New Delhi: Consider this appeal on a billboard by the roadside in Delhi: "Pradhan Mantri Sir! Please Dilli Sarkar ko kaam karne deejiye. Dilli sarkar theek kaam kar rahi hai" -- (Prime Minister Sir, Please allow the Delhi government to function. The Delhi government is working fine).
This is one of the latest ads released by the Delhi government. Not limiting itself to billboards or newspapers, the Kejriwal government with a whopping publicity budget of Rs 526 crore, has released a series of long two-minute slot ads on TV channels and radio to showcase its 'work done for the public' and simultaneously attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "preventing Delhi government to function smoothly".
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been successful, at least for the time being, in actualising the proverb -- 'To kill two birds with one stone' -- by using his latest strategy of blitzkrieg advertising in the media and in public space. The ad on one hand is showcasing AAP government’s claims and on the other it’s unleashing an attack on the Modi government at the Centre.
Santosh Desai, MD & CEO of Future Brands India Ltd said, "It is nothing new. Earlier, the Congress and the BJP had invested on ads for their promotions. Investing large amount on ads to get leverage out of it started in a big way during 2014 elections, when huge amount was spent on the poll campaigning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. This was for the first time that advertising became a determining factor and played a decisive role in electoral politics for building opinion amongst voters. Now, the AAP’s latest approach is an extension of it. It’s also a new trend, where a Delhi-centric party is investing a large proportion of money on ads at a national level, which shows that a concerted planning has gone into it."
However, on the effect of the ads on media, Desai, a noted ad professional said, "It needs to be seen how AAP acts and how the media acts, as the latter has generated a big revenue out of these ads. It may also point towards public perception about the media’s role as a non-partisan player."
Since coming to power, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has been alleging the Centre (read L-G Najeeb Jung) of undue interference in its functioning – whether it’s related to transfer and posting, or having a control over the police. While, the party had witnessed a major infighting immediately after forming the government in Delhi, it was followed by an on-going tussle with Delhi’s L-G.
Independent ad professional Indrajit Deb said, "The fact can’t be ignored that it’s a clever ploy of the AAP government to publicise itself and simultaneously tone down the attack by the media on itself. A big advertiser always gets a tacit support from a publishing or a media house, as it generates revenue for that particular company. The Delhi government by releasing these long ads in the form of communication will also be able to divert the attention of masses from its own weaknesses."
However, the AAP has a different take on this.
"The media has been unfair to us. Why no one questions the corrupt ministers and MPs in the BJP? Instead, the media highlights our ex-law minister, who has already stepped down. We’ve resorted to advertisements because the media is not ready to show our achievements. How can a democratically elected government function, if no power is given to it? The Delhi-government needs to communicate to its voters on such issues, its achievements and its future plans for the citizens. There's nothing wrong in this. The public should also know how the Modi-government has been trying to create obstacles for us," an AAP leader told Firstpost.
But, isn’t the ad campaign strategy of Kejriwal government, a way to keep the media at bay?
"The Delhi government is spending a huge amount on advertising to manage the media cleverly, so that the news channels, which have been aggressive against the AAP till now, would change its stand. It may tone down its attack on Kejriwal and his government. On the other hand, the AAP government will able to communicate its grudge against the Centre," a senior marketing executive of a newspaper said on condition of anonymity.
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Updated Date: Jul 25, 2015 08:28:55 IST