Bigg Boss high on brand integrations and product placements

By Rohit Nautiyal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 16, 2009
In its third year, the show is full of brand integrations and product placements

The Indian television scene continues to sizzle with the launch of new reality shows. If not all, then at least a handful of these are able to strike the right chord with the viewers, thereby opening up various revenue streams for the channel. One of these is product placement or embedded marketing as a form of advertisement.

Bigg Boss on Colors is proving to be one such reality show, which many brands are associating with. The last season of the reality show saw brand placements by Airtel, Max New York Life Insurance, Chevrolet Aveo, Reckitt Benckiser, Hero Honda and Pidilite.

In this season, Vodafone is the title sponsor of Bigg Boss, with the maximum number of placements. There are seven other associate sponsors -- Sunsilk, Lux, Aquaguard, Max New York Life Insurance, Cruze, Reckitt Benckiser and L'Oreal.

Brand integration can be classified into passive, active or hyper active. The Vodafone logo, placed inside the pool or the store room in the Bigg Boss house, is a form of passive integration.

Simran Hoon, national sales head, Colors tells afaqs! "Throughout the show, you will see a lot of active and passive brand integrations. However, according to every client brief, some brands have been weaved in seamlessly with the tasks that are being allotted to the housemates. Also, since each task is different and unique, the brand integration has to be equally unique."

For instance, a few weeks ago, the housemates' task involved creating gift packets, as part of Vodafone's Happy To Help initiative. These packets were to contain pre-decided confectionery items; and one of the items on the list was a tube of Polo.

As part of the task, all the sweets came through a conveyor belt and the housemates had to catch them, in order to prepare the gift hampers. Given their shape and size, the Polo tubes were the toughest to catch. This led to a big discussion amongst the housemates, for whom catching Polo tubes was crucial in order to complete the task successfully.

The second season of the show also had some interesting examples of brand integration. Airtel's signature tune was the wake-up tune in the house on many days. But the one that worked best for the brand was the scroller reading, 'Barriers break when people talk' running on the screen, whenever two inmates who were upset with each other started talking.

Max New York Life used the 'Shandaar Budget' board innovatively. Since everyone ends up wanting more from the budget, the line, 'Karo zyaada ka iraada' fitted well. There was also a task based on this tagline, in which the inmates had to give a speech on why they were best suited to win the show, and what they would do with the prize money.

According to Amin Lakhani, head, exchange, Mindshare India, the business of brand integrations and product placements has evolved over the years. "Around four years ago, there was a resistance against brand integrations by broadcasters, as they perceived it as a hindrance to the creative process. The principle objective of any brand is to weave its communication in the line of content, without being too nosy."

Talking about the stage at which a brand employs such integrations, Lakhani feels that a company takes up a property on a channel when it comes up with a new campaign, or wants to keep the long-term brand proposition fresh in the consumer's mind.

"A telecom brand works on the principle of media dominance. I feel that, so far, Vodafone's placements in Bigg Boss have really worked in favour of the brand. As a show that runs throughout the week, Bigg Boss is certainly doing well and is a good bet for marketers," he adds.

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