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Brand GOI buys maximum slots on TV

The maximum number of slots inserted by a single brand is in the range of 22,000-23,000. But the Government has gone further to buy over 26,000 slots in a single week. Media and brand experts say it is not surprising given Narendra Modi’s strategic dependence of communication tools

Raushni Bhagia | Mumbai | June 10, 2016


The NDA Government has been in the news for a lot of reasons, both positive and negative. Their promotions and communication strategy has attracted comments from various strata of society. Across demographics, Indians the world over have appreciated or criticised the promotional stunts of the NDA Government, more for their leader and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

The Government has also been proved as one of the most interactive and dialogue-oriented in the country in last 68 years of free India. As the Modi government completed two years in May 2016, another campaign titled ‘Transforming India’ hit TV screens to mark the Government’s achievements.

On the basis of BARC data released for Week 22 (May 2 -June 3), the Government of India has had the highest number of advertisement insertions on television, as much as 26,236. This is the highest number of slots purchased by any brand in this week, followed by HUL’s soap brand Lifebuoy which had 17,640 insertions.

One of the most hyped and young brands - Patanjali - stood third with 17,521 insertions, followed by HUL’s brand Fair & Lovely with 16,598 insertions. Dettol stood at No. 5 with 16,596 insertions in week 22.

Brand and advertising experts are not surprised by this brand act, considering that the government’s communication attempts have always been phenomenal.

Anita Nayyar Anita Nayyar

Anita Nayyar, CEO India & South Asia, Havas Media, said, “It’s a two-year celebration of sorts and they were wanting to highlight their achievements. Being the new government after the Congress, it is important for them to establish their achievements. It is very understandable that sending a message to the public at the right time is crucial for them.”

Kiran Khalap Kiran Khalap

Kiran Khalap, Co-founder and Managing Director, Chlorophyll Brand and Communications, said, “There are no surprises here. Modi’s strategic dependence of communication tools is very well documented: part of the success at the General Elections could be attributed to the deployment of multiple channels, including the very creative ‘Give a missed call and listen to Modi’s speech’ idea. Therefore, it is expected that brand BJP will use any milestone to communicate its achievements.”

Going overboard?

It is worthwhile to note that generally, the maximum number of slots inserted by a single brand is in the range of 22,000-23,000, going by data for the last four weeks. This time around, the Government of India has gone steps ahead to buy over 26,000 slots in a single week. Is it overdoing the message?

Nayyar does not agree with the over-bombardment theory. She said, “It is not going overboard I think, because in this particular case, it is more about the government’s achievements than brand Modi. No doubt that they have advertised more and enough about him, but for Modi, it is beyond advertising. There is a lot of PR happening around his visits and other initiatives. It goes on adding to it.”

All said and done, any advertising has to reap results for the spender. While there is no sales to spends ratio, is there a return on investment (RoI) calculation method here?

Nandini Dias Nandini Dias

Nandini Dias, CEO, Lodestar UM, said, “Considering the government has to reach all citizens and has the maximum amount of new things happening, it is not surprising. It will be interesting to see statistics of projects completed and monetised and the advertising ratio – like we see ad to sales ratio of commercial products.”


Is there a reach game?

Despite the fact that Patanjali has been buying a large number of slots, it has mostly been on the less expensive frequency building slots than the expensive ones on the reach-building channels/genres. How was the Government of India’s media planning?

Nayyar vouches for reach. “It is topical and time-bound for them, which means that they would want to go on high reach premium slots. For Patanjali, they had time to slot their ads and they could make out a reach and frequency formula.”

Khalap however pointed out another aspect to these ad placements. “My only observation is that unlike mainstream media, social media are tools of multilogue, where the sender listens to the receiver and vice versa, and then other receivers start a dialogue. I don’t see enough of that happening,” he explained.

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