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Metros, airports & entertainment centers fast becoming marketing hubs

The Economic Times:  June, 2014

New Delhi: Sometime in May this year Samsung did a first ever—by rebranding one of the busiest airport terminals in theworld UK's Heathrow Terminal 5 as 'Terminal Samsung Galaxy S5' to promote their latest flagship phone the Galaxy S5.

Closer home in one of the busiest and richest commercial hubs of the country, the Gurgaon Rapid Metro opened its stations not just to commuters tired of dealing with the city's famously whimsical rickshaws and time consuming traffic snarls, but to brands. The Cybercity station became IndusInd Bank Cybercity.

Others on the metro line are MicroMax Moulsari Avenue, Vodafone Belvedre Towers and Airtel Phase 3. The soon to be launched Andheri - Ghatkopar corridor of the Mumbai Metro is also going to be marketer friendly. For advertisers, these ambient media vehicles represent a surge of opportunities both for branding and cold hard business, even if they are seemingly expensive.

As per industry sources, the station naming rights for the rapid metro have been sold at anywhere upwards of '30 lakh per month for a period of two to three years.

Not content with painting the Cybercity station in brand colours and naming rights, IndusInd is also setting up a fullydigitised branch—the bank's first —inside the station premises.

In addition, for a certain number of days, brand promotions can be done inside the station to engage commuters. As per Mohit Ganju, head - marketing & communication, IndusInd Bank "Gurgaon is one of our high priority markets and venues for a high decibel branding property is limited.

The Rapid Metro was the best possible opportunity." The brand plans to evaluate similar opportunities in other key markets.

In the case of Vodafone which also has station naming rights, the tie-up fetches the telecom player exterior visibility at a prime location, retail business spaceonthe platform,andanexperientialmarketing setup complete with interactive design elements.

Explains Ronita Mitra, senior vice president, brand communication and insights, VodafoneIndia,"We neededto strengthen the brand in Delhi-NCR in an innovative way and Vodafone Metro station was a unapt fitment."The brandhas kept the overall design theme around the key promise of Vodafone 3G of being 'Faster. Smarter. Better' which it claims dovetails into the many virtues of the metro rail system.

While the brands get a medium for unique advertising opportunities, for the capital-intensive metro it provides quicker ways to monetise. It is a known fact that long periods of time are required to breakevenandgloballymetro services have started looking for nonfare revenue opportunities.

Dubai Metro was the first project in the world to sell station-naming rights and others have followed suit. Two things that make metro branding stand out according to Aman Nanda, executive vice president, Times OOH are: most of the metro passengers are regular travellers andadvertisinghere givesbrandthe opportunity to communicate a story 365 days a year. Secondly, metro offers high dwell time — image captivated audience inside the metro station — who can be engaged, he adds.