movie marketing business in India is taking a few leaves from Hollywood's book and is getting innovative. Right from online promotions to interactive websites, contests, and traditional methods including television, hoardings and print, producers are trying everything to make their film a success.
Touted as Abhishek Bachchan's biggest film ever, the new release, 'Drona' has gone a few steps further. A unique marketing campaign was carried out for the film. Indian television was flooded with the actor's appearance in various programmes, including news shows, reality shows and soaps on various channels.
Junior Bachchan made an appearance on NDTV's India Questions. On Colors, he was seen twice - first in Bigg Boss, a reality show and second in Balika Vadhu, another popular soap on Colors.
Cartoon Network Enterprises, the specialised licensing and merchandising division of Cartoon Network has bagged the exclusive licensing management for the movie.
Talking about the strategic tie-up, Jiggy George, executive director, Cartoon Network Enterprises, India and South Asia, says, "Given our expertise and understanding of the Indian kids' lifestyle, we have been effectively mirroring our success from multiple television properties to movies now. This is our fourth movie association and with the upcoming festive season, we aim to make Drona products must haves for our Indian consumers."
The comic is priced at Rs 50 and is distributed by Euro Kids. Approximately 20,000 copies have been printed in the first phase. The comic book will be circulated through various key channels, including Shoppers Stop, Future Group outlets and others.
Talking about the merchandising associated with this children's film, Jyoti Deshpande, COO and commercial director, Eros International says, "Through this larger than life film, we wanted to exploit all possible options of revenues. Next time, when we make the sequel of this film, we'll work a little in advance and come up with console gaming as well."
Eros is planning to come up with similar merchandising for another of its films, Alladin. "Alladin is a visual film and we'll have merchandise based on the film. It will also have a series of comic books and T-shirts," adds Deshpande.
Online gaming portal, Zapak has also tied up with Drona. As part of this deal, Zapak will have the distribution rights of the movie merchandise called Zapak Drona Game Packs. It has created six merchandise items for Drona: two sword packs - Drona's Sword and Ritz sword (replicas of the swords used by Abhishek Bachchan and Kay Kay Menon in the film); three Drona Pack Series -- Zapak Drona Magic Busters, Zapak Drona Mind Masters and Zapak Drona Mystery Shockers; and a Bully Zapper Pack. The Drona Pack Series includes a combination of games or toys based on the theme of the pack. They are priced at Rs 149, Rs 199 and Rs 349 respectively.
All these toys would be available pan India and will be distributed through the physical distribution network built by Zapak. This network spans more than 77 cities across India. The merchandise will be sold through more than 3,000 gift, toys and high-end stationery stores.
Rohit Sharma, COO, Zapak Digital Entertainment says, "This is the fourth movie that we have tied up with for movie merchandising. Kids aged 14 years and below constitute over 25 per cent of Zapak users online, also serving as the stickiest and the most loyal users on our site. This is definitely an area of focus for Zapak. Since Drona had a mystical and magical storyline, tying up with this movie was a natural fit for us."
For Zapak this is not the first. It entered the movie merchandising business with Bhoothnath. It created Bhoothnath Game Pack Series containing five types of packs, with gaming CD, prank toys and Bucchki toy, a high speed spinning toy. With Bhoothnath, it sold over 50,000 packs. It also tied up with Love Story 2050 and Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors for movie merchandising.
On this association, Sharma says, "As per the latest I-cube 2007 data, kids in India spend 21 per cent of their time on the internet for entertainment, which is up from 18 per cent in 2006. Activities such as online gaming, video, etc, have increased share of entertainment from 8 per cent in 2006 to 13 per cent in 2007. Drona presented us with an interesting opportunity to create merchandise around the movie that would appeal to this audience."
In an official communiqué, Sunil Lulla, president, Eros International, India says, "Drona provides a wonderful opportunity for exploring merchandising, as it has the perfect ingredients to create the unique world of the film. We are confident the merchandise remains faithful to the key elements of the film and presents the magic of the motion picture in an exciting way for children."
But what is the lifespan of these products? According to Sharma, the life of the merchandise is more than the life of the movie. "The merchandise not only creates a lot of promotion and buzz around the movie before it releases, but it also keeps it alive, even after the movie is off the theatres. Films and gaming, both hand in hand, have added a new chapter in the book of movie marketing and has a bright and long future," he asserts.
Gaming seems to have emerged as one of the most efficient and targeted media to create a sustainable promotion, buzz and excitement around the movie, among the youth and kids.