The Lok Sabha elections are proving a good time for advertising and marketing in India, as political parties invest in every available channel in search of voter support and as media owners and brands latch onto the democratic process for a range of promotions.

Transit advertising has become a new focus for political parties, with Congress, for example, applying interior and exterior branding to Delhi Metro trains across a number of lines, Media4Growth reported, while Congress and BJP have each invested in more than 20,000 auto-rickshaw ad spots, Exchange4Media noted.

Meanwhile, media owners MTV and Zee are tapping into the election with purpose-driven messages encouraging viewers to get out and vote, while MX Player has portrayed the elections as a ‘drama’ which viewers can keep up with via the OTT platform itself.

Fast food brands, including McDonald’s and Subway, are offering discounts and free drinks to young voters who can show their ink-stained finger to prove they have voted; Hero is offering to service two-wheeled vehicles at a third of the usual price.

And in one Assam district, local traders have turned election time into a discount season, Quartz India reported, with jewellery shops, hotels and pharmacists among those involved.

“Elections are the biggest event this season and why should not brands be a part of it,” asked Jai Krishnan, CEO, Samsonite South Asia.

“As a responsible brand, we want to be part of the big celebration,” he told best Media Info. “Elections are one big celebration that every Indian is a part of, irrespective of religion and caste. Brands during this time get to connect emotionally with consumers of all types.”

Samsonite’s own effort in this space (#EkDinKiChutti) encourages people to take a day off and travel home to vote.

While some brands are using the election simply to achieve greater visibility, Krishnan insisted that Samsonite was trying to “maintain a connection” with its consumers.

“There is a very subtle link that we have kept with the product,” he said. “With our election campaign, we are reminding people of their basic duty to vote. Our objective behind this campaign is more social than marketing.”

Sourced from Best Media Info, Campaign India, Quartz India, Mumbrella Asia, Exchange4Media, Media4Growth; additional content by WARC staff