“Paa” Marketing: Auro is the strongest marketing pull

For quite some time, I have not blogged about movie marketing mainly because of two reasons – 1.) I think like all other industries, even marketers from Bollywood were lying low due to economy as well as industry specific reasons and 2.) Like typical herd mentality, all marketers for past few months have been using almost ditto strategies again and again for their movie promotions – same website, social media, contest, reality TV presence etc. etc. Nothing new or innovative was coming out which could be discussed or talked about. But well looks like this monotony is going to be broken with the release of Paa. Not only the trailor but the promotion and presentations too are interesting enough to generate curiosity amongst the audience. Here are some of the new strategies which the marketers are using to promote this movie:

  • Brand Auro: Despite the fact that one of the biggest brands of Bollywood is playing the lead role of the movie, what is interesting is that the movie in all its promotions and appearances is focusing on Brand “Auro” and not Brand “Big B”. The promotion started with a teaser campaign with just a glimpse of Auro and at first look I actually didn’t recognize that it was Mr. Bachchan himself. Since then I’ve seen the promotion of this movie in different reality shows as well as television programs but everywhere it’s Auro who has been the focus and not the star-cast like other movie promotions.
  • Smart messaging: These days in cinema halls you won’t be surprised if you get a sweet chide like – “Stand up for the national anthem, or I’ll tell Paa”, or “Switch off your cell phones, or I’ll tell Paa”. This is how the movie is being promoted in theaters via slide shows and messages. Interesting and surely catchy!
  • Engaging properties: Apart from the regular engagement properties like on-ground events and contests, online website, presence on social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, channel on YouTube etc., this movie has been creating a difference through some other interactive promotions too, for e.g., the apt placement of Auro Dance within the cricket match. During the recent series, whenever a wicket was taken a small figure of Auro used to come on the screen, doing that unique “Auro dance” (you can see this dance on its official website as well). On the occasion of children’s day, contests like “Paa and I” where a child can be the father for a day or “I Love my Paa” was organized and all the contests received enthusiastic participation from the kids.
Good to see a fresh movie theme with fresh marketing initiatives. This is a low budget film and hence not much money has been spent on promotional activities but even with a small budget, I think the movie has created enough buzz in the market due to its intelligent strategies. And who needs a large budget to promote a film which has got 67 year old Amitabh Bachchan playing the character of a 13 year old kid. The most expensive element in this 16 crore film is actually Big B’s make-up which accounts to 10 % of the overall budget; no wonder his looks in the film is topic of such a high interest amongst media as well as audience. Mr. Bachchan’s make up for his character Auro is actually going to be one of the strongest marketing pulls for this movie.

What’s Your Raashee on Facebook

While doing some random surfing on Facebook, stumbled upon this app for horoscope and compatibility check, in fact it came as a friend’s update. On visiting I realized it to be an app from the makers of the movie “What’s your Raashee”. Indeed another interesting example of movie marketing from Bollywood. After websites, communities, forums, twitter and other social media marketing, it was good to see an app based on the theme of the movie i.e., zodiac signs. The application requires the user to answer questions about their personal preferences and then based on the common characteristics with other signs, they will be shown a list of users whom they are compatible with while offering them an opportunity to add those people as friends on Facebook.

Considering my interest in movie marketing, I did install that app immediately but well I must say that I was bit disappointed with the overall impact. Horoscope, compatibility tests or fortune cookies are definitely some of the most commonly used apps on facebook, every third update on my friend’s feed is actually related to horoscope or zodiac signs. So potentially this app could have created a great viral effect if there were enough interactivity and feed triggers available in it. The feed functionality is available only while installing the app, for rest of the actions actually there is no way to publish your updates. The way it tests the compatibility between you and your partner is quite confusing. Now if the app is allowing you to check the compatibility and if your partner is available on facebook, the fun would have been if there was a way to inform the partner about the compatibility result, same is missing from this app. Also it would have established a better connect with the movie if somewhere the zodiac result of any person could have been associated with the relevant character of the movie:

  • For e.g., in my case the result reads something like this: “Kark, About Your Raashee – Consider starting a small business on the side…”; instead of showing it like any other zodiac trait announcement if it would have read something like this: Karka, About Your Raashee – So, you’re like Hansa (Cancerain character in the movie) who is also a Kark and…” then I think along with fun this app would have led to subtle promotion of the movie as well.

Overall a great idea and I loved the initiative but execution could have been thought about more. Let’s see how the movie fairs at BO tomorrow, I for sure gonna watch it soon as I love Ashutosh Gowarikar’s movies.

Movie Marketing : Promotion “By Chance”

As I always say movie marketers are getting innovative day by day in India. Now here are some interesting marketing initiatives which have created quite some buzz esp. in Mumbai for the movie “Luck By Chance”. The production house has directly handled the marketing campaign of this movie and they have launched online as well as offline properties to create an overall impact.

·         Apart from regular reality show presence, production house has created an offline reality property known as “Auto By Chance”. They have branded auto rickshaws in Mumbai with “Luck By Chance” theme and anybody who spots any of these autos gets a free ride anywhere in Mumbai free of cost! Wow, so time for Mumbaikars to get lucky J. They have also branded some bus shelters as well as local trains in Mumbai with the movie theme. One lucky winner of “Auto by Chance” promotion will be interviewed live on Big FM. (Image Source: TOI)


·         The movie has also created good visibility in online space through different contests and promotions on many portals but what is again different is this online game property known as “Luck by Chance – Lucky Break” on zapak.com. You can choose your identity as any of the actors of the movie and play this luck game. Nice game it is from a promotion point of view and lucky winners get to win some prizes as well.

As per me, they have taken a good integrated marketing approach. Let’s see how lucky this movie gets at BO. Personally speaking I’ve been waiting for this movie for long esp. after watching Rock On and I would have anyways gone to see the movie in theater even if there was no promotion for this movie at all. Yeah, I think that’s the aftereffect of “Rock On” on me J. But from initial reactions it looks like Farhan Akhtar has gone second time lucky in his acting stint as movie has received positive response across theaters.

Movie Marketing: Chandni Chowk to China


Co-branded ad of Thumbs Up to promote the film Chandni Chowk to China has been doing rounds on television for weeks but now they have also introduced co-branded pet bottle of Thumbs Up to create more buzz about this movie. This bottle has added to the visibility of the movie through extensive retail presence. CC2C is yet another film which has been marketed quite aggressively. According to press releases, the budget for brand tie ups and promotion of the movie is as high as Rs. 100 million which is close to Ghajini’s estimated budget of 140 million. Apart from the regular movie marketing stuffs, like communities on social networking sites, an interactive website and contests on different portals, CC2C has managed to create quite some excitement in the market through its association with popular properties like MTV Roadies, leading beverage brand Thumbs Up, airline brand Jet Airways, interesting radio contests like the one with Red FM in Mumbai (winners got the chance to fly kites with Akshay Kumar) & with Fever in Delhi (Fever had arranged for a bus where people could get on the bus and participate in the contest, the bus was having Kailash Kher, music director and lyricist of the movie, the bus finally went to studio where fans got the chance to meet Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone). Well, looks like this movie has managed to get a good ROI through branded association itself.

Marketing wise I think CC2C has done a good job but let’s see how the movie performs at the box office. The opening received a lukewarm response but I think it’s too early to comment on the same. I have personally not seen the movie yet so can’t comment about the movie as of now, though there are enough examples in the past to prove that like any other product, in case of movies also, just promotion can’t do anything if the end product is not right. Remember the likes of Drona or Love Story 2050 and their fate despite being heavily marketed by thier promoters???


Ghajini Marketing: Employees go bald!

While I was anyways impressed with these interesting collaterals of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi in multiplexes, I get to hear of this another very different kind of promotion campaign of Aamir Khan’s upcoming movie Ghajini. Now first speaking of this Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi collateral which I noticed in a popular retail outlet in the form of a table top followed by a theater in the form of a long standee where I went to watch this movie, it was having a very fascinating dual visual effect. Same standee was showing two different forms of Shahrukh and Anushka if seen from two different angles – one was showing him in his common man avtaar and the next angle was showing him in his hip and cool avtaar. Quite interesting and attention grabbing! Wish I could have taken a picture of the same.


But I think what Ghajini has done is far more catchy and really unique in terms of promotion strategy. Ghajini promoters have tied up with leading multiplexes in Mumbai where multiplex staffs have volunteered to sport the famous Ghajini hairstyle from 9th Dec – 25th Dec’08. Well, actually they have gone bald like Aamir, so I am not sure how they are saying that this promotion is valid only till 25th Dec’08. I think it has to be valid till they don’t get their hair back…LOL, isn’t it? Can you imagine everybody i.e., right from administrative and refreshment counter staffs to ushers being bald at the same time??? Have a look on this pic and for more such pics check out this NDTV photo gallery.





I must say I found this promotion to be quite interesting and very hatke! At least I had not heard of this kind of thing before in Bollywood. Looks like Ghajini is not leaving any stone unturned for competing against the big releases like RNBDJ and Jumbo. Though jumbo is a movie of very different genre but RNBDJ is definitely having SRK and when it’s a competition between SRK & Aamir…well the whole world knows how and what it is J. Promotion wise definitely Ghajini is standing out more, but let’s see who stands out more at BO finally?


In-film advertising is FASHIONable

Watched Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion yesterday, I liked the movie…really liked it, though I think the name of the movie should have been “Kimaya’s Fashion” or “Fashion from Kimaya” J. Another interesting case of in-film advertising with not one or two brands rather many. To name a few, which I can remember – Kimaya, Lenovo, Sunsilk, Café Coffee Day, Reebok, LG, Cellucom were the key brands with Kimaya and Lenovo being the most prominent ones. In fact in-film advertisements were so loud and clear that I couldn’t help myself noticing a Godrej carton as well while Priyanka was relocating but guess Godrej’s presence was just by chance and not planned as it was shown hardly for a second or two.

But the good thing about in-film advertising in Fashion was that the brands were chosen carefully and the presentation was perfectly in sync with the scenes and sequences. Nowhere they looked jarring or force-fitted and instead of being just used in background they were properly integrated with the script esp. Kimaya considering the last round of fashion shows in the movie were critical part of the script. Overall good example of in-film advertising otherwise we have seen some horrible examples of in-film advertisement in Bollywood – remember Subhash Ghai’s Yaadein and those numerous brands within the movie…oh God those were very irritating. Good thing is that commercially the movie has made quite some money by these in-film advertisements. Out of total 220 million investments in Fashion, the producer has made 85 million by just these branded advertisements only! Now that’s approx 39% of the overall investment and definitely is some money to make through in-film advertisements.

In-film advertising in Bollywood is getting popular day by day and advertisers are coming out with interesting ways of integration. If done in the right way, it’s definitely an interesting promotional strategy which is mutually beneficial for the brands as well as the movie – brands get the right kind of visibility and registration in the minds of consumers whereas producers get to make some good money to cover up their cost of production. But such in-film advertisements only make sense if they are done in the right way like the recent example of Fashion otherwise in most of the cases they just end up in being logo showcased in background for few seconds.

Movie Marketing: Drona

As I said earlier like Hollywood, movie marketing is getting innovative day by day in Bollywood as well. We can see quite ground-breaking examples with each movie, be it Jaane Tu Jaane Na, Love Story 2050, Bachna Ae Hasseno, Rock On, Phoonk etc. Promoters are trying everything from reality shows, online promotions, interactive websites, innovative contests, promotions on social media to the good ol’ days traditional promotions like television, hoardings and print. While everybody is trying to do some or other promotions but there are some who start a trend by trying out something hat ke. Joining the bandwagon of bit hat ke promotion now is the upcoming movie Drona.

  • This weekend television was flooded with Abhishek Bachchan appearance in every other program, you switch any channel and you can see Junior B doing only three things – either mentioning the fact that Drona is the best movie he would have worked in or praising his dad and wifey’s acting talent or shaking his legs on Kajra Re 🙂. So, what was so Hat ke about Drona promos on television? I mean these days weekends are flooded with star appearances promoting their upcoming movie, so wasn’t Abhishek’s presence same as any other movie promo on television these days? Well, it was more or less same on other channels wherein he was judging reality shows like X, Y, Z, A, B, C, 1, 2, 3, 200, 300, 400 (oh I’m actually losing count of ongoing reality shows 😛) but it was definitely different on NDTV and Colors. On NDTV, this time in “India Questions” series it was Jr. B who made an appearance, this program is hosted by none other than Dr. Prannoy Roy himself and I personally like to watch this program whenever I can. But naturally the audience ratio was skewed positively towards females and the way the program was conducted was interesting. Apart from promo of movie Drona in a very subtle way, Abhishek’s fans got to know lots of other interesting facts about Abhishek as well thereby definitely leaving a positive impact of the actor and his upcoming movie Drona. Next was his appearance in this very irritating program Bigg Boss…well personally I hate that program from the core of my heart but the way Jr. B was involved in that program has definitely created quite some noise…the participants not only were made to act some scenes of Drona rather Abhishek got to spend some time inside the house as a normal participant. Well, many people who are not regular viewer of that program also actually ended up watching that episode because of Jr. B’s presence inside the house.

  • Next very noticeable promotion strategy of this movie is the hat-ke merchandize of the movie Drona. Producers of Drona are all set to launch a comic series based on Drona, the first of which titled “The Crowning” is set to hit the shelves of book stores on 30th Sep’08. Now in Hollywood we all know the trend of movies based on comic but this trend of a comic based on movie is quite interesting I must say. Of late, producers have tried games and other interactive merchandises based on Bollywood movies but not many of them were as such a huge success but Drona being a sci-fi movie maybe the comic will click with kids and younger comic loving TG. The comic is priced at Rs. 50 and is distributed by Euro Kids. Approx 20,000 copies have been printed in first phase and will be circulated through various key channels like Shoppers’ Stop, Future Group outlets etc. Hmmm interesting merchandise option and I think comic based on Indian Super hero has some potential as well.

Drona is slated to release on 2nd Oct’08, now let’s see how the end product is and what has box office in store for this movie? At the end no promotion can help in sustaining a product if the product itself is not good 🙂

Phoonk Contest – Movie Promotion Strategy

So, it was not hoax… This contest news started doing rounds in media somewhere in last week of July’08 and almost every publication including ET has covered it. But somehow I kept on thinking that it’s not real and is yet another scandalous strategy to promote the upcoming horror movie of Ram Gopal Varma – PHOONK. But well, I was wrong, it’s true that Ram Gopal Verma is running a “Dare to watch it alone” contest wherein he is announcing a prize money of Rs. 5 lakh for anyone who dares to watch this movie from start to finish alone in a theater. Very interesting promotional strategy to instigate people to watch this movie.

Azam Khan the producer of the film says, “We’re confident that the film is so scary that it will be extremely difficult to watch it all alone in a theater. We will be running a contest and giving out details on our website about how to participate in it. Right now we have decided that we will screen the film for the winners of the contest a few days before the release of the film, that is on August 22. At the moment we have planned four trials that we will screen in a preview theatre.” (source: economictimes.com). Infact the contest details are out on their website www.phoonk.in as well as their official communities on facebook and orkut. Official communities on facebook and orkut are asking people to visit their website and I must say that PHOONK website is a very well done up website unlike many other movie website which are just a collection of some html pages promoting the wallpapers and ringtones. I really liked the UI of this website and the background score is creepy enough to scare a person like me at night :P, have a look on this snapshot yourself:

This contest has definitely become a hit I think, as out of 423 members (as of today) on the official community of facebook, more than 180 people have commented saying they are willing to accept the challenge. Not only that all official articles in online newspapers, official blogs etc are flooded with comments of people dropping their mobile number and email ids to participate in this contest. It had to happen for sure, general human psychology is that the moment you dare people for anything, most of them would like to try it out. I am sure that because of this contest and hype about Phoonk being one of the scaroest movies ever made, many people will go now to watch it in theater. Apart from this dare to watch it alone contest there is another contest announced on their website viz., “It Happened to me” contest wherein participants are supposed to share their real life scariest experience, black magic stories or ghostly encounter and the 10 best entries selected by Ram Gopal Varma will be paid Rs. 25,000 each. Not only that, if your story is good enough to be made into a feature film you will win as good as Rs. 5 lakh and if your story is selected and you can write a complete script for the film you will win Rs. 10 lakh!

Yet another exciting and very impressive promotional strategy from bollywood! As I mentioned earlier bollywood is getting seriously innovative day by day to promote its movies and PHOONK is another example of that. Now let’s wait and watch if these marketing gimmicks are going to give any success to Phoonk or it will be just another dud from RGV factory!

Big B n blogging – another marketing gimmick?

The news is everywhere across media, and almost every channel and website is speaking of this, Big B has taken to blogging now!!! Well, we were aware of Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur and Aamir Khan being pro bloggers but now Amitabh Bachchan too. This is really surprising but what’s more surprising is the blog site whicb Mr. Bachchan has selected. Umm, his selection surely doesn’t look natural. Doesn’t a thought come naturally to our minds as to why BigAdda? Now come on, don’t ask why not a wordpress or a blogspot or his own personal URL and why www.bigadda.com ? I think it’s pretty simple to guess. Arrey still didn’t get it…after all bigadda is a reliance entertainment company yaar!

Looks like BigAdda’s cores & crores of money on advertising with hoardings (yes they actually took huge hoardings across cities for promotion of an online social networking site, LOL) & on TV (ROLF, yep there were long television commercials too reminding of friends and networking 🙂 ) etc have not worked at all and now they have decided to take one final shot at one of their products viz., blogs. With Big B endorsing their blog and each posts of Mr. Bachchan having comment counter close to 400+, I’m sure atleast one of BigAdda’s categories will surely get noticed now. And the kind of effort which bigadda team is taking for this, there is no second thought that this looks like a planned promotion strategy of BigAdda. Here is an excerpt from Big B’s blog which can make things clearer further:

The bigadda.com team came over. I educated myself more on blogging and its ‘finer qualities’. As per the advice of some of the fans and ‘co bloggers’ we got into the process of setting up a team to assist me in working my blog more efficiently”.

A team to assist on working on his blog more efficiently!!!!!! Whoa blogging is becoming really serious man! Quite a strong promo hook by BigAdda team, lets see what mileage they get out of it in future.

Now speaking of Big B’s blog http://bigb.bigadda.com, honestly speaking I liked the content of this blog and the way Mr. Bachchan has written it till now. Though I’m not a die-hard fan of Mr. Bachchan & not sure if he is himself writing the posts or somebody on his behalf is doing it but if he is himself writing it then I must say good effort! The way he has highlighted the contribution of Anil Dharker for his book Icons or the way he has pulled Headlines Today for telecasting Abhi-Ash for 15 mins and still criticizing them or they way he has responded to some of the comments on his posts is quite noticeable & praiseworthy. I just love the poems of Mr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan and the beautiful usage of those poems in Big B’s posts is another highlight of his blog.

Though the idea of Big B blogging on www.bigadda.com looks very artificial and definitely some sort of marketing gimmick but the content of the blog looks natural. So, hope Big B continues expressing his thoughts like this on his blog and BigAdda gets atleast one product right amongst all its failed ventures J.

Bollywood on Social Media

After Subhash Ghai’s Black & White promo on Facebook, now Yash Raj Films as well as Devagan productions have taken the route of promo through social media for their upcoming films Tashan and U, Me Aur Hum respectively. Both these upcoming films are having their official communities on Facebook, Orkut and Youtube. Their official communities have promo clippings, songs as well as downloadable pictures of these movies. While Facebook group of Tashan is having more than 400 members, Orkut group is having more than 19,000 members. Orkut group is quite interactive with people discussing their thoughts and casting votes in the polls. Even U, Me Aur Hum group is very active Orkut group with approx 6000 members and very interesting poll questions.

Hmmm, looks like it has become a major trend in bollywood as well to ride the wave of online social communities. Almost every bollywood movie getting released these days is resorting to sites like Orkut, Facebook, Youtube etc. Well, why not? After all, more than anywhere else, that’s THE place where you can catch the young India these days. According to a recent study done by AC Neilson across males and females between the ages 13-35 years across the country, users spend an average of nine hours per week on the Internet, only for personal purposes, and of these nine hours, approximately 25–75% is spent on a social networking site (Source: Express Computer, March issue).

Of late, bollywood has become quite innovative in promoting the films in varied ways. Gone are the days of film promos where the names of actors like Raj Kapoor or Nargis or director like Satayajit Ray itself used to the biggest marketing hook for any film. Now in this age of commercialization and media bombardment, film marketers are trying it all- from traditional media like hoardings and television promos to digital media like exclusive websites to new age television phenomenon like reality shows and now to the latest IN thing, interactivity through social networking sites. With zero media spend and a sure shot way to capture the minds of Indian youth, of course interactive promo on social communities like these has to be the next BIG thing for marketers.