With assembly elections in Kerala and Tamil Nadu scheduled for next month, political parties across the spectrum are busy chalking out campaign strategies in the run up to these elections. Most of the campaign players are targeting the print media heavily and are in talks with the publishers for front page ads, jacket ads and full page ads etc.
In Kerala, the Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and their alliances United Democratic Front (UDI) and Left Democratic Front (LDF) have already started the campaign battle to get the voters attention. While in Tamil Nadu the fight is mainly between the current Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram of AIADMK and Karunanidhi of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
The trend so far is that the AIADMK is opting for Digital platform to interact with its voter base apart from organising rallies across the state. On the other hand, political parties in Kerala have spilled their campaign trail to the railways and recently CPI and their alliance LDF painted the Mangalore- Nagercoil Express in their communist red colour. The state Congress party and the Bhartiya Janata Party also extended their campaign to the railways by painting trains in their respective party colours and media reports suggest that this railway campaign costs Rs 48,000 for each painted coach.
Speaking to exchange4media, Varghese Chandy, Vice President, Malayala Manorama said, “The campaign for Kerala elections has just begun and all the leading parties are in the process of planning their campaigns. The print campaign in Kerala will be unveiled closer to the election date and every political party has lined up big plans in order to target the voters on a mass scale.”
Apart from poster wars and painted trains, wall graffiti’s are also being used by various political parties to reach out to the voters.
While Jayalalithaa’s party has also released a video highlighting its achievements in ensuring quality school education across the state.
Commenting on the ongoing political campaign, Lakshmipathy Adimoolam, Director, Dinamalar Group said, “As much as they abuse the media when it speaks against them, the political parties have also realized the importance of advertising in the same media as it reaches out to their so-called ‘voter audience’.”
He also pointed out that the ongoing ad war is predominantly between the Dravidian parties while other parties do not have deep pockets to sustain such massive campaigns.
National parties like the BJP and the Congress are in the waiting to break their ad campaigns. The other smaller and disrupting parties are also expected to do their bit very soon.
He concluded by saying, “There is still some time for the election temperature to rise, which is expected to peak towards the end of April and early May. But media is hoping with its fingers crossed, as it is to be a cyclic bonanza for all in the advertisement department. Whatever it is, the elections are headed to a photo finish this May in Tamilnadu.”
When asked about the advertisement market performance in Tamilnadu and which political party is doing maximum advertising, Shankar Subramaniam V, Business Head - The Hindu Tamil & The Hindu Group (South) said, “The ad market in Tamil Nadu is dormant at this point in time. The announcement of the election dates well in advance has slowed down advertising on all fronts. In the local market, Real Estate was the only active category till the announcements were made. Local retailers have resorted to expos to get a better share of mind and wallet of the customers. All political parties have moved on to the social media space in an aggressive manner to catch the new gen voters. Multi-cornered contests among political parties have led to holding back of election-related spends to the last mile.”
The elections will be held on 16th of May in both the states and the results will be out on May 19th. With the initial stage of campaigning, all the parties are finalising their plans with a maximum number of eyeballs to target. All the leading parties will go full steam from the end of this month which will see a handsome rise in the ad market too.