Best and worst TV Campaigns for Election 2013 Pakistan

Before I start, I would like to declare the BEST TV Commercial according to me for Elections 2013. And it was:


So, What an amazing journey it has been for the elections tomorrow! Though all marketing tools were actively used by parties competing for the elections, the quality and quantity of TV commercials by different political parties was historic. I loved every bit of them and no doubt they were amazing. I, however, to divert myself from the anxiety of elections tomorrow, have analyzed all the commercials and tried to figure out the BEST and the WORST TV commercial campaigns by all the three active parties (PTI, PMLN, and PPP).

The process:

I have given score to TV campaigns on base of ten factors which, in my opinion, should be the focus of TV commercials made for election campaigns. The scale is from 0 to 3.

0 being the worst and 3 being the best. However, if there is something exceptional, a 4 will be awarded for that factor. Following are the ten factors I have used to give my scores:

1)      Masses – Showing masses in an election campaign helps forming the opinion of general public that people are supporting this particular party in large numbers. Following the herding effect, many people can vote in favor of a party when they realize that masses are following it. Capitalizing on this physiological behavior, TV campaign makers actively use this to make the products acceptable among masses.

2)      Emotional support through songs – Powerful background song is very important. Songs are used actively in commercials to make them appealing and to deliver the message. They help delivering the message to the heart and hence, form an important part of TVCs (TV commercials).

3)      Emotional support through elders – Understanding the psychology of general public is key to a successful TV campaign. Human beings are emotional, and this factor becomes very important when it comes to sub continent. Images and videos of old people hugging, kissing or loving a leader are amazingly powerful in melting our hearts. Effective use of such images can lead to a successful campaign

4)      Facts and figures – Facts and figures are important when it comes to improving public image, especially for the ones who vote on basis of performance. Effectively communicating the facts about projects in the past can lead a segment of public to vote for you

5)      Addressing competition — Addressing the competition in negative way can be against the ethics of TVCs but as they say, “politics is a dirty game” or ‘everything is good in love or war”, this can be an effective way for educating public.

6)      Engaging all age groups — TV Commercials have their cost and, therefore, should be prepared to have maximum impact factor on the masses. It should address effectively all the age groups to have its value maximization.

7)      Creativity — Creative, unique, and new ideas always attract public. They, however, have been known to have smallest effect on population in South Asia, according to marketing surveys.

8)      Sympathy —  Events like death of a leader or injury drive public sympathy which can be effectively used by parties in TV commercials, especially in elections, to get more votes.

9)      Mentioning current problems —  Highlighting current problems faced by public and promising to help the nation out of it is one of major part of election campaign.

10)    Communicating party manifesto —  Party manifesto should idealy drive the public vote and a mature campaign should address this.


THIRD POSITION: Pakistan Peoples Party (Score: 17/30)

Though PML(N) scores the highest marks in my scoring, my heart beats for the amazingly witty commercials which were prepared by PPP. They were so amusing that people literally had laughter fits and realized how PPP leaders can hit below the belt when it comes to competition. They kept updating their commercials and kept PML(N) on a defensive mode. Their first commercial on Shehbaz Sharif and his promises about electricity was so powerful that Shahbaz Sharif had to make a special commercial and cry like a baby in front of public about his energy stance. I loved them!

a)      Masses (1/3) — PPP’s campaign adequately showed masses present in julsas of Benazir Bhutto and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Since these videos were old, the effect was not as compelling as it felt for other parties.

b)      Emotional support through songs (2/3) — You will hate me for giving a TWO to their songs which were more about begging for vote than any other thing. But, they were customized songs and they had emotional lyrics. Considering the emotional public in Pakistan, this is one compelling factor and they tried their best to capitalize on this. You might not be effected by them, but think about the masses in rural areas and your mothers who shed tears when the singer mentions BB not being alive to see her children grow.

c)       Emotional support through elders (1/3) — One common thing about PPP commercials was that most of them were only focusing on arousing emotions. Videos and pictures of BB and ZAB being loved by old and young generation sent a strong message to the public sensitive to murder of these prominent figures.

d)      Facts and figures (2/3) — No doubt completing 5 years is one great feather in PPP’s cap, and they showed this along with other accomplishments like NFC awards and Change in name of NWFP in their commercials.Many other adds on Waseela-e-taleem and waseela-e-sehet and Income support programs were also aired.

e)      Addressing competition (4/3) —.I have to give them a FOUR on this one. How can we forget the laughter we had after watching the first commercial on Shehbaz Sharif and his promises about electricity. That is my Favorite one. This followed by more powerful commercials focusing on PML(N) and their facts about Nuclear power, corruption, respect of supreme court, and terrorism.  Such was the power of these commercials that unchallengeable leaders of PML(N) had to become defensive and come up with explanations in their Julsas and commercials only due to these TVCs. Amazing!!!

f)       Engaging all age groups (2/3) — PPP has tried to address the labor class through promises of higher wages but has not specifically addressed any one age group in its TVCs.

g)      Creativity (2/3) — Though there was no engaging concept used by PPP, their brilliant updating and creation of commercials against PML(N) had no match. Their every new commercial was a roller coaster ride of laughter for masses.

h)      Sympathy (3/3) — PPP’s adds were based on sympathy. They focused on BB’s death, ZAB’s death and Bilawal being decedent of martyrs in all their commercials.

i)        Mentioning current problems — (0/3) PPP’s TVCs have out rightly ignored all the current problems being faced by public in their TVCs.

j)        Communicating party manifesto (0/3) — Though TVCs of PPP have lots of speeches by bilawal bhutto, but none of them talks about party manifesto.



SECOND POSITION: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf  (Score: 18/30)

Being a PTI supporter myself, I hate to say that PTI had the worst TV campaign for elections 2013 if we consider how they neglected all their major strengths in their TV Commercials. An immature and lack of professional approach was applied in their TV campaign. They could have easily capitalized on lot of their strengths which were completely ignored. My fellow PTI supporters might insist that they don’t want to manipulate the public, but oh well, this is not enough for a reason to make a lousy TV campaign. Keep in mind that I am addressing the TVCs used by all parties in the last two weeks before the elections only.

a)      Masses (1/3) — First of all, PTI had changed the political landscape of Pakistan following their October 2011 Julsa in Lahore. The mass gathered in all these Julsas showed how strongly general public supported PTI. Unfortunately, PTI did not show the masses gathered in all their Julsas except for only one of their TV commercials. This is such an important factor, that even low budget commercials of MQM, JUI and independent candidates showed it. Only one point because they could not capitalize on it as much as they could.

b)      Emotional support through songs (3/3) — Thanks to Attaullah Khan and other singers, PTI had amazing customized songs made for their campaign which were used actively in their commercials. The songs were powerful and yes, they were the main drivers of PTI’s TV campaigns.

c)       Emotional support through elders (0/3) — Imran khan is loved, literally, by the elders in every family, specially the grandparents. Owing to his contributions to Shaukat Khanum, there are lot of videos (or pictures) easily available where elders have been kissing him or hugging him. Unfortunately, the immature team did not realize the huge impact of such videos on masses and did not market this at all.

d)      Facts and figures (1/3) — Though PTI has no previous record of managing the government, but Shaukat Khanum and their strong public opposition against different government policies could be used to show public the level of commitment of PTI’s leadership for general public. (I gave one point considering that they had nothing to show, so its not the fault of campaign managers).

e)      Addressing competition (1/3) — PTI has not negatively criticized other opposition parties in their election campaign. Highlighting wrong facts and figures quoted by competition, in my opinion, shows an aggressive approach while serving the purpose of educating the public.

f)       Engaging all age groups (1/3) — PTI has primarily been targeting the youth in their whole campaign but that has created a disconnect between them and the older generation. PTI could have used certain images more aggressively to bridge that.

g)      Creativity (4/3) — No doubt, certain commercials made by PTI were the most creative ones and had new ideas. Though the ideas looked bit childish in the start, they connected well with the general public and remained popular due to their unique themes. Therefore, a FOUR.

h)      Sympathy (3/3) — Thanks to the unfortunate event in Lahore when Imran khan fell, PTI was able to deploy his emotional message from the hospital overnight as a commercial. Though it ran for a couple of days, it must have been the most effective TVC by PTI.

i)        Mentioning current problems — (3/3) PTI TVCs have put forward some good effort in mentioning and making public realize all the important explicit and implicit problems faced by current public in their TVCs. Indeed a good effort on this front.

j)        Communicating party manifesto (1/3) — Though PTI has been mentioning many things that need to be changed in current system, an explicit TVC for party menifesto has not been made.



FIRST POSITION: Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) – (Score: 24/30)

PML(N) has surprised me with the maturity of their TV campaign. It was powerful and effective. Very maturely and professionally prepared by keeping all the important strengths in sight!

a)      Masses (4/3) — PML (N) had large number of public in their Julsas in certain cities. The TV campaign team of this party hugely capitalized on them and showed them in almost all of their commercials. These images and videos had a huge impact on the public opinion where everyone I knew discussed that why are so many people still supporting PML(N). A perfect use of this powerful weapon.

b)      Emotional support through songs (2/3) — Though PML(N) had no famous custom made song at their disposal, they deployed song sang by Rahat quite efficiently and yes, it touched the hearts. Very effective due to choice of the singer. In the end, quality wins over quantity.

c)       Emotional support through elders (3/3) — Another amazing tool used by PML(N) campaign. Frequent images and videos of elderly people hugging and kissing Nawaz Shareef, were not only heart touching, but compelling too.

d)      Facts and figures (3/3) — PML(N)’s one commercial only focused on flashing of around 20 of their high profile projects (though controversial) on the screen. I have to admit, this one even made me think that PML(N) actually did some work in their combined period of 4 years in government. Bravo to the campaign managers.

e)      Addressing competition (1/3) —.Though initially PML(N) had no commercials addressing their competition or mentioning facts against them, the amazing chain of commercials made by PPP forced PML(N) to come up with their own versions against PPP and PTI. Best one by them was the one where Imran Khan asks youth to vote for Sher. However, they were no way close to the awesomeness of such commercials made by PPP.

f)       Engaging all age groups (3/3) — Following PTI’s trend of engaging the youth, PML(N) leaders also focusing on this segment of population in their debates but none of their commercials specifically focused one generation. Broad based commercials showed glimpses of all ages.

g)      Creativity (2/3) — Focus of commercials made by PML(N) was primarily on delivering facts through solid reasoning and use of psychology. However, the quality and combination of streamlined images and sounds were quite professional.

h)      Sympathy (1/3) — Since PML(N) no unfortunate event in their party, the campaign could not capitalize on sympathy. However, considering the mature management of TVCs, if they had any such event, Im sure they would have used it brilliantly.

i)     Mentioning current problems (2/3) —  PML(N) has actively addressed the current issues faced by the public and have tried to win hearts by communicating that they understand the needs of the public.

j)        Communicating party manifesto (3/3) PML(N) has made a particular add addressing their party manifesto and hence, in my opinion, effectively communicated it to the public.


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