State hires 66 private advertising agencies to promote public schemes

Siddharth Gadkari
Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Observers call it a ploy to campaign for BJP ahead of Assembly, LS elections

PUNE: The State government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a party which has always been a step ahead of rival parties when it comes to promoting itself, has hired over 66 private advertising agencies to promote government schemes and its achievements. 

The State General Administration on Monday issued an order to the effect. The move comes in the wake of the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections next year. The State government has formed a panel of these agencies for effective advertising of its schemes through different media. Everything has been planned so that the message it wants to convey is reached to the target audience, said political observers. 

The government has published the list of these agencies. According to the observers, the BJP is preparing to launch its election campaign on the pretext of promoting the government schemes by spending public money. The timing of the move points to the government’s intention to project the party’s positive image in the public with an eye on the elections, they said. 

The agencies have been categorised such as audio-visual, audio, print, event, digital media such as websites, social media and below the line (BTL). In organisational business and marketing communications, BTL is an advertising technique, which uses less conventional methods than the usual specific channels of advertising to promote products, and services. The government has allocated several zones including Mumbai, Konkan, Nashik, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati to these agencies.

Each agency specialises in various advertising channels. The agencies will use various social media platforms, creative content or adapt the already available content to promote the party. The content is not limited to banners and jingles but also uses videos, infographics, graphics, cartoons and animation. Uploaded content will be monitored by their perception and image management teams on a daily basis. 

The government has instructed the agencies to provide an accurate, complete, polite and prompt feedback mechanism to users via social media platforms. The agencies will gather inputs from users and respond to their service requests.

The agencies are expected to initiate positive discussions about the government on the social media by uploading voice clips and voice broadcasts. 

Commenting on the government move, Prithviraj Chavan, former Democratic Front chief minister and senior Congress leader who handled the General Administration, Information and Public Relations Department, said, “We never hired private agencies to publicise government schemes. The government departments are expected to do that. The government has a good network in place for this purpose. It is election campaign disguised as promoting government schemes by spending public money.”

He said, “These agencies are associated with the RSS in some way. We will question the government as to how it has appointed them and on what basis. The BJP’s image is clouded following the Karnataka election results. The party’s real face and its agenda have been exposed. The BJP has not been able to fulfil a single promise it has made to voters. I wonder what achievements it would be promoting.” 

- Select and upload images that arouse people’s curiosity about the BJP. 
- Design creative content in consonance with party’s campaign and adapt them to platforms.
- Curate topics on relevant (#) hashtags on digital platforms. 
- Use influencers from society and social media and invite them to be endorsers.
- Maintain a rapport with digitally influential people having a large follower base. 
- Send bulk SMSes and emails 
- Tracking conversations, links and blogs about programmes and issues and topics relating thereto.
- Tracking sentiments: Positive, neutral or negative.
- Use effective third-party tracking tools to track the progress of each network. 
- Reporting any discrepancy in sentiments. 
- Channelise and draft a plan to neutralise negative sentiments. 
- Employ requisite analytical and software tools to carry out social media activities.

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