Anatomy of a modern-day political PR campaign in India

The Anna Hazare fast, now that’s its over, was a nifty PR campaign and a great political one at that. While the 74-year-old Anna with his 12-day fast resembling the many fasts that Gandhi made for the country before and after independence has become an icon; ‘Team Anna’ walked away with PR success.  Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and other popular people like actors Anupam Kher, Om Puri and Aamir Khan all made up the PR machine behind the scenes for Team Anna. 

Carefully planned use of the Mahatma image, which has irked a lot of people,has proved to be the main reason for the stupendous success the campaign received from the masses. Now, here when one uses the  term ‘masses’ loosely, one refers to the great Indian middle class who are tech-savvy and who are the most unhappy with the scams in the country.

Popular culture called the movement – ‘The second freedom struggle’ and so on; from cheesy prayer-like songs to humour on placards, every angle was dealt with beautifully. Team Anna even resorted to street play like characterization of the two-faced politicians with even an on-the-spot skit by the hero-worshipped former Police Chief, Kiran Bedi. If there were points of conflict in team Anna it was not visible to the people.  What was visible was this…

Anna Hazare Protest - Lessons in PRAnti-Graft movement

Peaceful protests

Festival-like  protest ground (Ramlila Maidan)

Frequent Media appearances

Negotiations

Bollywood/celebrity backing

Youtube videos

Tweets and Facebook posts

SMSes

Candle light marches

Rhetoric

Medical Bulletins

Drama on live TV

India Against corruption campaign had it all and in the centre of it all a patriotic 74-year-old activist who never married and was without any political aspirations. Team Anna says the battle is only half won while in the Parliament a couple of parties did remind the Congress and the main opposition that the Anna Campaign was ‘elitist’ and did not have anything in it for the real masses out there – the poor!

Nevertheless, this campaign was a lesson in running PR campaigns for a large country like India which stands apart in its national reputation from its neighbours in the region. Democracy won finally – both with the people and in the Parliament.