When the product fails, Congress blames the advertising

The Congress, reeling from their poll debacle, is desperately looking for hooks to hang the blame on. Their first target: the advertising agency that handled the communication, Dentsu India.

As anyone in advertising or in marketing will tell you, there is no advertising that can sell a poor product or a product that is not wanted by consumers.

The advertising agency did its job, not Congress

The advertising agency did its job, the Congress didn't

The Congress campaign was the first off the blocks, dominating outdoor and print, with the creative focusing squarely on Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party’s solution for various stakeholders. If the campaign was designed to project Rahul Gandhi as being the leader of the Congress and was the Congress party’s choice of prime minister, it did the job. If the campaign was designed to suggest that the Congress party intended to solve problems of each target segment, it did.

The problem was, it seems in hindsight, the voter did not think of Rahul Gandhi as prime ministerial material or believe the Congress party’s promises or a combination of the two, resulting in the party being pummeled at the hustings.

Whatever the case, the problem wasn’t with the advertising.

The Congress party needs to learn how the team comprising Soho Square and Piyush Pandey, which created the BJP’s campaign, views the role of advertising in the BJP’s win: “Only air cover,” said Pandey, giving the credit to the rank and file of the BJP.

Whether it is selling a political party or a brand of soap, there is only so much that advertising can do. Dentsu India has done what it could do. What caused the Congress to fail was a product that was flawed and poor strategy and execution by the party workers.

The Congress can keep changing ad agencies (and blaming them), but this will not get them back to power. Understand what the electorate wants and fix the product – and the Congress may not even need advertising to sell the story.

Today, the party has no story.

Updated Date: May 20, 2014 11:12 AM

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