Remember Aaj Tak's integration into the storyline of Company or a bottle of Coke playing Cupid in the popular Ishq Bina number from Taal?
Brands harnessing the power of entertainment is not a new phenomenon in the advertising and media domain. Indeed, in a scenario of increased media clutter, where brands are pushing the threshold limit to maximize reach, the task on hand for planners, buyers and brand managers is to identify innovative ways of marketing their products.
In a country, which produces 900 films and accounts for 27 per cent of the global film production, movies are definitely an interesting option to tap into various consumer segments. But the moot question dogging Indian filmmakers and advertisers alike is how best can they do it? In-film and in-programme placements may be an easy way out to increase visibility of the brand, but is it the best?
In an attempt to answer these questions, the Film Producers Guild of India along with partners - Hungama.com and The Brand Reporter - organised the Entertainment, Media and Marketing Forum (EM2) in Mumbai on September 3.
Bobby Bedi, managing director, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, in the opening session titled Advertising & Marketing of Films & Television Programming dwelled on how brands could tap into the multiplex phenomenon - a booming sector at this point.
"Multiplexes have actually opened up new categories," he said. "Niche or regional films targeted at a certain audience can be showcased at a multiplex, which also means a ready base (of people) for advertisers with related products or brands."
Ashish Bhasin, director, IMAG, Lintas India, on the other hand, sounded a note of caution with regard to marketing in films. "There is no scientific reasoning or planning that goes into films," he said.
"While TV marketing is more evolved, there is a total lack of commitment in the film industry. Any form of communication is viewed by the film industry as an expenditure, rather than an investment and movies more often than not are delayed in terms of their release."
Bhasin proposed the setting up of professional entertainment marketing agencies to address issues concerning branding/advertising in films. "There is a total lack of trust between the advertiser and the filmmaker," he said. "If there were a book to be written, producers would be from Mars and clients from Venus," he quipped.
An advertiser, however, who had a positive experience to share concerning her brand's involvement with movies was Sharda Agarwal, director, marketing, Coca-Cola India.
Speaking during the second session on product and in-programme placements, she emphasised that an idea should simultaneously link the brand and the movie and also tap into people's passions. "Blatant product placement is out," she said. "The idea has to enhance the brand value."
Ashutosh Srivastava, managing director, Mindshare, South Asia, had a similar opinion on product placements, reiterating the need for a fit between the brand and the film. "Product placements work best when they are shown in context," he said. "However, product integration is difficult in movies for the simple reason that the gestation time of films is longer."
During the third session on mobile entertainment and promotions, Neeraj Roy, MD and CEO of Hungama.com, pointed out that the revenues in data-led services (SMS, MMS, downloads, games, news etc) were more than in voice-led services. "Globally, the mobile entertainment industry is worth $6 billion," he said.
The future, according to him, was in mobile video than in graphics or ring tones and the challenge for marketers, filmmakers and the entertainment industry as a whole would be to try and leverage this medium.
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