Ogilvy & Mather, Vermillion, Crayons among 18 shortlisted for govt’s publicity
More than two companies are expected to be picked to manage the campaigning work for the govt and push the momentum for the ruling BJP’s campaign that is expected to start in March
The final selection is expected to be made next week, an official at the information and broadcasting ministry told ET. The campaign will seek to create awareness about the 14 most important schemes launched by the Modi government: Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Digital India, Skill India, Make in India, Digital Payment Promotion, Ayushman Bharat and Ujjwala. The campaign will run for the next three months, till the model code of conduct for the polls comes into effect.
The tentative focus is on highlighting the “transformation” that these schemes have brought up, the official said. More than two companies are expected to be picked to manage the campaigning work for the government and, more importantly, push the momentum for the ruling BJP’s campaign that is expected to start in March. “There will be one company that could be given the creative mains responsibility; one for TV commercials and hoardings, jingles and design publicity merchandise; some to do outdoor publicity such as concerts, exhibitions and street plays, two or three for research and a few for exclusively social media focus…,” the official said.
“The target audience will be the common citizens of India of all age groups, covering rural as well as urban people living all over the country,” the ministry’s proposal for the shortlisting process stated.
O&M’s Pandey, the architect of the successful ‘Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar’ campaign in 2014 and also the brain behind the BJP government’s anniversary campaigns, told ET he was yet to be briefed on the shortlisting, but that “it was always good to be selected”.
Among the other shortlisted companies are Promodome Communications that handled the BJP’s campaign in Delhi, RK Swamy BBDO advertising which managed the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana launch and Span Communications, which had worked on several BJP campaigns and the government’s Sagarmala Project to promote port-led development.
Crayons Advertising has handled as many as 20 election campaigns for several political parties, including the Akali Dal and SP, apart from the Congress and BJP, and had worked with the BJP on the party’s UP campaign in 2017. Two other companies, Carat and Goldmine Advertising that were considered for the Make in India and Namami Gange programmes have also made it to the shortlist. Prachar Communications that was given the contract of publicising the Jan Dhan Yojana and the government’s insurance schemes is also on the list, and so is Sanket Communications which has worked with governmentrun brands such as Khadi.
While the contract of these advertising companies will be till the end of March, those in the party and government in the know of the matter said it was possible that some of them would also work with the BJP immediately after that for its Lok Sabha campaign. A BJP leader said the party would work on a “customised, structured campaign” for each state, as well as urban and rural centres, and also use technology for micro-targeting concerns of voters in “politically difficult” areas.
In 2014, advertising agencies such as Soho Square, O&M, Prasoon Joshi’s McCann and Madison World had helped the Modi-led BJP to sweep to power with the biggest election victory in 30 years. Soho Square and O&M had also worked on the BJP’s successful campaigns for the Haryana and Maharashtra polls.
Advertising professional and social commentator Santosh Desai said it would be more challenging for the government and the party as it did not have a pointed proposition that could be converted into advertising material, like the BJP had in 2014. “For them, the strongest proposition is to focus on the fear of what the opposition can bring if it comes to power. It is relatively easier to convert that into advertising than to talk about one’s own work that could be contentious, easy to argue with. In 2014, the widespread dissatisfaction then with the existing government, combined with the persona of Narendra Modi, gave them a fertile ground and they did a great job with the messaging. A lot of those conditions don’t exist today. Modi continues to be powerful, but the sense of hope isn’t quite the same.”