Eighteen agencies have been shortlisted in the tender to promote 14 major schemes by the BJP government till March 2019, when the model code of conduct kicks in.
The Modi government is set to unleash an advertising blitzkrieg in the run up to the General Elections, and the initial shortlisting for the agency has been done. According to an ET report, 18 companies have been shortlisted for the assignment, including Ogilvy & Mather, Vermillion Communication and Crayons Advertising. The government is expected to select a suitable agency by next week.
The brief for the agencies is to develop a campaign to promote 14 major schemes launched by the Modi government: Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Digital India, Skill India, Make in India, Digital Payment Promotion, Ayushman Bharat and Ujjwala.
The campaign, which is aimed at highlighting the transformational impact of these schemes, will be run for three months, after which the model code of conduct for polls will be effective. By then, the government hopes that the ad campaign will provide sufficient impetus for the BJP election campaign when it starts.
The scope is pretty large, and more than two companies could be roped in for the work. An official from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting commented, “There will be one company that could be given the creative mains responsibility; one for TV commercials and hoardings, jingles and design publicity merchandise; some to do outdoor publicity such as concerts, exhibitions and street plays, two or three for research and a few for exclusively social media focus…”
O&M has played a major role in Modi’s electoral victory in 2018. Piyush Pandey had developed the popular ‘Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar’ campaign in 2014. Among other shortlisted firms, Promodome Communications has managed the BJP’s campaign in Delhi; RK Swamy BBDO was in charge of the launch of Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana launch and Span Communications has also worked on the Sagarmala project and many other BJP campaigns. Crayons has the experience of at least 20 election campaigns, for different political parties and was in charge of the BJP’s UP campaign in 2017.
What should the message be? Indeed when we DKODE four years of Modi, there are positives like ease of doing business ranking, GST, Jan Dhan Yojana, National Waterways Project, Digital India, Swachh Bharat, promotion of yoga, etc. India’s global stature has definitely improved, and Modi has connected quite well with leaders across the globe. The alternative to BJP is still hazy, a fact that it could highlight in its campaign.
On the other hand issues like Demonetisation, GST troubles, farmer issues, liquidity crisis, killings by gaurakshaks and unemployment could certainly trouble the BJP in the coming election. Moreover, the recent electoral defeats have punctured the BJP’s persona of invincibility.
So what’s the ideal approach? Vision statements for a ‘New India’ in 2022 and beyond are fine and the BJP can definitely talk about some of its most successful reforms. But it will also need to connect with the current and pressing problems being faced by the common man across the country – farmers, traders, unemployed youth middle class etc – through its campaign. They need to know how their lot will improve in this ‘New India’.