How advertising helped Modi get on road to PM

26 May,2014

 

By Shobhana Nair

 

It’s a campaign that’s sure to enter India’s advertising hall of fame. A blitzkrieg that marketing boys from across the country are drooling over. The advertising mania around Brand Modi began a few months ago in right earnest. The seeds had been sown by way of a belligerent presence on the social media ended on the counting day.

 

Piyush Pandey

While the victory of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi has been attributed to many factors, one can’t overlook the advertising muscle put behind promoting a great brand. As Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director for Ogilvy & Mather India and South Asia says, “You can only position and market something which is good and based on what the product is all about. Nobody has ever been able to sell a bad product. Nobody can as people are not stupid. So a good product is presented with its attributes and the marketing of the brand which was done by Soho Square is only a presentation of what is good in its intrinsic value.” A team of 25-odd creatives, planners and account management were working round the clock for three months in Mumbai and Delhi on the job. Soho Square, a part WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather India, bagged the account after nine rounds of pitching.  “The brief was to firstly, address the common man’s key issues through a comprehensive agenda and secondly, project Mr Modi as the next PM this country deserves,” shares Anuraag Khandelwal, Executive Creative Director and Creative Head, Soho Square, Mumbai.

 

Ad campaigns like Abki Baar Modi Sarkar, Janata Maaf Nahin Karegi and Achche Din Aane Waale Hain were able to convey both – the current sentiment of the country and the BJP mandate – powerfully and effectively.

 

Prasoon Joshi

There was also Prasoon Joshi and his team from McCann’s TAG too who were involved to articulate the philosophical aspect of the party. Desh Ki Pukaar, Modi Sarkaar and Desh Nahi Jhugne Doonga were some of the campaigns which Joshi was involved in. “It is very important to know what your product has to offer and what people need. Only then will it resonate with the people. One of my biggest learning is that you need to have a right product, the right ingredients and you can’t confuse people with 10 things.”

 

“Modi was portrayed as a single-minded person of the party with one single mandate. There has to be clarity of focus & product has to be superior. A great campaign in isolation will not work,” says Joshi.

 

Ask the brand gurus on why the campaigns worked in favour of Modi and here comes the reply. Jagdeep Kapoor, Brand Guru & CMD, Samsika Marketing feels that the communication and advertising was simply strategic. “It entered the minds and heart, but more important was the great performance of Brand Modi over the decade, which helped them communicate.”

 

Harish Bijoor

Well-known brand expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc gives a thumbs up to Modi’s marketing, “Modi is the ultimate political marketer. He had able support, and he was decisive in the way he managed his campaign. His campaign was a 360-degree campaign that had everyone else watching with awe. The best of product marketing gyaan was brought into this campaign. And it worked. Modi is a product. And this product promised what the people wanted. And in him people saw a strong and decisive leader, someone who was an anti-thesis of sorts to the persona India was used to in the past decade with Manmohan Singh at the helm of affairs.”

 

The media buying and planning was handled by Sam Balsara’s Madison World and he admits that a campaign as large as this came with its set of challenges. “Outdoor in UP posed huge challenges because of unfair play by the ruling party in granting permissions for putting up hoardings. The other challenge was negotiations with media, some of whom artificially inflated their rates for political campaigns! Random numbers floating around in the media of the budget of our campaign made our task more difficult.”

 

While it may appear to have been all hunky-dory as one looks back at the BJP’s advertising campaign, Piyush Pandey adds: “No brand is built in a few months; a brand is built over a period of time. What Narendra Modi has done in the last 10 years has been valuable to him.”

 

Pandey also hastens to add that good advertising wasn’t the only reason for the Modi’s success. “No election is ever won or lost because of advertising. Advertising is only an element. Advertising only presents it. With a great product, I can do great marketing.”  Indeed.

 

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