“Political OOH spends dwarf large corporate campaigns”

Lot of the monies being spent doesn’t translate into effective OOH campaign; herein lies a huge business opportunity, say experts

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Updated: Dec 10, 2012 7:34 PM
“Political OOH spends dwarf large corporate campaigns”

Outdoor landscape in India often witnesses sites of political promotions which revolve around birthday wishes, welcome notes for national leaders, festival greetings and of course displays during elections. It’s a general belief that all such hoardings – around areas such as railway station, markets and bus stands – are force fitted. But that’s not always the case.

Political outdoor initiatives do look out for agencies; they do follow a systematic approach for its execution. For instance, Outdoor Advertising Professionals (OAP) worked on the outdoor media planning with another agency for one of the leading national parties in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Abhijeet Sengupta, Chief Executive Officer, OAP pointed out an interesting fact, “You will be surprised by the amount being spent on each of the campaigns. At least on the outdoor front, it will dwarf many large corporate campaigns. But unfortunately lot of the monies being spent doesn’t translate into effective outdoor campaign and there are various reasons to that which I do not intend getting into.”

If political advertisements used in USA have to be compared with the ones of India – they are poles apart. Americans are used to metaphors and various figures of speech. They expect campaigns to challenge their intellect. Most of the American political campaigns are attack advertisements. That’s why they are humorous and often below the belt. The biggest difference is that such American campaigns are not regulated by any regulatory body, nor do they have any rules and guidelines like in India.

Problem areas
Creatives of political advertising in India have often been subjected to mockery. The design and graphics element of their artwork needs to be improvised. They should also focus on quality of pictures, colour scheme and text size.

Commenting on this, Atul Shrivastava, Chief Operating Officer, Laqshya Media elaborated, “Good political advertising is possible, only if it is planned in a consistent manner. Content and creativity can be unlimited if there is a plan to promote a political party and its agenda. Unfortunately, it is thought of and actioned when elections are announced. In the situation, only possible creative is to show the photo of the party’s candidate with local appeal. We may call it shabby, but it is not by default; it is by design.”

“If one party’s advertisement is displayed under the corporation controlled by some other party, the concessionaire gets soft notice to remove. If one doesn’t react, action could be very damaging to one’s business interest. The leaders are not very committed on payment schedule. The choice of locations is so remote and interior that at times we don’t get any legal media unit there,” added Shrivastava.

Rising demand
From local election to national level poll, political parties and their leaders are increasingly using the outdoor media. This is mainly because it turns out to be a cost-effective medium of spreading awareness.

Sanjeev Gupta, Managing Director, Global Advertisers said, “We have witnessed increasing demand of hoardings in last few years from national and local political parties and their leaders. However, these are small duration campaigns. Now political parties and leaders are exploring new ways of connecting with their followers and becoming more professional in reaching out to their voters.”

There lies a huge business opportunity in political advertising for OOH players. It is a sector that needs to be unlocked with simplicity and smart planning. 

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