November 9, 2011

Election Advertising in Punjab: Same wine in same bottle!


Political parties have revved up their election juggernaut once again in preparation for the early 2012 assembly elections in Punjab, India. Print media has always been the mainstay of election publicity and has once again seemed to occupy the centre- stage once more. Parties new election managers have searched for previously used tactics with a hope to get new success. You cannot succeed a second time with the last time’s howsoever successful strategy.  Advertising is a reflection of socio-psychological profile of the citizens.

Once again we are forced to turn pages containing challenger’s party’s rally adverts showing huge gatherings as a sign of strength. Most often readers do not have to stray much to notice a blaring headlines about failure of the same rally. The incumbent party is busy painting the pages with their achievements. But an average marketer would be enough to convince us that old wines in old bottle do not work in marketing. Then why these parties do not pay any heed?

Marketing is about turning a new leaf in otherwise dull scenario. Marketing is about ‘new’. Even Mercedes is forced to reinvent itself every now and then to stay relevant. How could a political party hope to persuade citizens to vote for it if it has old leaders, old promises and old style of electioneering? Congress party in Punjab is smug with confidence of coming into power riding on the current ‘unpopular’ image of SAD/BJP combine. You have pundits pontificating about the reality of change in every election citing historical trend analysis of Punjabi voter. Have the congress forgotten that Haryana has got a Congress government back into power not long ago?
SAD election team is confident of their expertise in voter turnout & management. There is a general feeling that a close knit team of SAD would be able to defeat a disparate team of opposition in election management. Nothing is far from truth. Punjab, likewise global society, has undergone tremendous change. New youthful voters have different expectations from the political parties that have more to do with economic issues as against emotive considerations of the older voters.

Social media would play a critical role in elections in Punjab. And the party which has better online campaign would be able to garner urban support in large numbers. Newspapers do not have same impact as the battle would shift to strategic use of FM radio etc. Therefore a new approach is required that suits new media rather than depending on traditional media and tactics.  Elections in Punjab are going to be a rather boring affair for the masses  as the situation stands today unless the political parties consult political marketing experts to help them be the first past the poll.

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