We are in 2009 election season in India. The print media, electronic too, has got a God send savior in the form of political parties/politicians that are raring to spend big bucks in these turbulent economic times. They are geared to spend any money so that it could impress the citizen voters to vote in their favour. Therefore the newspapers are replete with huge adverts daily about the glorious achievements of the politicians and their parties.
The political class in office has the luxury & good fortune of spending public money on adverts that eulogise their leaders and parties. Oh, well, they have a right to inform public about their achievements. But about their responsibility? Don't they have a duty not to spend public money on promoting their political agenda? well this topic is well left to the public to debate. Let us look at the marketing of the political parties and politicians.
India loves its heros more than any other country. Since we don't have many heroes therefore we keep on inventing them regularly. A politician becomes a hero when s/he gets a z- security cover and gets to sit in luxury hotels and cars etc. How many of our great leaders have good solid education is a point of discussion? Mr LK Advani and others who wish to lead our poverty stricken country could never have hoped to a clear the IIT or IIM or AIMS entrance test? Our leaders do not take public service as work or profession. They treat it like a lifestyle. That's why India remains a slumdog country.
When you see the adverts of various state and central government carrying numerous photographs of their leaders announcing some foundation stone ceremony, inauguration or some ubiquitous public meeting by the name of rally how do you expect the reader to respond? Aren't all the adverts looks and feel the same? And if all the adverts are the same what response they would get? apathy!
When would the political parties and politicians let the professionals do their job of creating political adverts, like you have it in the developed world and stop pretending that they know it all? Till then we would have huge adverts in papers that treat the advertiser and their cronies as the target audience without enlisting an iota of interest by the fence sitter undecided voter whom political adverts aim to target.
Same messages, same layout, similar pics but by different political parties during election campaigns can only convince a voter that now the politicians have started to use the powerful tool of advertising. This would certainly not lead to change of behaviour and attitude. We have so called media advisers and ex-journos turned politicians doing the all important work of deciding how to target the citizen voters during elections. Their claim to such work is the knowledge they have gained by hearing jargon during various presentations served to them by agencies looking for their account. would we learn? perhaps never.
In the west centuries old political parties go for re branding, and all set up their respective war room full of top grade professional to plan and execute this all important task of getting to the seat of government so as to implement their own programmes in the interest of the nation as per their different perspectives.
I would recommend some political party to actually democratise the process and content of political advertising. Why can't a party be brave enough to stop publication of their leader's pics in government funded adverts? And during election campaign too they could keep those pics to the minimum and show the comments of the opinion leaders in sports, films, academia and other public celebrities endorsing the good work done by their party? It is time to bring in professionalism in very sphere for real progress of the country and rid us of the stigma of being a slumdog country. Someone listening !
February 26, 2009
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