Despite the political loss suffered by the NDA and the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), the India Shining campaign, on which they tried to ride the high ground, is now legend.
Even as BJP takes stock of what went wrong, statistics and media analysis show that the outgoing government’s catch-all campaign did have its media impact. Consider this: in the last one month, 1,310 newspapers and news services across the world mentioned the phrase in their articles about India going to the polls. The phrase was thrown up an astounding 37,000 times on various internet sites around the world.
An analysis of the India Shining campaign from the internet reveals that between 18 April and 18 May, the phrase showed up 540 times in the Indian press, 315 times in the US press, 106 times in the UK, 32 times in Australia, 55 times in Canada and 33 times in Singapore. In China, India Shining showed up only once.
51 newspapers around the world used India
Shining in headlines to articles, editorials and columns. An editorial in The Japan Times, for example, ran ‘India Shining’ loses its lustre. Another in The Seattle Times was titled India Shining on a New Leader.
Not surprisingly then, Grey Worldwide, the advertising firm that created the India Shining campaign is appropriately glum. The agency’s national creative director Prathap Suthan said he didn’t want to talk about the issue. “You could guess the depth of my low,” he told FE, though when asked if it was a source of satisfaction that it had been so unanimously used all over the world, he said, “Absolutely!”.
But the fact remains that the campaign cut little ice with voters. Not most of them anyway.
To be fair, that may have been only one of the many reasons the NDA lost this election — surely there was a chunk of the electorate that interpreted the phrase as open audacity, a move against the celebration of a notion experienced only by the country’s rich.
But the significance of India Shining lies in how it has pervaded the popular culture of these elections.