BJP goes local in its outdoor strategy

Will the BJP's mantra of going local help the party regain lost time and steer it ahead of the Congress? exchange4media finds out from agencies working on BJP's outdoor campaign

e4m by Priyanka Mehra
Updated: Apr 11, 2014 9:04 AM
BJP goes local in its outdoor strategy

With the elections in full swing, political parties are leaving no stone unturned in their campaigning and making their presence felt, tapping every media opportunity possible for visibility.

The Congress party had launched its electoral campaign first and went into a marketing overdrive, with a seemingly earnest Rahul Gandhi saying “Main Nahin hum” on hoardings at vantage points, covering key roads and strategic locations, with an outdoor budget estimated to be around Rs 100 crore to supplement the TV and print ads.

Outdoor plays in pivotal role as a visibility media and assumes enhanced importance during elections as there is a ban posters in a number of cities and outdoor remains the only viable option available for propaganda.

BJP, which appointed Madison Media as its media agency in February, has appointed MOMS, Apex, DDB MudraMax, Laqshya - Mumbai and few US agencies to work on its campaign, as opposed to the Congress who chose to stick with Posterscope from the Aegis Group.

Constituency Mapping
Whilst Congress had a clear first mover advantage, it also received a lot of flak for its campaign, especially on social media, when it launched. However, the Congress stuck to their guns and their theme, their campaign creatives were changed on a monthly basis, given the time advantage. How does the BJP make up for lost time, especially where out of sight for long cannot deem well from any perspective and each eyeball counts more than ever? The BJP approach has been to map the constituencies that they have won and lost in the last elections, then plan their outdoor sites in the manner of importance and weightage following the mantra of ‘local is the new national’ speaking to their audience and the hinterland of India where each vote truly counts.

“The localisation of the campaign is something which really stands out. The planning phase went into mapping constituencies, and weights being aligned according to the 2009 results is something which really amazes me. In the true sense, BJP used the power of outdoor in a national campaign, they used it as a local medium,” said Mandeep Malhotra, President and Head, DDB MudraMax. The agency is handling outdoor duties for West Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andaman, Gujarat and the North East for the BJP campaign.

Mumbai Approach – Maximum Reach at Minimum Cost
“The brief for the BJP campaign in Mumbai was simple because the idea was to get a maximum reach at a minimal cost. We have offered the party an excellent mix of sites on main arterial roads across the city as well as the more interior parts of the city. The creatives have been customised and make use of one-liners in local languages like Marathi and Hindi that are impactful and resonate with the public. The campaign has also been an innovative one, using LED lights and lit cut-outs,” shared Rajesh Mendiratta, Associate Vice-President, Government Business at Laqshya Media Group. The agency is handling the outdoor business of the Mumbai circle for the campaign.

Urging the Masses to Vote
The brief to MOMS, the OOH agency of Madison Media, that was awarded all the other media duties as well for the BJP campaign, was to reach out to all 18+ audiences and urge all Indians to vote for BJP. MOMS is handling Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, J&K, Goa, Rest of Maharashtra, and Karnataka. “Keeping in mind the spread of the constituencies, the campaign width and depth was strategised. Local nuances were kept in mind, while crafting the media plan. To convey the messaging impact fully, a rich media mix of large, small and transit formats was used,” shared Dipankar Sanyal, COO, MOMS.

Some of the key challenges faced by the agency while executing the campaign included inclement weather (unseasonal rain/ snowfall) in a few states, code of conduct restrictions and other logistical barriers. “BJP being the Opposition party, getting administrative permissions to execute the campaign in most of the states was quite arduous,” Sanyal added.

Whilst the Congress stuck to its guns and the theme of its campaign despite criticism from all quarters, there is no denying that BJP has had less time and consequently less eyeballs and visibility on the outdoor medium due to its late start. The role of political campaigns in influencing the fate of a political party cannot be undermined. Will BJP’s mantra of going local help it make up for the lost time and steer it ahead of the Congress? Time will tell...

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