Benita Chacko

How Rupa, Walkaroo made the most of Laal Singh Chaddha's storyline

The brands find a seamless fit in the Aamir Khan-Kareena Kapoor film.

Brand integrations in cinema have become an integral part of a company’s marketing strategy. Several films in recent times have had some subtle and not-so-subtle brand integrations.

For example, the Netflix original Darlings had at least 15 product placements. The Ranveer Singh-starrer Jayeshbhai Jordaar had an in-film advertising of Astral Pipes.

More recently, the men’s innerwear brand Rupa and footwear brand Walkaroo featured in Aamir Khan-Kareena Kapoor film Laal Singh Chaddha.

Rupa’s integration in the film is interesting, as it forms an integral part of the storyline. Laal Singh Chaddha, played by Khan, starts a business of men’s innerwear. This was the dream business of his friend Balaraju (played by Naga Chaitanya) and so he names his brand Bala. However, when the business doesn’t take off, he’s advised to give it a woman’s name and he chooses to name it Rupa, his childhood friend. Kapoor plays the role of Rupa.

Being a part of the storyline, a considerable amount of time is spent on the ‘chaddi-banyan’ business. The characters even spell out the superiority of the product, and stress on its amazing fit and comfort it provides.

The film shows how the business, which started with three sewing machines at Chaddha’s home, has grown into a huge business with factories in different parts of the country. There is also an India Today cover story to reinforce the business’ success. At some points, the brand’s logo is also seen.

With the brand being seamlessly integrated into the film, it never comes across as a forced fit. It doesn’t distract the audience or even take away from the story, as it is woven into the narrative. In fact, at some point, it almost makes one believe that this is the real brand story of Rupa & Company.

However, the reality is quite far from fiction. The hosiery company was founded by Prahlad Rai Agarwala, along with Ghanshyam Prasad Agarwala and Kunj Bihari Agarwal, in Kolkata in 1968.

Similarly, VKC Group-owned Walkaroo also features in the film. Chaddha is a runner, and spent over four years of his life running across the length and breadth of the country. And, all through this time, we see him running in Walkaroo shoes, which Rupa had gifted him. Could there be a better placement for a footwear brand?

There are shots which show the brand name on the footwear. There’s also a scene where his shoes are seen to be muddy and he explains them saying he has been wearing them for long. These banters establish the quality of the product.

However, the scenes don’t come across as brand endorsements and it's only in hindsight that one realises that it was a brand placement. Moreover, Khan is Walkaroo's brand ambassador.

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