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A team small in number but rich in ideas

They coined the ‘Incredible India’ slogan, and are now designing Congress candidate Ajay Maken’s campaign from a basement office in the sleepy East of Kailash neighbourhood, Sidhartha Roy reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 15, 2009 00:07 IST
Sidhartha Roy

The battle royale for the New Delhi constituency is on between Bharatiya Janata Party’s Vijay Goel and Ajay Maken of the Congress. And the strategy for Maken’s election campaign is being planned from a basement office in the sleepy East of Kailash neighbourhood.

Maken’s campaign, arguably one of the most professionally managed in Delhi, took off as early as January this year. The campaign involves glitzy hoardings at bus Q shelters and at cinema halls like PVR Plaza, informative brochures and attractive calendars.

The people behind this campaign are a small team of copywriters and art directors from an ad agency, Span Communications. The agency is also behind campaigns like the successful ‘Pappu can’t vote’ campaign of Delhi’s state election commission and the Incredible India campaign for the Union Tourism Ministry.

“We have a small team and that is our strength,” said Naresh Kheterpal, CEO of the agency, standing next to his team at their functional studio.

The brief from Maken was simple— he wanted to focus on his performance and targeted six different segments in the constituency, such as government employees, slum dwellers, etc.

Maken wanted a calendar to narrate the work he has done for these different segments. “We ensured the calendars are not very cluttered and are good looking enough for people to want to clip them to a wall,” said Sanjeev Kumar, vice president of Span. Then there is the ‘vaastu’ calendar in Hindi with picture of galloping stallions. The picture of horses, if put up on a south-facing wall, brings prosperity according to vaastu shastra.

A lot of thought has also gone in the details of the banners. “One hoarding talks about continuous development. Here we have used the picture of a sea, as it is symbolic of an endless journey,” Kheterpal said.

Is it different working on an electoral campaign than on a campaign to sell consumer goods? “Not really. You’re trying a build a brand, which in this case is Ajay Maken,” said Sudeb Chatterjee, the copywriter who coined the English slogans for the campaign.