Videos, parody shows, and digital conclaves are new campaign tools for parties
What does German film Downfall, released in 2004, have to do with the Kerala Assembly elections?
A popular parody video of a scene showing Hitler in a bunker with his close aides pointing at a Congress-BJP alliance is now being shared across all Left profiles. In another Internet bubble, Congress workers are gleefully sharing a humorous video of a tea shop owner inquiring about money that has gone missing to an employee, who is shown taking pot shots at the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the gold smuggling case in his defence.
Meanwhile, the BJP has come out with a series of videos based on the 1991 Malayalam film Sandesham, with the two brothers portrayed as Congress and Left supporters and their parents asking them to take the ‘right’ path of BJP.
This Assembly election season, it is a virtual war on social media in Kerala, with short videos, memes, parody videos, campaign songs, posters, and 3D images becoming a tool to promote a candidate or party and put down the opponents.
While the crisply produced official videos of the candidates are popular, what gets the message through to an even wider audience are the seemingly ‘nuetral’ and user-generated ones, with less production values, of people sharing their personal experiences of how their lives have changed for the better or for the worse.
The data analytics team of each of the parties study the needs of different social or age group and focus on creating a targeted content.
Anil K. Antony, convener of the State Congress digital media cell, says over the past one year, the State Congress has got 50,000 online coordinators and content distribution channels at every level as part of its Janasakthi initiative.
“Toolkits have been prepared for each constituency, as localised campaigns are more effective. Two war rooms are functioning, in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, which work like an online digital platform,” he says.
The CPI(M) is banking on the strength of its organisational machinery to quickly deliver content at all levels. “One of our focus points this time is media criticism. We also have given instructions to not have content personally attacking anyone, but only projecting our positives,” says a coordinator of the CPI(M)’s cyber wing.
One of the BJP’s innovations this time are the almost daily digital conclaves with various personalities, including star campaigners such as cricketer Gautam Gambhir, which are broadcast across all the party’s digital platforms.
“Since we give prior information about the conclaves, we get thousands of viewers logging in at the same time from various places in several platforms. It is as effective as organising a big rally,” says P. Jayashankar, IT cell coordinator of BJP.
Conspicuous by their absence are the long texts on various campaign issues. The mantra now is short, snappy content, to capture the attention of a generation, for whom there is no dearth of content availability.
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