It would be wonderful if a great idea wins an election
Swapan Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell
It is my firm belief that political advertising in this country has historically been of a very low calibre. Barring, of course, the scorpions bit that Rediffusion did for the Congress some decades ago. I was at a dinner the other day with a distinguished journalist, who has a leaning towards a political party, and he quite candidly told me that we “advertising people don’t get it when it comes to political advertising. You just don’t have the pulse of the people”.
I was stunned to see the BJP campaign (and if the journalist in question has anything to do with it, I doff my hat to him and the judgement of the ladies and gentlemen who bought this campaign.) Perhaps for the first time in my life have I seen a political campaign that is devastatingly great? ‘Mehngi Paregi Congress’ has the insight and incisiveness that even dwarfs ‘Labour Isn’t Working’.
Consider the logic.
As a pun, the Tory campaign nudged at unemployment largely. ‘Is not working’ was a motherhood statement.
‘Mehngi Paregi Congress’, on the other hand, is not a Delhi elections campaign alone. It would be darn stupid if it weren’t carried on for the national elections, simply because it is a multi-pronged attack on the costly mistakes made by the current Government at the Centre. It tackles inflation, the meltdown, the nuclear deal, violence, lawlessness – the works. And therein lies its shuddering power.
Consider, on the other hand, the Congress’ feeble, non-thought-through response (thank God, they have hired a second agency) – ‘Can’t Stop Progress. Vote Congress’, a pathetic little ditty put together by some intellectually innocent writer.
What progress? The Nuke deal?
These past four years have been the Congress’ worst hours. We’ve had an incredibly talented Finance Minister who has been fumbling. We have a Home Minister clearly out of depth and a Prime Minister who must be rueing the day he decided to accept the Office.
The Congress’ campaign has started off on a terrible note. Putting it on track would be any communication strategist’s nightmare.
Now what would I do if I were the BJP?
I would do 360 degrees in the classic sense and blow this campaign out of orbit. I would sticker onions and vegetables with ‘Mehngi Paregi Congress’. I would be at ‘atta chakkis’ with the messaging.
I would put up posters at petrol stations, kirana shops, and stock exchanges.
Online I would be on travel portals.
I would create large-size empty begging bowls in malls, multiplexes with the messaging.
This seems to be a campaign that could go really, really far since it so wonderfully captures the reality of the moment.
Great campaigns are one that embalm the mood.
I have voted for the Congress all my life.
This one time, communication and a great idea will move me to the other side.
Take a bow, BJP.
And thank you for buying great work.
It would be wonderful if a great idea wins an election.
(Swapan Seth is CEO of Equus Red Cell. The views expressed are his personal ones)