Public Address System: an emerging communication tool in India
Innovation is an integral part of advertising. Consumer interests and behavior is liable to undergo a change with time. Hence, the modes of reaching and interacting with them also evolve with each passing day. Advertisers and creative minds see no boundary of media. What better example than the recent use of the public address systems in the country.
Public address systems at different locations of India have been used very innovatively to attract audience attention and even strongly put across a message. Not only have these initiatives successfully reached the masses but also created ripples of conversations amongst the consumer network. Here are a few interesting examples:
Three years from the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, a group of local Mumbaikars took up the initiative of spreading the message of peace and celebrate the ‘never stop’ attitude of Mumbaikars through a Flash mob at CST Station. The Public announcement system at SCT station was innovatively used to gather public attention and instantly involve them in the act. Within no time hundreds joined the movement, some by tapping their feet, some grooving with the crowd and some by clapping and cheering. The initiative not only helped in spreading the message effectively but also created millions of conversations online as well as offline.
The Public announcement systems at the MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) bus stands in Maharashtra have been recently used by brands to reach the biggest consumer market of India i.e. the rural and semi-urban consumers. Last year, SBI bank ran a 20 day advertising campaign for loans using the PA system at MSRTC bus stands in Maharashtra. While the 20 day campaign generated Rs 550 crore worth of enquiries, the communication also gave examples of a sarpanch (headman) of a village talking about availing loans and repaying on time. That way SBI was able to touch upon NPAs (non-performing assets) arising out of non-payments.
The MSRTC bus announcement system is also being used by the agriculture department of Maharashtra to broadcast vital information about crop management and farming to farmers who comprise a large chunk of the MSRTC commuters.
Another exemplary campaign thought of using the Public Address Systems is the Bingo ad campaign executed at various Indian railway stations across India. The campaign aimed at informing the masses about the 25% extra chips given in every Rs. 5 pack of Bingo. Unlike competition, Bingo went with the non- traditional way of informing its consumers. While the public was waiting at the railway station, Bingo used the public address system to announce its message in the same tone & manner as the railways do. Several unsuspecting commuters thought it was a regular announcement until the Bingo! Trademark tone was heard at the end of the announcement. Besides many hearty laughs, Bingo also generated a 32% increase in volume sales. Amusingly, the people neither missed their message nor their train!
This new medium has proven to be very effective in creating an impact on the consumers. Big brands like SBI and Bingo have believed in this medium due to its certain characteristic features like:
High spread: Being public junctions, advertisers can reach out to a large chunk of masses at a time
High impact: Since the public address systems are meant to relay vital information like bus/ train announcements, people are always hooked on to the announcements, thus ensuring high rate of audience attention.
Flexibility: Advertisers have the flexibility to change the advertisements as per the location, seasons and festivals.
Low cost: As compared to other traditional forms of advertising, this medium offers a relatively lower cost.
On the whole, an advertiser can effectively reach a large population of consumers in a comparatively lesser budget. And due to these attributes of the Public Address system, we see this as an emerging medium of communication in India.