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Effectiveness of Delhi Metro
Advertising amongst Travelers

Paridhi Agarwal* Preeti Suryawanshi**

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hubs are emerging as a target for India’s marketers who have rapidly taken to
ambient media in their search for new and effective ways to reach consumers. As
leading cities develop modern mass transit facilities, operators are looking
beyond ticket revenue, with advertising and station naming rights expected to
account for an increasing proportion of their income. Also, in order to reach travelers
effectively and to stimulate their consumption, advertisers have to understand
the needs and media behavior of these visitors.

this respect the researchers viewed it is important to understand effectiveness
of advertising on Delhi Metro with respect to reach and Brand recall. This
paper aims to measure: 1. awareness and liking of metro advertisements among
travelers 2.perceptions of outdoor advertisements among travelers. To achieve
the research objectives eight outdoor ads were selected for the study. These
ads were displayed at the busy “Rajiv Chowk” metro station for a week prior to the survey. The
ads had a variety of executional cues, such as the imagery, language, color,
font and celebrities. A survey was conducted to measure the response of
travelers and the responses were measured using the Message response
involvement theory.

outdoor advertising, Delhi Metro, Message response involvement theory, Reach,
Brand Recall


‘Hundreds of thousands of people
take what they call joy rides, short trips to savor the ef?ciency, modernity
and sense of progress the metro system seems to generate’.Quoting an article in the New York
Times (Rohde, 2003: A4)

Metro is the lifeline of the NCR and connects Delhi, Gurugram, Noida and
Ghaziabad through its widespread rail network. Beyond the movement of people,
the metro has been of?cially sanctioned as a vehicle for inculcating a culture
of discipline, order, routine and cleanliness in Delhi. These ideals are in
sharp contrast to the congested, unpredictable, chaotic pace of life in Delhi

Metro advertising is a fantastic medium for local advertisers as it allows them
to reach out to the local community in a highly targeted and cost effective
way. Brand building requires broad reach and involvement: Offering scale with
lower entry cost and greater regional flexibility is a huge selling point for
Delhi Metro, and one that isn’t really exploited by many advertisers. Delhi
Metro advertisement rates is often a deciding factor when incorporating
different avenues of advertising into one’s marketing plan. Delhi Metro advertising
is one of the cost efficient advertising spaces one can use if the number of
people reached is considered with respect to the price paid. Thus advertising
inside and outside Metro Train will reach large number of audience.

marketer or advertising professional tends to get carried away several times in
assuming facts about the consumers – their mindset, their habits and most
importantly their willingness to accept what they dish out to them.  If one talks to the ordinary individual on
the street who may be a part of the target group of a large range of brands,
one will have a rude awakening to discover that he or she can barely name two
or three ways in which a company can advertise, specific examples being a
rarity. Moreover, these answers are limited to hoardings, posters and metro
stations at large. However, target consumers of specific brands, when probed
for further information; appear to be able to recall outdoor advertisements in
great detail. This presents a dilemma. One cannot simply assume that if an
advertiser puts out a so-called innovative campaign, it will be seen and
appreciated by all. Some case studies suggest, only after careful targeting and
focused media usage can one reach out to the right people and convince them to
purchase a product or service. 

 Another point of debate is the consumers’
changing mindset at various touch points outside the home. What the consumer
may be thinking and feeling at a metro station or a bus stop is completely
different to what he or she is thinking and feeling inside an elevator at the
mall or while waiting for a flight at the airport. Creativity therefore becomes
subjective. While the idea may be extremely imaginative and interesting at a
particular location, it may fall flat when used on another vehicle as the
consumer may not absorb the message. It therefore becomes essential to develop
a strategy of contextual creativity while making outdoor advertisements. 

study will help to assess the reach of metro advertising and the recall value
using the ‘Message response involvement theory’ and thereby a conclusion on the
effectiveness of Delhi Metro advertising can be drawn.

Literature review

Consumers’ Attitude towards

is a non-personal communication in the structure of information, usually paid
for and generally persuasive in nature about products, services or ideas by
acknowledged sponsors through an assortment of media (Bovee ; Arens,
1992). In general, advertising is used to inform, persuade, and remind
consumers. Advertising is believed to enhance buyers’ responses to products or
services offered by a firm, thus enabling possibilities of increased
profitability. Advertising is a growing business and with advances in the
Internet technology, the dynamics and landscape of the business has changed as
well. Prior findings on consumers’ attitude towards advertising are mixed.
Hence, the purpose of advertising is to create awareness of the advertised
product and provide information that will assist the consumer to make informed-purchase
decision. The importance of advertising as a promotional strategy, therefore,
depends on its capability to influence consumers to not only purchase but to
continue to repurchase and eventually develop-brand loyalty.


the 1970s and 1980s many studies on advertising effectiveness concluded the
impact of agenda setting, uses and gratification, cultivation effects,
knowledge gap effects and media priming on the effectiveness of advertising on
consumers. According to this research, media use has a set of important and
influential effects on audiences. William McGuire, one of the world’s leading
social psychologists, concluded as late as 1986 that there is little evidence
of mass-media persuasion having any effect on receiver attitudes, beliefs or
actions (McGuire 1986; Shrum 2002). The crucial point made by McGuire was that
the media may influence the way society works, how we interact and where we get
our information to perform our daily duties, but there is little evidence that
mass-media messages can persuade people to hold a specific belief or attitude,
or perform a concrete behavior in a specified setting over an ascertained
period of time.

a recent study, the buying of a service (use of the weight room in a training
facility) increased to almost five times the initial use after an outdoor
advertising campaign (Bhargava and Donthu 1999). In another study, exposure to
printed store sale flyers led to a doubling of the number of advertised
products bought, and more than a doubling of the amount spent on items in ads
(Burton, Lichtenstein et al. 1999). Products with a larger share of sales used
for advertising have been found to have a larger share of market and a higher
return on investment.

Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

the high cost of producing a commercial and media budgets of Rs
100million–there is a natural desire, on the part of advertisers, to make sure
that the advertising they are running is effective.

Wanamaker’s famous quote, “I know that half of my advertising money is
wasted… I just don’t know which half,” practically begs for a method to
identify effective ad campaigns, commercials, or print ads.

companies, recognizing this need, have developed a myriad of testing
approaches. They use conceptual models of how advertising works, various
methods of gathering the data, different response measures, and different
analytic approaches.

safe to say that there is no general consensus, on the part of advertisers or
advertising researchers, as to the best way to test advertising.

Outdoor Advertising recall and

fundamental value of outdoor advertising lies in the exposure it generates. The
traditional measures of recall grossly understates the effectiveness of outdoor
advertising. Also, in addition to the reach that is possible through outdoor
advertising, one of the fundamental strength of this media is high frequency.
Outdoor advertising is typically viewed in a less cluttered environment than
most other media. As a result, an individual outdoor ad is more likely to be
seen by the viewer than is the case in many other media. 



One of the most common ways to grab the consumer’s attention is through
outdoor advertising. Outdoor is a staple of the media mix, as it reaches
hundreds of thousands of people, by foot, mass transit, or car, and is usually
very quick and impactful.

most common forms of outdoor advertising include:

advertising: When it
comes to OOH advertising, this marketplace is dominated by billboards.
These adverts, which come in various sizes and can be deployed at
strategically targeted outdoor locations, strive to target customers on
the move and engage in them in an entirely non-intrusive manner.
Point of sale
displays: POS displays use emotional triggers to drive impulse
purchases. It is also based on the accepted principle that a
staggering 75% of our buying decisions are made in-store, which in
turn suggests that customers are especially susceptible to emotive,
in-store promotions.
Street furniture
(bus shelters, kiosks, telephone booths etc.): Street
Furniture enables advertising?that connects with consumers on an intimate,
face-to-face level. Options such as bench advertising and bus shelter
advertisi?ng ?provide impact to a mass vehicular and pedestrian audience.
Whether providing broad-based coverage in many markets or targeted to a
single neighborhood, Street Furniture advertising is as perfect for high-end
fashion and entertainment as it is for packaged goods.
advertising and wraps (taxis, buses, subways, trains etc.): This niche is
dominated by adverts that are placed inside or on modes of public
transportation, including buses, trains, trams and non-private hire taxis.
It’s also possible to placed adverts on subway cars, in order to target
customers on the move and engage them at a time when they’re actively
seeking advertising content.
advertising (aka ambient media): The main point of guerrilla
marketing is that the activities are done exclusively on the streets or
other public places, such as shopping centers, parks or beaches with
maximum people access so as to attract a bigger audience. This style of
marketing is extremely effective for small businesses to advertise their
product or service, especially if they are competing against bigger
companies as it is inexpensive and focuses more on reach rather than





Conclusion Drawn from Literature

On the basis of the data
gathered from the conclusion of above research papers it can concluded that:

Firstly, the
out-of-home medium has become a very strong brand-building medium and not just
a reminder medium for a variety of brands across product categories. 

Secondly, it has
emerged from the selected case studies that innovative advertising in the
outdoor space has led to successful and measurable results which if assessed in
more detail would prove high efficacy of advertising through use of

Thirdly, while there is
a large potential for the industry in terms of growth and maturity, the retail
and merchandising segment is still not being effectively utilized due to a
multitude of reasons – most important being the lack of a unified body and experts
who can carry it forward. Moreover, with the secrecy surrounding spends by
companies on this segment, transparent policies and activities are yet to

Fourthly, the
technological progressions in the form of LED, lenticulars and high-impact
graphics are now giving marketers the freedom to execute out-of-the box ideas
to attract consumers and deliver high recall. However, the cost-effectiveness
though very high for campaign specific advertising, still remains debatable
when it comes to being used on a large scale.  

 Fifthly, the focus on research-based software
and metrics for efficacy though growing slowly but surely is an important trend
that will help bring more credibility and stability to the out-of-home medium. 

 Finally, with systemic change still a distant
dream and regulatory apathy still a reality, efforts by authorities and
industry professionals on self-regulation seem to be boding good news for the
viability of the medium. 










Message-response involvement is a way
that consumers can get involved with the marketing aspect of a product. This
includes strategies like using prominent and novel stimuli, celebrity endorsements,
providing value, appealing to needs, and allowing consumers to make messages or
advertisements for the product.  Hence, the more marketers engage
consumers into their brands, the easier the marketers will be able to
understand consumer behaviour in terms of how decisions are made and what
product characteristics they are looking for. Subsequently, this creates
a link between the individuals’ needs, goals, and values and product
knowledge (Solomon 2013, p153). Therefore, when consumer are more involved
with the brand marketing communication, the consumers will pay more attention
to the product knowledge as individuals become more motivated to ‘gather,
comprehend, elaborate, and assimilate on information’ (Aghdaie & Honari
 2014, p6).


Levels of Brand Processing

Brand information processing is defined
as the extent to which consumers allocate attention and processing resources to
comprehend and elaborate on brand in- formation in an ad. “Brand
information” is defined as any executional cue designed to communicate the
advertised message. The level of processing from ads is influenced by
consumers’ motivation, ability, and opportunity to process brand information
during or immediately after ad exposure.

Figure 1 indicates that motivation,
ability, and opportunity can be evaluated before ad exposure (pre-exposure MOA
levels) or after ad exposure (post-exposure MOA levels). Pre-exposure MOA
levels are influenced by consumer characteristics or situational
characteristics (see Alwitt and Mitchell 1985). Post-exposure MOA levels are
influenced by those factors and by ad executional cues.


Recall and the Motivation to Process the Message

Motivation has been defined as
goal-directed arousal (Park and Mittal 1985). In the current context, the goal
is restricted to the processing of brand information. Thus, motivation is
defined as consumers’ desire or readiness to process brand information in an
ad. High motivation implies that consumers are willing to allocate processing
resources to brand information in an ad. Recall and motivation is directly
related. If someone is motivated to process the message, there is a high chance
of better recall.

Recall and the Opportunity to Process the Message

is defined here as the extent to which distractions or limited exposure time
affect consumers’ attention to brand information in an ad. High opportunity
implies that the amount of attention allocated to brand information is not
impeded. Thus, if the consumer gets a better opportunity to process the
message, the recall will be high.



Recall and the Ability to Process the Message

Ability refers to consumers’ skills or proficiencies in interpreting brand
information in an ad. The availability and accessibility of brand-relevant
knowledge structures provide the foundation for processing ability. Hence, high
ability implies that prior knowledge necessary to interpret brand information
is present and is accessed. If the consumer is able to process the information
effectively then the message can be recalled in the right manner.

Recall and Affect

A brand’s value is directly connected
to its presence in the memory of consumers. Quite simply, if a customer
remembers a brand, he is likely to buy that brand. If he doesn’t remember it,
he will buy the one he remembers. Thus, for a brand, it is important to set
itself in customer’s memory.


Delhi, the capital city of India runs an extensive metro system. The Delhi
metro sees over 3.3 million passengers travelling in 220 trains per day, Delhi
Metro Station Advertising has therefore emerged as a cost effective advertising
platform for a variety of brand categories. The Delhi Metro is a metro system
serving Delhi and its satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurugram, Noida and
Ghaziabad in National Capital Region in India. It is the world’s 12th largest
metro system in terms of both length and number of stations. Delhi Metro
network consists of five colour-coded regular lines and the faster Airport
Express line, with a total length of 225 kms serving 160 stations.

can be displayed on the Panels inside the Metro Train or outside the Train as a
Wrap. Rotem trains have 2 variants with 4 coaches and 6 coach trains. Branding
options are the same in both. Bombadier Trains have 2 variants with 6 coach and
8 coach Trains.




Facts and Figures

of Delhi Metro Advertising


Total No. Of Train

Entry Per Line

Entry Per Line %

from Line 1 & switching from Other Lines

from Line 1 & switching from Other Lines %

Entry & Exit On Same Line

Entry & Exit On Same Line %



















































Variable Selections


Panels/ Train Wrap


2/ 3


Jan/ 1st Feb/ 20th Mar


Month/ 2 Months/ 3 Months


train branding is available in the following routes:

1 – Red Line – Dilshan Garden to Rithala

2 – Yellow Line – SamayurBadli to Huda City Centre

3 & 4 – Blue Line – Dwarka to Noida/Vaishali

5 – Green Line – Mundka to Inderlok/Kirti Nagar

6 – Violet Line -Kashmiri Gate To Escorts Mujesar,Faridabad


Type of research:

type of research that was used in this study was qualitative research and
quantitative research. Qualitative research aimed at gathering an in-depth
understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior.
Besides this, the research also examined the issue through observations in
numerical representations and through statistical analysis. Along with the
questionnaire that was given out to respondents for the statistical
representation of the findings in the study, interviews with the respondents
was also conducted.



questionnaire was used to survey the travelers of Delhi Metro. The “Rajiv
chowk” station is one of the busiest metro stations in Delhi which was selected
for research. This metro station is one of the major station and an interchange
point which connects hotels and commercial buildings in the area. Advertising
in Rajiv Chowk Station in Delhi Metro allows advertisers to reach out to their
target group within a station. Rajiv Chowk Station Advertising in Delhi Metro
has one of the lowest cost per reach among non-traditional media options. Quota
sampling was used in an attempt to interview equal numbers of males and females
and equal numbers of respondents from the 15–24, 25–34, 35–44 and over-45 age
groups. The interviewer intercepted travelers coming out of metro station and
interviewed them using the questionnaire.

Ad selection:

selected Ads presented different products and brands. These ads were displayed
at the busy “Rajiv Chowk” metro station for a week prior to the survey. The ads
had a variety of executional cues, such as the imagery, language, color, font
and celebrities. For the aided recall the ads were in full color, but on A4
size sheet.

Metro Station selection:

on data collected from a reliable source, 71 metro trains run on the blue line.
Approximately, 1,051,667 passengers board the train regularly i.e., out of
total number of metro travelers about 38% used blue line regularly which is the
highest as compared to other lines. As high as 53% of the total number of
commuters switch at Rajiv Chowk metro station making it one of the busiest and
most used metro stations and hence, the most suitable option for our study.


parts of questionnaire


            Gender, age, education level,
occupation and monthly income were asked

Data about respondent’s opinions and perceptions of outdoor advertising in

relating to the respondent’s opinions and perceptions of outdoor advertising in

likert scale (1=strongly disagree; 6=strong agree)

Data about awareness of and liking for the ads based on the 8 ads.

ads were shown to the respondents and they were asked if they had seen the ads
on Metro Stations. They were also asked to rate how much they liked each ad
using a six-point Likert scale (1=dislike very much; 6=like very much).





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