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Bollywood finally discovered branding

By Staff

By: Screen Weekly, IndiaFM
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
From being just a tactical one-off activity, companies are clearly making branded entertainment an integral part of their marketing strategy.

Bollywood has finally discovered branding. In 2006, according to industry estimates, brand cameos earned around Rs 80 crore, and as a result, even small and medium-budget movies as well as animated films are hoping to cash in on this new and lucrative revenue stream. Indeed, media analysts and industry watchers expect that figure to climb to Rs 200 crore this year, and reach Rs 800 crore in 2010 Last year, Farhan Akhtar's Don promoted Tag Heuer watches, Motorola, Garnier, Citibank and, of course, Oakley sunglasses as well as Louis Philippe outfits. Dhoom:2 promoted Coke, Pennzoil, Pepe, Sony, Disney channel, Sugar Free, Mc-Donald's, Speed, Suzuki Zeus and Lage Raho Munnabhai featured Worldspace, IOCL, Go Air, MSN, Good Day, Kurkure, Bright Outdoor and Reliance Communications. Krrish, on the other hand, prominently featured Singapore Tourism Board, Sony, John Players, Bournvita, Tide, Hero Honda, Boro Plus, Lifebuoy, HP Power, Acron Rangeela, Hansaplast and Lays chips, followed by merchandising of Krrish masks, lunch boxes, water bottles.

In fact, the way Krrish was marketed even made it a case study at the Indian Institute of Management, Indore. Producer Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment claims that once the script is fine-tuned, production houses choose brands that will fit into the film without hurting its content. Says he: "Our new film, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd, is also going to be smartly marketed and branded and we waited until we got the right mix before releasing the film."

In 2006, the most successful Bollywood branding was probably that of Rang De Basanti with its limited edition RDB Coca-Cola bottle, and cameos of Airtel, LG, Berger and Provogue in the film. The cola company had a special campaign for Dhoom:2 where Hrithik Roshan encouraged youngsters to take a swig and "go dhoom". Mentos was branded smartly in Chup Chupke and Jaan-emann. Brands like Audi, Kotak Insurance, Eros Jewellery and Taj Mahal Tea made their branding debut in Ravi Chopra's Baabul. "Revenue from brand associations totalled Rs 4 crore, so most of our promotion costs were taken care of and BR Films had to put up very little money," reveals BR Films business head Sanjay Bhutiani. Kotak and Baabul have released a joint TV campaign that is currently on air: 'Spirit of Baabul is celebrated with Kotak Life Insurance'. "Similar to the Tide-Baghbaan TVC, we have released the Kotak-Baabul campaign," says Bhutiani. The high profile in-film ad in Baabul featured the Audi A6. Chivas Regal, Eros Jewellery and Audi together contributed Rs 40 lakh in cash and kind for the music release and fashion show of Baabul.

According to Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Senior Vice-President, UTV, while branding does not contribute significantly to revenues yet, it has enormous potential. "After 2006's success story, more FMCG brands and durables have woken up to the power of movies as a means to push their products. Companies are increasingly opting for joint promotions. In our forthcoming film, Metro, Lenovo is going to be prominently branded; in Hat Trick, FedEx will be a joint promotion," says Kapoor.

For UTV's Goal, Reebok worked closely with the film's costume designer to create outfits for the cast. Reebok India already sponsors top soccer clubs in India like East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan Sporting and the theme of Goal revolves round soccer. "Hence, the fit for us was very natural and strategic," explains Sajid Shamim, director-marketing, Reebok India. Besides helping to promote the movie with a media campaign,

Reebok would also highlight its association with the movie. Sources said the footwear company would spend Rs 2-Rs 3 crore on these marketing activities. UTV will also use Reebok's retail outlets to advertise the movie. "Unlike most associations today where a brand is a force fit or an afterthought; this is a strategic and seamless association between the brand and the film," says Vinit Karnik, Senior Director-entertainment, Broad-Mind. Even animated films are jumping on the 'brandwagon'.

After Hanuman 2, Adlabs Films Ltd and kid's apparel giant Gini&Jony are producing an animated feature film based on the characters Gini and Jony, mascots of the label. Says Prakash Lakhani, MD of Gini &Jony: "We believe that an animation film based on our characters will take our brand to the next level, and we have found an ideal partner in Adlabs." Spends have increased from a meagre 1% in 2005 to as much as 3.5% in the 2006-07. Media buying for branded entertainment is now a specialised activity.

Moreover, companies are even seeking to associate with films featuring their brand ambassadors. Compaq, Tag Heuer and Airtel all added their branding to brand ambassador SRK's Don in the form of co-promotions. "Creating branded content has a greater impact than making a commercial," says Navin Shah, CEO of P9 Integrated, the media-brand arm of Percept, predicting, "By 2010, branding and product placements will contribute to a huge amount of revenue." For brand managers, an association with Bollywood gives them a clutter breaking opportunity to look beyond the 30-second television commercial.

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