The Delhi state elections were eagerly awaited and seen as a battle between an Arvind Kejariwal-led AAP, which would be looking to reclaim power in the capital after a short and ineffectual reign the first time around and BJP, which is riding high on the Modi wave.
In preparation to the elections, we saw all three major parties like BJP, AAP and Congress turn to local media like OOH, print and radio for carrying out their campaigns. In fact, radio and OOH were among the top two media; something that was also seen in the Maharashtra state elections last year.
Atul Srivastava, COO of Laqshya Media, estimates that around 7-8 crores must have been spent on OOH advertising this time around. To get an idea, during the Lok Sabha elections, outdoor experts had hazarded that around Rs 4 crore must have been spent on OOH advertising by each of the parties in Delhi alone with Congress being estimated to have spent over Rs 100 crore according to some estimates spent on OOH overall and the BJP not far behind.
“Competing political parties have heavily invested a lot in OOH as a broadcast medium. Expenditure might not have been more but as mentioned above, earlier only large formats were being used in less numbers but this time with the same budget political campaigns have reached each corner of the city through small formats which has worked better than large formats. Extensive political campaigns have certainly led to inventory crunch in certain area or networks," said Pramod Bhandula, Executive Chairman of JCDecaux Advertising India.
One of the reasons why OOH has emerged as a darling is because it allows for location-based targeting, opines Hiyav Bajaj, MD of TDI International. When asked about the how have campaigns changed this time around Bajaj said, "The content, for the Delhi election campaigns, has been much more personalized and dual in nature. The messages strike mostly as debates between Mr. Modi and Mr. Arvind Kejriwal. While the OOH displays still had space to render the previous achievements and future agendas, media like the radio was used purely for arguments and counter arguments."
"State election has no other powerful mass media than OOH. The role of outdoor as an influencing and efficient media remains the same. It is a mass medium and hence the ideal format for a political party to reach out to its target audience which is the citizens from all sects of the society," suggested Bhandula.
Srivastava opined that BJP and AAP seemed to have increased their budgets this year, while Congress' OOH budget this time around seemed to have been cut down. In fact, Bhandula opines that AAP might probably was the first party to realise the power of OOH. Even during the earlier Delhi elections, AAP was well-known for running extensive outdoor campaigns throughout Delhi and highlighting its different candidates and the issues it sought to address.
All eyes are now on the results that will be declared on 10th Feb, 2015.