After Congress and BJP, AAP enters 'outdoor' fray

MUMBAI: Barely days for the city to go to polls, and a party which had hitherto relied on unconventional methods such as word-of-mouth, foot soldiers and dharnas to gain popularity, has finally taken refuge in mainstream advertising, albeit out-of-home (OOH).

Indeed, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its most public face, Arvind Kejriwal, are the latest to find their way to a string of hoardings plastered across Mumbai in the lead-up to voting day on 24 April.

In the hoardings, Kejriwal is seen asking Mumbaikars for votes, alongside slogans in Hindi which read: “Jitne Sitam Karna Hai Kar Lo, Lekin Desh ko Badal kar Rahenge”, “Is baar Imaandaar” et al.

 According to Global Advertisers, which has the mandate for the main political parties, while BJP and Congress are utilizing 17 to 20 per cent and 25 to 27 per cent of the total outdoor hoardings, respectively, AAP is utilizing only 7 to 8 per cent.

In terms of monies spent, “If Congress is spending around Rs 50 crore and BJP about Rs 20 crore on outdoor, AAP, which does not have as much money as BJP and Congress, should be spending much less than Rs 3 to 5 crore. However, it is important to note here that unlike Congress and BJP that are creating a very strong presence through TV and print advertising, AAP’s advertising backbone comprises just outdoor and word-of-mouth,” informs Global Advertisers managing director Sanjeev Gupta.

 For AAP, the outdoor agency is currently focusing on Mumbai’s high-visibility regions such as Worli, Andheri, Dadar and Thane. Despite having been approached at the nth hour, the agency’s media planning and buying teams have selected some of the best sites for the party.

In this election year, Indian advertising is expected to witness an overall boost of around Rs 1,000 crore from political advertising, with outdoor advertising expected to see a 10 per cent rise within that. “We at Global expect to witness as much as a 30 per cent rise in our revenues just from political advertising,” says Gupta.

While TV and print exude national presence, outdoor is very important for parties to reach out to masses who stay in the country’s hinterland. “And since the 2014 elections are being considered to be one of the toughest elections of all time, parties are more than willing to dig deep into their pockets and spend on advertising, especially outdoor, since their vote bank lies within these tier 2, 3, 4 markets,” Gupta points out.

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