Nail-biting for politicians, but win-win 2014 for ad agencies

Feb 11 2014, 01:03 IST
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The BJP is still scouting for advertising agencies for its poll campaign. Reuters The BJP is still scouting for advertising agencies for its poll campaign. Reuters
SummaryBharatiya Janata Party is still scouting for advertising agencies for its 2014 poll campaign.

A year in which Lok Sabha elections are held means big business for a lot of sectors. But the juiciest contracts, running into hundreds of crores, go to advertising and public relations agencies. And, just as politicians brace themselves to appease voters, the honchos at ad agencies strategise on how to pitch for that lucrative deal as polls near.

How big is this election from the ad industry perspective can be gauged by a simple set of figures. If the 2009 elections saw a total spend of Rs 500 crore, the 2014 polls will see at least around Rs 2,000 crore being spent on ad campaigns.

The Congress alone plans to spend around Rs 500 crore for its poll campaign. The party has allocated Rs 400 crore for its mass media ads, which include, television, print, radio, outdoor and digital and around Rs 100 crore for on-ground activities. Agencies that have bagged the Congress contract are JWT India, Dentsu India and Taproot. A high-voltage television and radio campaign highlighting the government’s initiatives and achievements has already been kicked off.

The BJP is still scouting for advertising agencies for its poll campaign, while the cynosure of all eyes, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is understood to be planning social media campaigns and on-ground campaigns through its in-house teams and volunteers. It has already created Facebook pages for different districts in India.

‘’The campaigns for each district will revolve around the issues faced by people in different districts,” said a party spokesperson.

Another big thing this election year is the use of digital media, which includes social media, mobile and internet ads. As Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and national creative director at Ogilvy India,says, “Social media is today’s media. I think all parties will focus on this medium to woo voters across the country.” Incidentally, multinational ad agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather do not pitch for political ad accounts as a policy.

Like Pandey, R Balakrishnan, chairman & chief creative officer of Lowe Lintas & Partners, strongly believes that digital media will play a huge role in poll ad campaigns this year. ‘’Primarily, political parties will opt for mobile advertising to connect with a diverse target audience. Compared to poll advertising in the 2009 elections, there will be a huge difference this year as parties will bet big on digital media,” he feels.

Sharing similar sentiments, Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman of McCann Worldgroup India, says

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