Malaysia gov’t bashed for $155m election ad spending

BN campaign1The Malaysian government has spent 500 million ringgit ($155 million) for election advertisements ahead of the May 2013 polls, as much as the next four advertising categories combined, according to a report on local advertising growth by Vizeum Media, an international media-buying agency.

The advertising blitz drove government ad spending to a historical high, the agency said, and represented a 160 per cent increase over the same period in 2012.

The Prime Minister’s Department took up the lion’s share with ad spendings of $81 million for the first six months of 2013 or five times more than in 2012.

The sum made the Prime Minister’s Department the country’s second-largest single advertiser behind Unilever Malaysia. The department used the money to advertise massively on billboards, print, television and radio, as well as in social media on the Internet. Money was also spent on a high number of giveaways such as caps, pens, stickers and other items.

However, despite the expensive campaign, the ruling Barisan Nasional party took a hit in elections and lost 7 seats from the 140 it had won five years ago.