The meme of Shah Rukh Khan-starrer crime thriller Baazigar, which has been tweeted from the official Twitter handle of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has caught the attention of netizens and rival parties. The meme, which went viral, is a part of the ‘Acche beetey paanch saal, lage raho Kejriwal’ electoral campaign of the ruling party in Delhi, which comprises ads, poll anthem, memes and videos.

The party is keeping humour and political satire as its central theme and is indulging in social media banter with the Opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through funny old ads and Bollywood film memes.

“We are shunning negativity and staying away from personal attacks which often happen in politics. Our social media strategy is the opposite of that. We will only talk about our work and use humour and satire because that is the only way to reach young voters," said Jasmine Shah, part of AAP’s Delhi electoral campaign team.

Instead of taking pot shots at the likely BJP chief ministerial candidate Manoj Tiwari, the party has been leveraging humour using his popular Bhojpuri song videos and juxtaposing them with AAP’s electoral anthem composed by musician Vishal Dadlani. The campaign team of the party is also actively promoting shareable content on social media platforms such as ShareChat, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

“Every day there will be a new piece of promotion in form of a video, meme or image. We will use all pop-culture references which people can relate to which includes television shows, films, sports and images," Shah said.

The Congress has responded to one of AAP’s videos with a funny old television ad from brand Dulux. The BJP’s social media handle created a video ‘Paap Ki Adalat’ (spoof on popular news television show ‘Aap ki Adalat’) where a Kejriwal lookalike is being interviewed.

AAP has also released a ‘Super Kejriwal’ video in which chief minister Arvind Kejriwal can be seen playing the role of the protagonist in the video game Mario, which recounts the achievements of the government in the last five years.

Advertising experts believe spoof war and game of upmanship is common in political advertising but it should not be distasteful as it can backfire.

Soumitra Karnik, chief creative officer at Dentsu Impact believes that the AAP content is hilarious and maybe much needed in the times we are living in. “Everything and everyone is so tense. It also positions the two parties (AAP and Congress) as someone who can take a joke. However, the parties must be watchful that in this game of upmanship, it shouldn't get distasteful, which it very well could considering its politics we are talking about," he said.

From the strategy perspective, humour will help these parties drive recall, engagement and increase social media following, said Prashant Puri, co-founder and chief executive of digital marketing agency AdLift. “The party, which manages to churn out more innovative, creative and out-of-the-box content will win the electoral battle on social media," he said.

In terms of media platforms, Twitter will remain the top go-to-platform for campaigns while for the younger voter base (under 25 years) TikTok and Instagram will be important. Facebook will be leveraged to engage with voters above 25 years of age. “I expect these parties to actively engage on these platforms," Puri said.

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