National State

Is BJD heading towards a wrong turn ?

Satyabrata Dwibedy,Editor

Sashi Shekhar Vampathi an IIT,Mumbai alumni was the digital team leader mainly controlling the IT cell of BJP in 2014,he was an ex-Infosys employee and is extremely talented. BJP had hired top advertisement brains of India like Prasoon Jyoshi of McCann , Piyush Pandey of  O&M.“Ab ki baar-Modi Sarkar” and “Achha Din Anewala hei” were the best ever political punch lines after “Garibi Hatao”.

As Dharmendra Pradhan was among the core team which was managing the 2014 Elections of Modi,an  elite team of best ideas is working for BJP to plan the communication strategy of Odisha BJP this time.

On the contrary its counterpart BJD seems to be on a wrong track in the communication front with a bunch of unauthentic professionals occupied  the communication front of the BJD .

Advertisement and communication is a science,it is a specific and technical job.To our wonder  we see Crores of rupees are being wrongly invested and misused in the name of promotion from the BJD funds having meager impact due to creative deficiency. It seems all the communication materials prepared by BJD for the 2019 elections are all big bluffs having no target bound content value to influence the voters.

Having the fact that BJP is all set to dissect  the wrongdoings of BJD to a range of period scale upto 19 years,right from the mining scam to Kunduli and Pipili rape case,it is important for BJD to stick to its space and not to let BJP to occupy it. Initiative of BJD to engage the people with battery of welfare freebies in the last two months was quite a successful attempt to maintain its populist space intact. What next after the code of conduct is declared, it is the publicity and narratives which is crucial to market  the image of the government. More over the Kashmir issue has emerged as a big threat to all the political parties of India,as all the poll analysts have unanimous opinion that BJP is all set to gain out of the Pakistan issue.In Odisha BJP has placed its canons in right place and waiting for the poll date to declare. However the art of Naveen Pattnaik to handle hyper elections in cold-blood makes him different from others and gives him miraculous results.

This time no miracle is expected for,Odisha is going for a fair elections.Fair means  BJP is no different in the resource front. Appropriate people have been placed by BJP in appropriate places to strike the attack. Congress is batter equipped this time compared to 2014.

Almost before a year the BJP groomed a News Portal clearly targeted  with a specific agenda, the creative team of this portal is now managing the ugly propaganda of BJP in Odisha, which is giving the party great dividend. BJD on the other hand is funding many News Portals,News Papers and News Channels,but the agenda before them is not clear.To compensate the damage being created by OTV,the two news channels BJD had funded to work dedicatedly for BJD have no appropriate creative setup to pursue its agenda or set a narrative.

Crores of rupees has been invested to visualize many publicity materials for BJD,even Arri Alexa type  movie cameras are being used to shoot BJD programs knowing that the end use of the materials are in TV screen, but no one knows who are the creative people behind these propaganda materials ? How much they understand the theories of Political communications ? How they understand the nuance of Advertisement ? Why these questions are arising today,because we are watching some TV commercials of BJD for the last few days which speak volumes of the involvement of unskilled people in making the BJD communication materials.When we see the flex,poster designs and TV commercials of BJD and BJP we mark a substantial difference in quality. BJD is spending more and getting relatively poor output.Though both BJD and BJP are violating the classic theory of Advertisement that suggests, “over publicity is bad publicity”.How this theory affects BJD and BJP will be cleared in 2019 elections.

Twenty two years back I was managing the media plan of Konark Asbestos initially for Odisah and subsequently for the entire Eastern India.In 1998 their Odisha production center at Dhenkanal closed down for six months for workers agitation and taking the opportunity out of this golden chance Visakha Asbestos encroached the entire market of Konark Asbestos. Six months after when the production resumed they felt a drastic decrease in sale and finally decided a massive campaign in electronic media.I was entrusted to make a new advertisement film .The company itself shared an idea which was all about devastation,earthquake damage and against these odd the longevity of Konark Asbestos.This was a typical idea but was costly  because in those days digital CG and Special effects ware done in London or Newsland. The VFX consultant  presented  me a budget of 22 Lakhs excluding the shooting budget. Company was willing to invest but I made a second thought and requested the management to give me  free hand to try for a alternate TVC which I made with a cost of  merely Rs15000/-.It was a 15 sec docu-narrative about Konark Asbestos.The literature of the TVC was simple but narrative,  “We have built the robust roofs of Nalco and NTPC,again we are committed to protect your roof from any eventuality as we are doing it for the last 25 years. Trust us.”This was the script in Odia.

This 15 sec commercial changed the scenario and within months Konark asbestos regained its old market ousting Visakha Asbestos from the market. Company invested the 25 Lakh rupees budget in buying more TV spots to enhance the frequency of advertisement in each break of a TV serial for six months which was  earmarked for making of the Adfilm. What inspired me to  dare this experiment is the most famous film making theory which is popularly known as, “The content and Container theory”. This theory explains what impress people ? Good camera work ? Good Lighting ?? Good Set ??? Good editing ????? or Good narrative ?????? It is invariably good narrative. To explain it in simple terms  let’s imagine. A spurious food in a gold plate and a good food in a banana leaf, which is more desirable ? Off course the later. So when good food is the ultimate desire container is a secondary factor.Good camera, light,set and editing can’t save a bad story.

In a strategic  war with BJP unskilled media managers may in all probability damage the game of BJD in 2019.Since few days we are  watching few commercials of BJD in TV Channels. The length of these TVC are itself explain something wrong with the ideas of BJD.

We need to understand why the length of Advertisement  are precise, it is not about money, Pepsi has enough money to book the whole commercial break of 4 minutes, but ultimately it is the patience of the viewers matter . To manage the patience of the viewers the creative wings of the advertisement industry has gone a long way to experiment the content methodology and still it is on.

During 1990 to 2000 the duration of TVC was mostly within 20 sec to 30 sec. When remote played a vital role in program viewing ,TVCs are reduced to 05 sec to 20 sec with multiple cuts in 10 and 15 sec. Still people tried to avoid commercial breaks. Then developed the idea of making entertaining commercials, gradually people love to see advertisements which are having entertainment value.

In the above context who advised BJD to make TVC of 3 minutes 5 minutes and even 9 minutes is debatable. All the TVCs of BJD are looking like documentaries in the space of Commercial break; no issue but documentary have no repeat value. If documentary type commercials BJD wants to run in TV they need to avoid the frequency of telecast, which is not possible. So BJD needs to do the following to get proper mileage out of its most expensive TV campaign in 2019.Not only BJD even BJP should know the following facts.

  1. TV commercials must be precised and focused with the duration of maximum 20 sec.
  2. The USP must be well designed and commercials should carry perfect punch lines.
  3. Commercials for News Channels and Entertainment Channels should be different as the type of viewers in both the categories of channels are different.
  4. Party should try to book the 1st spot, middle spot and last spot of the commercial break with three different commercials. No back to back TVC to plan.
  5. National News channels and Entertainment channels like Star Plus, Sony and Colors must be added to the list because they have a substantial presence in Odisha.TVC for national channels must be around 10 sec.







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