Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Brand Congress vs Brand BJP - General Election 2009

The ‘Aam Aadmi’ toppled the incumbent ‘India Shining’ in 2004, and history repeat itself in 2009, Congress's 'Jai Ho' trounces BJP’s 'Bhay Ho'.

It was a battle between ‘Jai Ho’ versus ‘Bhay Ho’. And the results clearly indicate that the congress campaign of India on the road to development won over thr BJP’s highlighting the shortcomings of the incumbent. These elections are considered to be the costliest elections in the history of independent India, the two national parties pulled out all the stops on their communication  campaigns. Even as the BJP moved aggressively in its campaign in the initial phases,

 it was a consistent branding strategy involving TV, print, radio, outdoor and even online which delivered the goods for the Congress. 

When it comes to television campaigns of the two national parties, according to a survey conducted by IMRB, the Congress campaign it seems is a hit with the viewing public. 

The study commissioned by BrandScience@IMRB International was conducted to assess the effect of communication by political parties amongst urban youth across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. The base panel were shown the Congress ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘Bharat Buland , Badte Kadam’ and BJP ‘Bhay Ho’ and ‘Dishaheen’ . 

The study reveals that the Congress ads were liked more across centres with Bangalore the only exception, where BJP ads scored higher. Across the four metros,

  • ‘Jai Ho’ clocked 48% in ad liking, while Bhay Ho garnered 19% .
  • Similarly the saffron party’s ‘Dishaheen’ polled 28 % on likeability whereas Congress’s ‘Bharat Buland, Badte Kadam’ had 40% saying ‘Jai Ho’ on the same parameter. 

Indeed the mood is reflected in the survey where

  • 55% felt happy watching Congress ads versus 40% for BJP ads.
  • 34% felt good watching Congress commercials against 22% for BJP TVCs.
  • The Congress ads scored high on entertainment and enjoyment parameters with 72% voting in the Congress ads as very entertaining, compared to 51 % for the saffron party commercials. 

The survey also revels that

  • The Congress ad campaign shows elements around women while BJP has no specific gender focus. 
  • It’s the feel good and a sense of optimism generated by Congress ads which has found favour with the respondents as compared to the negative shades and ads projecting LK Advani as ‘Nidar Neta’ (fearless leader) and the promise of a change.
  • ‘Bhay Ho’ , created as a parody to ‘Jai Ho’ by BJP highlights the failure of Congress in addressing issues like terrorism , unemployment, galloping inflation etc. 

The perception is that BJP was trying to show problems won’t be there, but they were not said how they will do it.

“The smartest thing of the Congress campaign was not to give BJP ammunitions to shoot back at the incumbent. The entire communication strategy didn’t gloat over achievements, it made the right soothing noises and didn’t push the envelope too much,” said Santosh Desai, CEO of Future brands and a former ad man.

Vivek Gupta, senior V-P, IMRB International, said the Congress communication gave a sense of hope in a scenario of inflation and unemployment. “At the national level, unemployment and inflation are two big issues that most concern the youth of India. Terrorism is a big concern, but the two issues affect the masses directly,” said Mr Gupta.

Realising the marketing potential during the mammoth election process,

  • Various private companies had also started websites appealing voters to exercise their franchise. 
  • To seize the opportunity, major TV news channels had also set up dedicated websites to provide information related to the mammoth election. 
  • To cash on the opportunity Google India had set up an online elections centre in association with a leading daily. 
  • Google had also launched an official community, The Voice of Youth, on its social networking site Orkut. 
  • These elections had witnessed a massive online voter awareness programme as websites like,,, were run the campaigns to encourage voters to vote. 

As per the estimates of CMS(Centre for Media Studies), about Rs 10,000 crore spent during the Lok Sabha elections, which includes about Rs 2,000 crore by the Election Commission and other government agencies and the remaining Rs 8,000 crore by the political parties and candidates for campaigning. Even most of the leading media houses have reported higher revenue generation in the fourth quarter of the previous financial year due to elections.

The total advertisement spending by the political parties will be around Rs 800 crore which is almost seven per cent of the total annual advertisement the media sector receives.

Related article to read :

Key Dates of Indian Elections History

For those of you who love parodies and comparative advertisingm, just go to youtube and watch

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