Other brands are trespassers in Airtel RK Cineplex, Hyderabad

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | July 16, 2009
The telecom brand, with the help of Lemon Media, has signed a contract to exclusively brand an entire mall for two years

Walking into malls and multiplexes and spotting various ads for FMCG, telecom, movie distributor and beverage brands is now quite common across the country. However, in a first of its kind initiative, Bharti Airtel has signed a deal with a cineplex in Hyderabad to brand it entirely with Airtel's communication for two years!

South India based Lemon Media, which provides professional consultancy and branding opportunities for Telugu films, its celebrities and cinema theatres all over Andhra Pradesh, has helped Airtel achieve this feat. The mall cum multiplex, RK Cineplex in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad was approached and even the name of the cineplex has been officially changed to Airtel RK Cineplex for the two year period.

Discussing the development, Ramanadha Babu Y, director, operations, RSR Lemon Media, says, "After a study of RK Cineplex, we came up with this innovative concept of branding the whole mall with one brand. This decision was arrived at after considering the size of the mall; the prime location; the food and movies format, which is a craze for the people of Andhra Pradesh; and also the presence of the famous multiplex chain, Cinemax, all of which assured us of high footfalls to the mall."

Airtel now has all the rights of identifying and branding in all the common areas of the mall. It will have kiosks and communication messages in the mall, which will advertise all its services including broadband, DTH and mobile services.

The advertising opportunities are endless, including external façade branding, entrance, drive through to parking and basement parking using reflective vinyls, pillar and floor branding, interactive kiosks and screens, directional signages, escalator and lift branding, an Airtel gallery, a souvenir stall with Airtel memorabilia and an Airtel digital TV experience zone.

The cineplex is effectively a blank canvas for the brand and it will use a mixture of static, digital and interactive media to bring the brand experience to life.

Interestingly, out of home solutions company Peacock Media, that helped Airtel with its popular train wrap sometime ago, is now helping the brand with eco-friendly prints of ads to be used in the branding exercise.

Announcing the launch of the Airtel RK Cineplex, Deepak Mehrotra, executive director (south hub), Bharti Airtel Mobile Services, says, "The Airtel RK Cineplex is a clear example of innovative marketing. The entire building will be branded with Airtel and will further establish Airtel's customer oriented approach. Besides, the quality of entertainment and the varied cuisine will satisfy the key passions of the people of Hyderabad." For now, the company is tight-lipped about the monies involved in this project.

Airtel RK Cineplex is developed and owned by K Raghavendra Rao, a veteran director and producer of Telugu cinema. The cineplex was inaugurated yesterday (July 15) by film actors Varun Sandesh (of Happy Days fame) and Vimala Raman.

This move by Lemon Media has in fact opened up a new format in the OOH space and is being called the 'One Mall, One Brand' initiative.

While this seems like a plum opportunity for Airtel, one can't help but wonder whether this could cause people to develop a blind spot towards the ads and the brand over the two year time frame. So - will the cineplex's customers and Airtel gel? Only time will tell.

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