In India, nothing sells more than movies and cricket.
Naturally, combining the two is akin to hitting the jackpot at Sunset Boulevard.
That's precisely what Yash Raj Films and ESPN STAR Sports are doing together.
To promote its forthcoming multi-starrer release Dhoom, Yash Raj Films has tied up with ESPN STAR Sports. As per the deal, the star cast - Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra and John Abraham - will be featured in Shaz and Waz, the popular show on the channels ESPN and STAR Sports, which will be aired on July 27, during the India-Sri Lanka Asia Cup cricket match.
This promotion is unique as this is the first instance when a Hindi movie is being promoted using live cricket programming as the marketing platform. Shahnaab Alam, executive producer, Yash Raj Films, says, "Dhoom has speed and attitude, and the association with ESPN was the natural choice.
He adds, "One wouldn't normally associate a movie with sports but we, at Yash Raj Films, believe in going for more radial and innovative forms of promotion. This tie-in adds a new dimension to movie marketing. We are treading new grounds and we are enjoying it immensely."
Tarun Tripathi, senior executive marketing, Yash Raj Films, adds, "Dhoom is a movie which would primarily cater to the males, and tying in with ESPN Star Sports not only gives us an opportunity to reach out to our TG, but also be present in an uncluttered space. The promos are already on air and we are definitely looking at a 360 degree marketing plan."
In the recent past, Yash Raj Films had run cartoon strips in the city supplements of The Times Of India. The production house also partnered with MTV music channel to produce a music video for the title track of Hum Tum.
The ESPN STAR Sports-Yash Raj Films tie-up doesn't end here, for the relationship is classically symbiotic.
Dhoom Macha Do, the title song of the movie, is being extensively used by ESPN STAR Sports to promote its upcoming football property, English Premiere League (EPL).
The sports channel network also benefits from this association. Yash Raj Films is shooting promos of 'Dhoom' with a special focus on EPL. These promotions will be aired on ESPN Star Sports, and will be subsequently also included in the 'Dhoom' movie prints that will be released across all theatres. Apart from these, there are special shots in the movie - where just before a crucial moment, the characters are seen enjoying a EPL match on ESPN.
Paras Sharma, associate director, marketing, ESPN STAR Sports, says, "EPL, the fastest growing sports property (outside cricket) in terms of viewership amongst the Indian youth, is known for its fast paced, energetic and passionate play and equally passionate support among its fans. Dhoom with its theme, star cast and imagery, therefore, provides an opportunity to connect with the Indian audience and build an association of EPL with them."
But do these kinds of in-film promotions really work?
"Keeping in mind the ever-growing overlap between different forms of entertainment, a good film - coming as a snippet during an exciting game of soccer or cricket - is certainly an entertainment multiplier. So, it definitely has a very high recall," says Siddhartha Roy, head of media entertainment division of Hungama, the company which deals in innovative movie promotions. Roy adds, "Rather than accepting passive advertising, everybody wants natural and real communications."
Recently, Hungama also initiated another innovative promotions for the movie Gayab produced by Varma Corporation. As the story revolves around Vishnu Prasad, the protagonist invisible man, the production house had a unique promotional agreement with Sahara Samay - where the logo of the news channel used to disappear almost three times during the day, with the newscaster happily announcing - "It seems our logo has disappeared like Vishnu Prasad."
The promotion was carried for seven continuous days before the release of the movie. Varma Corporation also ran a special promo on the channel MTV, where the channel run promos declaring Vishnu Prasad as a missing person.
Kaushik Mukherji, vice president, Hungama says, "Innovative marketing and in film brand placement is catching a fancy among local film makers." He adds, "Bollywood produces almost 250 films a year. Our average production budget for a movie is Rs 20 crore, which includes Rs 2 crore as marketing spends. Therefore, it's hardly surprising that more and more filmmakers are looking forward to innovative marketing to get their bang for the buck." © 2004 agencyfaqs!