New Delhi: In the run-up to assembly elections in five states, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become India’s leading television advertising brand. According to the latest data provided by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), between November 12 to 16, the party had 22,099 insertions (number of times an ad is aired on tv), which was almost 10,000 insertions more than the second largest advertiser in the country – Netflix.
The Economic Times reports that BJP ads ranked number one across all channels in the five states going into assembly elections– Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram. The BJP ranked number two for the preceding week, while the Congress did not even feature on the top-ten list.
BARC comes out with a weekly ‘top 10’ list of advertisements, brands and channels. For week 46 (November 12 to 16), BJP was the top advertising brand, followed by Netflix with 12,951 insertions, Trivago with 12,795, Santoor Sandal with 11,222 and Dettol Liquid Soap with 9,487 insertions.
The Wire previously reported that the Narendra Modi government has spent about Rs 5,000 crore on advertising during its tenure of nearly four-and-a-half years, as much as the Manmohan Singh government spent in the ten years it was in power. According to an RTI filed by Ramvir Tanwar in 2018, the BJP had spent an amount of Rs. 2,221.11 crore on advertising through electronic media.
While some polling phases are over, most of the voting will take place in December. The results of the upcoming assembly elections are expected to have an impact on the general elections in 2019 – one of the reasons why the BJP is so aggressively trying to reach out to the electorate using every possible medium of communication.
According to the CEO of BARC India, Partho Dasgupta, televised advertisements have the largest audience outreach, whether they are popularising commercial brands and services or pitching in political parties.
Political parties are known to hire creative media agencies to plan and design their advertisement campaigns. For assembly polls, they usually rely on smaller, local agencies. But given the magnitude of the BJP’s current ad campaign, it appears that the ruling party is leaving no stone unturned to drum up support in the run-up to the general elections.
The Modi government continues to face questions about the money allocated for its own publicity, especially since the budgets for such advertorials have led to allocation cuts in several social schemes.
In 2014, the BJP hired Soho Square, a subsidiary of O&M to orchestrate its entire general election campaign.