Suresh Kochattil giving a presentation about the NaMo campaign (Photo: Deccan Chronicle)
Hyderabad: Earlier this week, Narendra Modi shot down the idea of including his life story in schoolbooks. While schoolstudents will not get to learn about the chaiwala’s journey to become the prime minister, students of top B-schools like IIMs, Indian School of Business (ISB), XLRI and MDI-Gurgaon will study his massive electoral success.
Meanwhile in the city, Suresh Kochattil, head of the Hyderabad-chapter of Modi’s social media campaign, is receiving requests from ad agencies, colleges, clubs, and techies to tell them “How brand NaMo was built”.
On Friday, Suresh made one such presentation at the Begumpet-based Tempest Advertising.
NaMo and Nirma Suresh asked the ad professionals: “How do you make a brand national that is not known outside Gujarat? If Narendra Modi was a product, how could he be compared to the Nirma washing detergent, which took off first in Gujarat and became a national brand later?”
To make this happen, the best of advertising hands were hired: Piyush Pandey of Ogilvy & Mather, Prasoon Joshi of McCann Worldgroup and Sam Balsara of Madison World, and, the trio from Soho Square — Satish deSa, Anurag Khandelwal and Samrat Bedi — who coined: “Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkaar”, “Jantaa Maaf Nahi Karegi” and “Achchey Din Aaney Waaley Hain”.
These brains were then bound by mandates of BJP’s Piyush Goyal, Ajay Singh and of course, NaMo himself, who was clear: “Focus on real issues: jobs, price rise, problem of corruption. And get 150 million new voters to cast their votes.”
And yes, 70 per cent of them did vote. Suresh says, “That was because of the digital campaign. This 150-million segment is largely a heavy user of social media. We had a dedicated team of eight Hyderabadis, in the city and even in the UK and the US, who were tackling negative posts against Mr Modi.”
It wasn’t just social media or money Sam Balsara of Madison had recently revealed that the BJP’s media campaign cost less than Rs 500 crore. While the post-analysis of BJP’s election campaign hasn’t concluded, Suresh shares the estimated break-up: 5 per cent was spent on social media, 35 per cent on TV ads, 20 per cent on outdoor campaign and 40 per cent on print media strategies.
“Thousands of concepts were floated by our volunteer groups like CAG (Citizens for Accountable Governance) and India 272+ such as Statue of Unity, The Indian Republic, Sanvad, Sankalp, Shresht Bharath, Young Indian Leaders Conclave, Manthan, Vijay Sankalp Diwas and the show stealing 3D Hologram campaigns.”
Suresh singled out the concept of “Chai Pe Charcha” and taught his audience “to spot the right opportunities”.
Here’s how: “As soon as Mani Shankar Aiyar (of Congress) made the remark that Modi was free to sell tea at a Congress session, these CAG guys thought, why not turn around the situation? In two days, they organised the first Chai Pe Charcha session with Modi.
They ended up hosting 4,000 such sessions. It struck a chord with the common man. In fact, BJP must be sending a bouquet of flowers to Mani Shankar now.”
“Around 15 to 20 lakh people volunteered for Modi’s campaign and if that was to be converted into money, it would run into crores again,” say Suresh.
The USP No matter how extensive your campaign plan is, if the product doesn’t have an USP or the pull, it will go nowhere. And, Modi knew exactly what to do.
Suresh explains: “In the last nine months, Mr Modi travelled 3 lakh km across 25 states talking to people, meeting them. I am talking about a 63-year-old man. He would address six rallies each day. And he would customise his speech at every venue. Just five minutes before his speech, he would be given a slip in Gujarati stating what the rivals had said in the last four to five hours, what are the local problems etc.”
“No matter which part of the country he was in, he would fly to Ahmedabad an hour before the 3D hologram production started. We did 1,350 3D rallies in total.”
“Mr Modi knew what was right. So, he never gave interviews to CNN-IBN or NDTV, who were after his life following the Godhra riots. He knew English TV channels reach only 3 per cent. There is nothing much to lose.”
Suresh adds, “Wherever he went, he addressed the youth. He knew the message he was giving out, ‘the message of hope’.”