become a potential source of revenue. Waters have been stirred, ripple effects would be watched with interest.