I happen to see the first of the three TVCs of the Gujarat government featuring Amitabh during a program titled called ‘Mega structures’, which was showing how China is planning to build world’s largest building while our national channels were agog with the CWG failures. As a student of political marketing I was keenly awaiting the release of much hyped campaign of the gujrat government. Gujarat government’s campaign has a celebrity anchor which is different from NDA government’s India Shining campaign that was message centric. Amitabh did feature in a slick political marketing, campaign of the Smajwadi party which had equally great production values, but it failed to convince enough voters to get the party an election victory.
Gujrat government have been claiming all round economic progress in the state therefore being an outsider I was expecting to see the face of new India in Gujrat. The three TVCs presented on Gujrat tourism website do not offer any new appeal. Those are about temple, lions & Kutch salt producing area. How many global & domestic tourists would want to visit Gujarat to see tigers, temples and salt farms? What’s new about these three messages? Off course Amitabh too is as well known as the three things mentioned in the advertisements. Image of India in the global minds has been changing rapidly. We are no longer thought of only as a land of snake charmers, slumdogs, & traditional stuff but a fast growing economy with huge modern consuming middle class that has taken the world by storm with its IT & ITES knowledge.
Therefore Gujrat being a foremost state in India having large number of gujratis living abroad all over the globe it was expected to showcase an image of an advanced, global, metropolitan, centre of education & business friendly state to persuade the visitors. You would have more non-gujratis interested in visiting the state if they are told that Gujrat has great cities, international educational centers, friendly people, Garba dance festival and the land of the Mahatma.
History of Somnath temple is taught to every Indian in school days. It certainly does not attract the faithful as the Tirupati, Haridwar, and Varanasi etc do. Corbett reserve is more famous than Gir park. Kutch salt area offers no attraction to any tourist looking for culture- that place in India ahas been occupied by Rajasthan and UP for obvious reasons. So what’s new about Gujarat in this campaign? I am not sure if it will serve any political purpose for Modi government either as Modi is a dominant icon who needs no endorsements from any ambassador for acceptance by his voters.
It would have been great if Gujrat had done the campaign differently by showing the following;
1. Spirit of Gujrat expressed through Gujratis living all over the globe & succeeding in their enterprise
2. Modern city centers and infrastructure.
3. Presence of globally reputed education centers with cultural diversity.
If the purpose of the campaign was to showcase Amitabh, well who has not seen him? Gujrat certainly smells better than this campaign suggests.