The second edition of exchange4media's Dainik Bhaskar INK Awards which celebrate the best work in print advertising was held in Mumbai yesterday. The chief guest for the evening was one of the ruling party's most prominent leaders; Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP VP and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Minority Affairs.
Speaking to the assembled audience, Naqvi explained that he has had some experience with advertising, having handled BJP's election advertising campaigns for the 2004, 2009 and 2014 parliamentary elections. "We lost 2 and won 1, but each of these has enabled us to learn something," he said.
He highlighted, from his own example, the importance that advertising has in our society. "Advertising, especially on print, has a lot of impact, especially in rural areas. We might think that the most prominent effect is felt in urban areas but this is not so. When we want to send out our communication to some remote village, we cannot use the same approach that is used in cities like Mumbai and Delhi. It will not have the same impact," added Naqvi.
Speaking about what he expects from advertisements, Naqvi said that people should not feel that it is only a commercial message but it should come across something heartfelt. He also pointed out that a lot of government initiatives, like 'Make In India' have benefitted from good ads.
Adding on the 'Make In India' initiative, Naqvi explained, "A lot of people ask why PM Modi travels out so much. But you must have noticed when talking to people from other countries that the perception of India is become more positive and this is not even about investments coming in. When investments do come in, when the market expands; it will benefit everyone, no matter from which sector."
He also spoke highly about the creative talent in the country and said that the kind of talent seen in India is not found in other countries. Giving an anecdote of the 2009 elections, he said that the party received a lot of marketing pitches and presentations from agencies from countries like the US, UK, etc. but even though the agencies were from outside, the people in their teams were Indians.
"This (Media) is a very influential field and teamwork really helps. Today, electronic and print media are highly influential. Social media has become a huge influencer, especially with the youth and has a big impact on our society," he said.
However, he also cautioned that sometimes, in the need to come out with "Breaking News" quickly, the media ends up making factual errors and creating more confusion. "It is okay to be competitive but there should be responsibility and one should not get carried away. You cannot have gag orders. We saw during the Emergency too that it does not work. It is something that the media has to regulate and look into themselves," said the minister who had been jailed for activism during the Emergency.
Continuing to talk about the BJP government's year in power, he said that there was a lot of negativity in the country when the government started its term and, says he, that the most important thing achieved by the government has been that there is now a sense of positivity in the country.
"It is true that it is taking time to completely change the system but a lot of things have already been done," he said.
He also promised the media and advertising community that the government would provide all the support needed.
"We are moving towards a big change and you will see this change on ground too but we need your support. We need to get social messages that make people proud of the country's achievements and this is apart from the usual ads," he said. He gave the example of the popular song "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara". "Even if you hear it now, a person gets submerged in a feeling of nationalism. We need more things like this and we must ensure that it is not boring," he added.