Political Advertising in India 2014 – Worth it?

Did I just hear that this year the estimated spend on political campaigns in India is $5 billion? $5 billion? That’s like 30,000 crores in INR! $5 billion? That’s just $2 billion short of what they spent in last presidential election in US! $5 billion? That’s way beyond the permissible spend-limit on election campaigns in India. And from where did all this money come from? Curious, like really! But let’s leave it at that. There has to be something because of which everybody is discussing the campaign, the new age strategies, the messaging, the spend but not the real source of spend :). Partly we know the reasons of it, don’t we?

Now coming down to the campaign this year – I think it’s been phenomenal, be it the massive scale at which it has been managed or the diversity in messaging and medium that has been tried out. At least there has been an attempt of targeting different types of audience with different communication strategies this year. Hats off to the agencies and associates involved with these campaigns. As a marketer, I think this year’s campaign was noticeable and impactful and BIG!

But as a consumer? Well, I’m sure we have read this hundred times before – “No amount of good advertising can actually save a bad product”! And how relevant this seems for political advertising in India this year? Every time I see the ads like this or this on TV, I cringe. Neither the creative route is wrong, nor it has got to do with my being pro or anti any party. It’s simply the messaging, the commitment or the positioning that these ads are trying to make – those are false, just so blatantly false. And the leaders who are the faces of these ads just do not have any connect with the messages being communicated. The more I see these ads, the more irritated I get. Not to forget the bombardment that happens on radio, hoardings & digital media. Again reminds me of yet another famous saying in marketing world – “Nothing kills a bad product or service faster than good advertising”. These ads at least to me are just reminders of false promises by these political brands.

And then there are videos like these on women safety that has been doing rounds on social media. I’m sure it can’t be the work of formal advertising agency associated with that party but whosoever has done it, it’s such a trash. This is not just one video, I have also seen official videos speaking of women empowerment or safety in India. After all the incidents that has happened in last few years as gang rapes, molestation, rapes of minors, this is such a sensitive subject that perhaps should not have been used in any campaign. It’s not one or other party but we know that this is one issue that many parties have failed to fulfill their promises multiple times and at multiple levels. The consequences of such false commitments are so huge, then why even dare to bring these in your campaigns?

When the core itself is not in place, when there is a lack of trust in the prime product promoted, when the product has failed many times on its own commitments in past, then do you think any advertising can actually save such product? Yes, I know campaigns are required but did it change your perception?

Would love to know your views on Political Advertising in India for Elections this year. Liked it? Believed in it? Worth it?

As for me, how I wish that after every such political commercial on Television, we the viewers would have got to view this “No Ullu Banaoing” campaign by IDEA! Good sequencing, what say readers :)? And on that note, must say that love these IDEA ads and I think these IDEA ads are surely the highlights of Junior Bachchan’s career more than any of his movies.

*And a post on this blog after more than one and half years. Must thank political campaigns that finally compelled me to write here after this long gap 🙂


One thought on “Political Advertising in India 2014 – Worth it?

  1. I totally agree… for all the noise the politicians try to create, they are not cognizant of how the end result looks…. Off all the election related ads, only the Idea ad seems to be pertinent…

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