Poll Shock! How Obama mania got converted to Advani dilemma? And Lessons learnt.

Time to analyze the results !

Whether it’s the Who wants to be a Millionaire show (KBC), the Indian idol or the “desi” Jumbo vada-pav; rip offs are something we are very comfortable and enthusiastic about. So when earlier this year Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential election was one of the highest followed events, it was somewhat apparent that a similar “desi” version of this kind of online marketing, promotion or so-called social networking would soon be done by the Indian leaders in this year’s elections.

But was the field same in India as it is in the United States. Let’s analyze what Advani did to open up every possible chance and understand why this e-part of the campaign didn’t work. (In all a 250 crore campaign has failed but here we just try to analyze the online part of the game)

What Advani did same as Obama?

  • Got a biography/book published before elections.
  • Try to create a picture of Change. From Obama’s “Obama for Change” to Advani’s ‘Harbinger of Change’
  • Created an online presence via www.lkadvani.in where he connects to masses (and blogs too). Indian sites were drowned with Google ads on Advani.
  • A very slick television ad campaign directly targeting the antagonist Congress and her leadership.
  • More following via Facebook, Orkut and You-Tube for the Gen Y.
  • There was a different blog-cum-community site 4bjp.org which is still hosted, this site had quiet a few readers but more than that there was this huge SMS campaign via MyToday where people were messaged about where the BJP honchos were heading.

Why it could have worked?

Although there was much hype created, there was a basic assumption that those who won’t vote congress will vote us (BJP). This made it a Red Bloody ocean / market . Though Internet usage was not high the mobile acceptance grew in leaps and bounds off late and the SMS campaigns were really expected to give BJP the extra edge.

Why it didn’t work?

  1. A quick search on Wolfram alpha says – there are 1.7 billion people in India (2007) and 80 million use the internet. That’s less than 7% to be precise. Now not all Indian Internet users were interested in Advani. So the area was too niche to heavily invest on. Resulting in less ROI for Advani.
  2. Unfortunately, the IPL T20 matched coincided with the political season, making it more difficult for politicos to grab eye balls. The over-all voter turnout on the D-Day was 43% in cities like Mumbai where such campaigns could have generated a great impact.
  3. Even senior leaders in the party admitted that the message wasn’t properly delieved to the common man.
  4. A lot of confusion with what messages was passing by. “Hindutva” was already a Achilles’ heel for the BJP and all of a sudden some strange Varun Gandhi plans added fuel to the fire.
  5. Some how a “Team picture” was not portrayed by BJP. This drastically reduced the voter confidence. It turned out to be a Advani for Prime minister campaign and not a BJP for India. On the contrary Manmohan Singh, Rahul and Sonia Gandhi were immediate faces the common man connected with when Congress was discussed.
  6. At the end of day, Advani is not a highly followed person with the common junta. And to create a messiah kind of an image you really need a change in the leadership.

Three great Lessons Learnt!

  1. Team work is important whether its business or politics. If the work is just about you or a selected few it won’t be accepted.
  2. At times Placements and Focus is more important than the promotion. Not hitting the target audience can hit you back severely.
  3. There is a simple concept of ‘SPOC’ (single point of contact) for the customer. If that is not implemented with every team and every department, you end up with every body taking a lead in communication. And if that happens be ready to get drowned in chaos.

I leave you with the following take away from woopidoo.com, I hope Advani too learns from this one.

“Our success is a direct result of knowing how to market a brand and having the right people representing the brand”. – Greg Norman

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Chanda Himanshu June 4, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Some of you were not able to view this post on Internet Explorer :( Just fixed the issue…. Sorry for the invonvenience

Neeraj June 5, 2009 at 4:16 am

g8 R&D sir

Sonia George June 12, 2009 at 4:57 am

Gud analysis Himanshu…..

Chanda Himanshu June 12, 2009 at 7:28 am

Thanks Dear. More coming your way !

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