Monday, April 13, 2009

Digital Marketing in Elections 2009

You type in your username and key in the password. You see your friends on the left hand side and just below that a slightly tilted LK Advani holding out his hand and trying to convince you that he is your man. And this is not only orkut. BJP has gone on the offensive on blogs, faceboook, twitter and what not. Advani's blog says:

Welcome, friends, to my blog. My young colleagues who have created this website told me that a political portal without a blog is like a letter without a signature. I quickly accepted this compelling logic.

I am excited by the idea of using the Internet as a platform for political communication and, especially, for election campaign.

The Internet has many attractive attributes, but the best perhaps is that it is owned neither by the government nor by any private media groups. It is open to all and in this sense it is the most democratic of all the communication platforms invented by mankind so far.”

Pretty amazing, huh? When parties are saying that they are against computers and English education (what the hell was Mulayam thinking !!), this is a pretty bold statement to make. I really would like to meet the guy who convinced the 81 year old to appear in such dapper advertisements. The party has also collected 20 million e-mail identities to inundate netizens with Vajpayee's messages and BJP's campaign appeals. According to the campaign promoter:-

"If wishes were horses, I would have seen that examination papers had the question - who should be prime minister?"

If BJP is doing so much then how can Congress be left behind? As Sonia Gandhi entered Rae Bareli, Priyanka Vadra made 10000 phone calls persuading voters. Yeah, you read it right!! She made 10000 freakin' calls!! In the internet domain also, Congress is trying hard.

Came across this site for a list of all internet initiatives being used for Elections 2009:-

Here are some copy paste observations of the campaigns:

  • Unlike BJP where the whole Campaign is built around the communication Advani as PM, Congress’s online campaign is more party centric than personality oriented. Congress party’s ads are driving clicks to the party website, whereas the BJP ads are linked to Mr. Advani’s website
  • Both parties are using Google Adwords for their campaign. This has resulted in a unique situation where, on a single page, there are multiple ads where both BJP and Congress are vying for space from each other.
  • Congress has gone for 720x80 positioning and text-ads compared to BJP’s wide range of ads. Also it looks like Congress is offering a higher bid price, because, most ads are now showing Congress in the 720x80 positioning.
  • Congress’s presence on Facebook and Orkut also leaves much to desire, when compared with BJP.

The clear verdict is that BJP is winning on the digital marketing frontier !! ( Apologies to the EC for such a statement :P !!)

In the Indian election scenario, the logic of using digital marketing is pretty simple. The 2009 general elections promise to be different in two very significant ways:-

1) It will be the first time that as much as 40% of the electorate will be first-time voters—young people who have just crossed the voting age of 18; 

2) It will the first time in the country’s independent history that the urban areas have a representation in the Lok Sabha that is proportionate to their population (the country’s rural areas have usually enjoyed more representation). 

Add to it, 57 million claimed users of the internet and god knows how many mobile subscribers and you have your votebank. So let the games begin and may the best party win!! J

PS: The views expressed in this article are not meant to be biased towards any party. The writer has always voted for an independent candidate. :P