The verdict will be out on May 16, when weeks of hectic campaigning and country-wide trudging by political leaders of all hues will bear fruit. As the nation awaits the results of the five-phased Lok Sabha elections, IMRB undertook a study to test the political ads released by the two major parties – Congress and BJP.
IMRB used its Spotlight technique for this study. It is for the first time that a technique used for testing ads consumer products has been used to test political ads. The survey was conducted on a specific target group of youngsters in the 18-29 age-group, living in the four major metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. The four ads selected for the study were BJP’s ‘Bhay Ho’ and ‘Dishayein’ campaigns, and Congress’s ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘Kadam’ campaigns.
Averaged across the two ads of each party, the Congress ads were liked more by 74 per cent of the target group, while the BJP ads were liked better by 54 per cent. Of all the four ads, Congress’ ‘Jai Ho’ was liked best by 76 per cent of the TG, while BJP’s take on Congress’ ‘Jai Ho’, called ‘Bhay Ho’, simply did not work.
The Congress ads were more effective in evoking positive emotions, while BJP’s ads ended up evoking negative emotions. Unlike consumer product advertising, political ads do offer the scope for negative emotions other than positive emotions or complete indifference. For BJP’s ads, the case of boredom and depression caused negative effect.
According to the story, the Congress ads were more persuasive than BJP’s ads, especially among women, lower income groups and among those who are not committed followers to the two parties.
Negative campaigning in political advertising is better suited to street corner campaigning or political rallies rather than television ads. Overall, the Congress ads appear to have done better.
How effective the ads have been in swaying the voters will be revealed in about 24 hours from now.