Election fever: Voter awareness backed by corporate power

Election fever has gripped the entire country. Polling has been conducted for 4 of the 9 phases with Delhi, Haryana and Kerala recording the highest voting turnout in a decade. The Election Commission of India and political parties are of course doing their bit to increase voter awareness - and aiding them are several brands, corporates and media companies like Hindustan Unilever, Tata Tea, Google and of course, CNBC-TV18 who have launched campaigns to educate and inform the voter.

For CNBC-TV18, the journey of its voter awareness campaign began at the grand finale of Lessons In Marketing Excellence season five, where the boys from IIM Bangalore won top honours on a case study challenge given by the Election Commission of India. IIM-B's insights were honed by LIME5 partner's Hindustan Unilever into a creative brief, which was then worked on by Ogilvy's Piyush Pandey and Lowe's R Balki to create two films. These two films are part of the only corporate voter awareness campaign that has been approved by the Election Commission.

Digital giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are betting big as well. Besides this ad film that tells the story of indpendent India's first voter, Google's digital only marketing campaign, Pledge To Vote, offers a revamped election hub that offers Google scores, infographics, search trends, YouTube playlists and links to information databases.

It's a different story for Tata Tea. Since 2007, its Jaago Re campaign has attempted to mirror the pressing issues faced by society at large. Tata Tea, which sees women as its primary target group, says that championing a cause before it becomes part of popular discourse and making it personally relevant to the consumer is key.

For MTV India, the elections provide a way to maintain its youth appeal. Launched in December last year, Rock The Vote spreads across campus concerts, a music anthem, a TV show, and several infographics and cartoons across its digital media channels, all aimed at one thing - make voting cool.

And it's not just voter awareness. Brands including Maruti Suzuki, and Hero MotoCorp have launched new ads that aim to resonate with the current zeitgeist. Interestingly, what makes these campaigns different from regular ones is the expected return - brands are not just hoping for viewership, or clicks, but for something far greater. Says HUL's Hemant Bakshi, "One of the things we have to keep in mind is that what's good for our consumers, our country will be good for our business. And if you have that purpose in mind, and you are clear about it, I think things like this will happen. And when you do this, you will have positive outcomes on the business as well."

Creative and design agencies are also doing their bit. For example, Bangalore based TSK Design Studio has gone out of its way to persuade city dwellers - dressing up over 90 billboards, with help from local real estate companies who funded the hoardings.

Besides these, several media houses have launched their own campaigns, all in an effort to educate, as well as influence voter turnout. But, how well these campaigns work, will only be known when voter turnouts are officially announced.

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Updated Date: Apr 14, 2014 16:40:44 IST