Amid parties’ digital push, flex printing biz sees a dip in ad spend revenue - Hindustan Times
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Amid parties’ digital push, flex printing biz sees a dip in ad spend revenue

By, Chandigarh
May 29, 2024 09:38 AM IST

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, political parties spent nearly 80% of their campaign budget on traditional mediums such as newspaper advertisement, radio advertisement, and flex hoardings, and allocated only 20% for social media campaigns

With political parties shifting a major chunk of their campaign budget to the digital media space, flex printing businesses have taken the hit this election season.

According to sources, both the BJP and Congress are intensifying their social media campaigns, each allocating two to three teams for their Chandigarh Lok Sabha candidates. (HT File Photo)
According to sources, both the BJP and Congress are intensifying their social media campaigns, each allocating two to three teams for their Chandigarh Lok Sabha candidates. (HT File Photo)

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, political parties spent nearly 80% of their campaign budget on traditional mediums such as newspaper advertisement, radio advertisement, and flex hoardings, and allocated only 20% for social media campaigns.

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This has now changed dramatically now, with 60% of the budget dedicated to social media and 40% to other mediums.

Focus on social media campaigns

As per reports, nearly 95% of the total 6,59,805 voters in Chandigarh own mobile phones and use social media. Besides, 17,977 voters fall in the 18-19 age group, who are known to spend a large amount of time online. Thus political parties find it more convenient to reach them through the digital space instead of traditional methods such as rallies.

Manteshwar Singh, who has over a decade of experience in political campaigning, manages social media accounts for various political parties and leaders.

He said that social media provides rapid feedback, while the metrics such as impressions, views, and clicks offer tangible evidence of advertisement performance, reassuring political parties about their outreach efforts.

He further said that they gather public feedback through missed call campaigns on phones. On social media, they receive feedback through comments, both positive and negative, prompting them to adjust their strategies accordingly.

“A few years ago, a politician’s social media team had only one or two members. However, now they have two to three teams, each having six to seven members, working as cameramen, video editors, and social media managers,” said Manteshwar.

Anmol Singh, another social media manager who works political parties, said that social media is more influential than other forms of media.

“Leveraging trending influencers on social media, political figures utilise podcasts and vlogs to connect with their audiences effectively,” he added.

Recently, BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon appeared on a podcast on Instagram page ‘Chandigarhbytes’. Tandon was also seen having street food with digital creator Anmol, who runs a food vlog on Instagram.

Manish Tewari, on the other hand, gave an interview to an Instagram account named pu.pulse. He also appeared on Instagram pages ‘blunt voice’,’the digital pendu’,and ‘punjab calling official’.

According to sources, both the BJP and Congress are intensifying their social media campaigns, each allocating two to three teams for their Chandigarh Lok Sabha candidates.

On the other hand, campaign material business operators believe that although they have seen a slight increase in their revenues during the poll business, it hasn’t met their expectations. They estimate that social media has impacted their business by up to 40% as political parties focus more on social media campaigns.

Rajender Kumar, the owner of a design and flex printing shop in Sector 45, said, “I cater to all political parties. We expected a significant boost in business this election season, but there’s only been a marginal increase of about 5%.”

Permission for putting flex boards a challenge

Flex printing and design business operators faced challenges in obtaining permissions for hoardings and boards this election season.

Charanjit Singh from Sector 40-D said that despite requests for 20 boards, they were granted approval for only three to four. As the election season nears its end, workload has surged, compounded by the absence of permissions for wall wraps.

He said despite parties having ample budget, boards were often torn down, or complaints filed. Despite requests for 2,000 boards, only 100 were permitted. To prevent removal, they now attach permission posters with the flex.

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