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Politics of Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

If Mahama has performed, why giant billboards? - George Andah

NPP Parliamentary candidate for Awutu Senya West, George Andah, says the erection of giant billboards by the governing NDC exposes the false claims about the President's achievements.

He said if the government's achievements are so tangible as it often touts, why the governing National Democratic Congress spending odious amounts of money erecting massive billboards to market its presidential candidate, John Mahama.

"Why are the president's much-touted good works not enough to speak for him in the election," he asked.

He was commenting on why the New Patriotic Party has very few billboards in town compared to the NDC and compared to what it did in the 2008 election when it was in power.

Although he does not discount the contribution billboards could make to his party's success in the December polls, the former Marketing Communications guru said a lot more can be done to sway voters to the camp of the NPP.

“There is a strategy for everything, billboards will come. We are a party in opposition and we have to be extremely sensitive to the feelings of Ghanaians,” he told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host Nhyira Addo.

The show was discussing an article written by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni. In the article ‘Where are the NPP billboards?’, Manasseh wondered why the NPP seems to be lagging behind with the display of huge billboards like it did in 2008.

The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) on the other hand, as seen in Manasseh’s article, is well represented with big billboards with pictures of President Mahama and its respective parliamentary candidates.

The photographs were taken in the central regional capital, Cape Coast and Accra. Manasseh believes the NDC billboards, which are huge and in the face of the electorate, give the party more visibility that the NPP.

But Mr Andah disagrees. He was of the view that a huge billboard is a waste of time if it is not backed with massive ground work.

“You cannot take just one element of the marketing mix and assume that because the brand is not focusing on billboards then it means that the total marketing communication is not working.

“Everywhere that we go Ghanaians are complaining to us that they do not have jobs, they are complaining about infrastructure. What impact do these billboards splashed in the face of the voter necessarily have on the decision of the target,” he queried.

He said the NPP, as stipulated by its campaign manager Peter McManu, has put in place a strategy that seeks to reach the people on the grounds.

That is a message that has direct contact with the electorates, he said, insisting it cannot be assumed that merely because there are no billboards of the NPP, the message is not being sold or received.

“There are different strategies for different brands at different times. There are different ways beyond billboards to create awareness and to drive connection of a message and currently, the school of thought is that there must be a balance between the big out there in your face communication and then the subtle personalized engagement,” he stressed.

He wondered why the Mahama-led administration is spending so much on billboards when they claim they have improved the lives of Ghanaians.

To him, “it smacks of opulence for a government that seems to be doing well when people are in poverty...If the people know that you have affected their lives what is the reason in spending so much money on billboards?

"It doesn't make sense and for me as a marketer, there is a total disconnect between the message and the execution that is happening on the ground as far as the NDC is concerned," he stressed.