In the end, a positive “Jai Ho” slogan from Congress seems to have trumped a negative “Bhay Ho” from the BJP.
The parties spent on appeals across print, television, radio, hoardings and the new charms of SMS messages to mobile phones. Experts say Congress pulled it off better.
“Congress’s ads were more positive, had a much higher women focus, had happier colours, the music was more enjoyable and the ads were more involving. BJP’s ads were more negative in tone, used dark colours, had more of a male emphasis and were more about criticising the Congress,” said Vivek Gupta, senior vice-president at IMRB Brand Science, a unit of the Indian Market Research Bureau.
The Congress came out with some advertisements like one in which a little girl tells her uncle, “Look what I have done with my hands,” after which he shows her what “The hand” — Congress symbol — had achieved.
An IMRB survey of 600 youngsters across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata to test the ads found that Congress ads worked much better across all centres except Bangalore.
While 44 per cent of the sampled audience liked the Congress ads better, 23 per cent liked the BJP ads better. While 76 per cent liked Congress’s “Jai Ho” (Victory be) ads based on the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire song, BJP’s “Bhay Ho” (Fear be) ads failed to evoke any positive response.
“I cannot say whether the party’s Internet and television campaign worked or not,” said Pradyuth Bohra, BJP’s IT department chief.
Industry estimates say Congress and the BJP each directly spent between Rs 200 and 250 crore on ad campaigns. But Ranjan Bargotra, president of Crayons, the ad agency which along with JWT created the Congress ads, laughed off the figures. “The mass media spend estimates of Rs 250 crore by any party are way too high,” he said.
BJP had roped in Frank Simoes-Tag and Utopia for its ad campaign. (With inputs from Chetan Chauhan in New Delhi)