Before civic polls, Uddhav govt plans Rs 16.5-cr ad blitz ‘to promote 2 years’ achievements’

Mumbai: Ahead of civic polls in Maharashtra’s major cities, including the capital city of Mumbai, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has planned an advertisement blitzkrieg across different media, talking up its achievements.

The state government has earmarked Rs 16.53 crore for advertisements to be rolled out across different media, like social media, OTT (over the top) platforms, FM radio channels, newspapers, outdoor hoardings, and private television channels between January and March 2022.

The timing of the publicity campaign coincides with elections to ten municipal corporations, including the state’s major cities Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Nashik. The polls are to be held early this year.

A senior official from the Maharashtra Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) told ThePrint that the MVA government has planned the campaign now mainly to showcase its achievements in two years. The MVA, a coalition of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress, completed two years in power on 28 November last year.

“We did not have any major publicity events to mark the completion of two years of this government except for an advertisement in newspapers. During the first year too, most of the expenditure on advertising and publicity was for spreading awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic and we did not spend much on the state government’s schemes and achievements,” the senior official said.

“If you look at the previous government’s five years, they spent hundreds of crores on publicity campaigns. Here, we are trying to get the state government’s message across to people through different platforms at the least possible cost,” he added.


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Documentary to be shown on DD, interviews on Marathi TV channels

The DGIPR has already spent Rs 4 crore of the Rs 16.53 crore budget on issuing advertisements in all major newspapers of Maharashtra around the time the MVA completed two years in power, according to a government resolution published by the General Administration Department, under which the DGIPR is constituted.

Now, the state government has set aside Rs 1.45 crore on preparing new print and audiovisual creatives and updating old ones that can be broadcast on social media, television channels, radio, and so on.

The DGIPR has earmarked Rs 4.05 crore, which is almost a fourth of the total budget for the campaign, for putting up the state government’s major populist decisions on close to a thousand hoardings across Maharashtra’s different districts.

Besides, this month, the state government will broadcast advertisements as well as interviews on private Marathi television channels that are on the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity list. For this, the DGIPR has set aside Rs 2.6 crore.

Another Rs 1.3 crore will be spent on theatre and street plays about the state government’s schemes, while the government plans to broadcast a documentary on major development works on the Doordarshan and Sahyadri television channels, on which it plans to spend Rs 80 lakh. The documentary will be shown once every week from January to March this year.

The DGIPR has also budgeted Rs 30 lakh for a chatbot to give answers to ‘frequently asked questions’ about the state government’s various schemes, and another Rs 40 lakh to publish two information booklets — one on its work across Maharashtra and the other focussing on its work in Mumbai. Separately, as part of the total campaign budget, the DGIPR has also set aside funds for advertising on social media, community radio channels, FM radio channels, OTT platforms, and so on.

(Edited by Manoj Ramachandran)


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Source: The Print