New Delhi: Ahead of state assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dominated the television space with maximum advertisements in the week ended 3 February 2017, according to data from television viewership measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India.
Between 28 January and 3 February, BJP became the biggest advertiser on television with 11,563 ad insertions ahead of telecom companies like Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone India Ltd and fast moving consumer goods’ brands from Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Procter & Gamble and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. BJP was followed by Petroleum Conservation Research Association which recorded 11,053 ad insertions and Idea 4G which registered 9,144 insertions during the week.
Interestingly, no other political party made it to the list of top ten advertisers on television during the week.
According to a person familiar with the party’s strategy, BJP has spent close to Rs150 crore on advertising for the ongoing state elections with an aggressive campaign across TV, print, radio and outdoor. A majority of the spends are being directed towards Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, said the person, on condition of anonymity.
Besides television, the ruling party is also using movie theaters in these areas for its campaign.
The party, in its advertisements and manifesto has made a pitch for development and meeting people’s aspirations through empowerment. It is promoting its anti-corruption narrative, expansion of social sector schemes as well as education and employment. According to a person who has worked with the BJP’s media research team, issues of good governance and women’s safety are also being highlighted.
“We are taking up issues prevalent in the country and how the party has tried to resolve these. We are trying to communicate our schemes actively through all interactive mediums, be it social media, television, print or electronic media. We are trying to reach as many people as possible,” said Gopal Krishna Agarwal, a BJP spokesperson.
The party also launched a so-called parivartan yatra (walk for change) in Uttar Pradesh for over 100 days to take on the might of ruling Samajawadi Party (SP) and Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the poll-bound state.
Advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather which worked with BJP on its campaigns for the general elections as well as the state elections of Maharashtra and Haryana continues to work for the party. The agency’s executive chairman and creative director (South Asia) Piyush Pandey declined to share details.
Five states including Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh choose their new assemblies across February and March, of which Goa and Punjab have already voted on 4 February. Uttar Pradesh will go through a seven-phase voting between 11 February and 8 March. Manipur will have elections in two phases on 4 and 8 March. A single phase election for Uttarakhand is scheduled for 15 February.
BJP is currently in power in Goa and in an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab; the Congress is in power in Uttarakhand and Manipur; and the Samajwadi Party rules Uttar Pradesh. Assembly polls are also due in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in the second half of the year.
Vidhi Choudhary and Gireesh Chandra Prasad contributed to this story