Movie channel Max has launched its third annual Amitabh Bachchan movie film festival this October. The film festival, Ab Tak Bachchan, has matured into one of the driver properties for Max, delivering steady ratings for the channel.
While the Ab Tak Bachchan property was launched by Max in May 2007 and the second one in February 2008 (just before the IPL), the third annual festival went on-air on October 5 and will continue till October 17. It will showcase 16 of the star's blockbuster films at 8 pm every night.
To support the festival, Max has launched a campaign comprising on-air, on-ground and multimedia, spread across print, TV, radio, OOH, BTL (below-the-line) and the Internet.
The different phases of the campaign will be rolled out lacing the festival period so as to maintain viewer curiosity and involvement throughout the season.
Gaurav Seth, vice-president, marketing, Max, says, "This time around, it is a special festival. Amitabh is more visible on screen now than ever with his TV shows, appearances, movies and ads. This month marks the four decades that Amitabh Bachchan has spent in this industry and the festival aims to commemorate this. Additionally, his birthday also falls on October 11 and this day will see four of his movies back to back."
The marketing initiatives around the film festival include a series of full page print ads which will feature throughout the festival. With regards to television, besides the exhaustive network plan, there have been buys on Champions Trophy wrap around, Hindi and regional news channels and cable channels. Intense radio bursts spread across 25 key cities in Hindi speaking markets are also on the cards.
Extensive outdoor and below-the-line activities have also been launched across key cities including metros. Malls feature larger than life 25 feet cut outs of the actor, and so do mobile vans. Billboards and hoardings featuring different AB characters are on display.
Mumbai's BEST buses have also been painted with the festival look. Backlit cube signs on street lights in Mumbai have also been launched.
Van activation is planned across 60 cities to spread awareness. Here, specially designed Bachchan T-shirts will be distributed. A small booklet, Know your Bachchan, that contains must-know information for an AB fan, will also be distributed through the vans at intra-city bus stations and malls.
In the digital medium, SMS alerts reaching a 10 lakh audience was planned. Also, a unique microsite with features including trivia, AB quotient, downloads and interactivity will engage the audience. OOH TV screens will also feature the ad, spread across consumer outlets such as Spencer's, Big Bazaar, BEST buses and Nirula's outlets.
The communication theme is Anek chehre, Ek Bachchan. The TVC showcases the different characters played by Bachchan across these four decades, from movies such as Trishul, Deewar, Agneepath, Mr. Natwarlal, Mohabbatein, interacting with each other. A male voiceover talks about how Amitabh has been the undisputed king and has ruled hearts over the years till now. The TVC ends with the voiceover, 'Ab taků ab taků ab tak Bachchan'.
Creative agency JWT has worked on the communication while Media Circle has handled the media buying.
Interestingly, OOH and BTL have been used extensively for this campaign, and the reason for this, Seth says, is quite simply that Amitabh Bachchan 'belongs' to the masses. "He's the biggest property to have on TV today. He connects with kids and adults alike and is equally loved by men and women. This also justifies the huge campaign spend across media across cities and towns," he says.
Though Seth was tight-lipped about the campaign spend, he shared that about 50 per cent of the total ad spend was earmarked for OOH and BTL.