Govt must not interfere & allow free market forces to play in media: Sam Balsara


May 21, 2014

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Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World in a freewheeling chat talks about offering a prize to anyone who can accurately state the actual budget spent on mass media for the BJP campaign, expectations from the new government, and learnings from the BJP campaign that can be applied to other industries as well.

Article by Priyanka Mehra | Exchange 4 Media

fs_55782 What are your expectations from the new government?

The new government must focus on growth in economy and provide incentives for that; provide infrastructure, make India the toast of the world once again, not focus on giving doles to the poor. Even if you distribute all the money to the poor, there isn’t enough money to go around. It needs to grow the money.

What do you think the new government needs to do to streamline and better the current media industry scenario?

In the media area, it must not interfere and allow free market forces to play.

What are some of the learnings for you, from spearheading the BJP campaign that you can apply to other FMCG and product campaigns done by Madison going forward?

• Don’t underspend: Most brands make that mistake and dilute their campaigns and sometimes waste the entire advertising money

• To change consumer behaviour or establish brand preference – multimedia is a must

Do you think political parties should continue to have agencies even post the elections?

We could make a huge difference in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Communication is a very important element in the nation building process. Most political parties unfortunately think of it only at election time.

There has been a fair amount of speculation on the actual monies spent on the media budget…

Even some professionals have put the mass media campaign at Rs 1,000 crore. I am offering a prize to anyone, mass media professionals included, who can guess or calculate the exact number spent on mass media!

What sealed the deal for Madison Media in being awarded the BJP campaign duties?

All major agencies were competing for the account. Though we entered the fray late, what won us the business was a lot of detailed work revolving around media reach in different constituencies, grouping them in three priorities, and summing up the whole strategy in an elegant 10-pillar strategy. Our reputation for transparency and integrity sealed the deal.