UP, MP and Maharashtra lead top 5 ad spending states

There has been a significant increase in the ad expenditure by state governments over the years. In some cases, it has been surprisingly unprecedented. Here is a peek into the top 5 ad spending states of India.

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: Jul 26, 2017 7:54 AM

In the backdrop of the recent assembly polls and a slew of new campaigns launched by various state governments, the ad spends by state governments have shot up significantly over the years. 


According to a recent study by GroupM, government spending on advertising is likely to grow over 10 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to promote government schemes and election campaigns.


If we look at the ad spends in 2016-17, the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), which is the nodal agency of the central government for advertising on behalf of various ministries, departments, public sector firms and autonomous organisations, spent Rs 1,285.77 crore on advertising and publicity in the year ended 31 March, which is 8.2 per cent higher than the previous year.


Taking into account the state-wise ad spends, there has been a major increase in the ad expenditures over the years—and in some cases—an unprecedented increase. 


Here is a look at some of the top ad spending states in the last three years:


Uttar Pradesh 

One of the major factors that led to the surge in ad spends in Uttar Pradesh were the recently concluded assembly elections in which BJP emerged victorious. The UP polls saw a total of over Rs 5,500 crore spent on campaigns by various parties, including around Rs 1,000 crore towards wooing voters.


Madhya Pradesh 

According to recent reports, the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government spent Rs 800 crore on advertisements in the last three years. This came to light after a query was filed by a rival politician. In response to the query, the state government informed that it spent the amount on various advertisements in the last three years.



According to industry experts and brand consultants, Maharashtra had a cumulative ad spend in the range of Rs 700-800 crore during the assembly elections in the state. The government spent Rs 8 crore on advertising projects launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi alone, which include the inauguration of infrastructure projects including lines of Metro Rail, Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, railway projects and the Shivaji Memorial in December last year.



The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi spent Rs 526 crore on advertising its achievements in 2015. As per reports, the allocation for publicity in 2014-15 was Rs 23.7 crore, Rs 25 crore in 2013-14, Rs 24.9 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 27.6 crore in 2011-12. The government expects to spend Rs 198 crore on publicity in 2017-18.



The Rajasthan government has set aside a corpus in excess of Rs 100 crore for the promotion of its tourism sector. Over the next few years, the government plans to spend this money on various campaigns aimed at rebranding Rajasthan Tourism. To make that happen, the state government has roped in the creative agency, Ogilvy & Mather.


Speaking about the huge ad spends by state governments, Tarun Katial, CEO, BIG FM said, “The past few years have witnessed the launch of new legislations, schemes and reforms aimed at consumer welfare. The government has released advertisements for these initiatives across media platforms as a viable way to reach out and deliver the idea behind it effectively. The broadcast industry makes for one of the most effective mediums to reach out to a large number of citizens across regions and demographics and the ad spends across these mediums clearly justify the outcome given its scale. We welcome this active participation by the government to go all out across media spaces with an effort to connect with the masses.”


“Advertising as a concept has always been popularly known as an exercise adopted by brands and corporates to connect with their stakeholders. It’s interesting to witness this new trend, where the government too is connecting with its target audience with strategically focused content and advertisements. The Indian government at the state and the national level is making optimum use of the available platforms, be it traditional or social media to discuss matters of importance – this is certainly a noteworthy trend,” added Sohrab Sitaram, CEO and Director, Keventers.

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