In 2000, in-film advertising was small and insignificant, whereas after four years, today the market is estimated in the region of Rs 75-100 crore. This kind of advertising format has a dual benefit: for film producers, looking for film-related promotions, it is a viable revenue source, while advertisers benefit from an attentive, clutter-free environment at a reasonable price.
Which is why, a set-up like P9 makes business sense. The group has taken care of the entire branding and promotion around the Madhur Bhandarkar movie, ‘Page 3’ (starting from creative to media and designing, etc). It is an essential part of Ravi Chopra’s Babul and has projects such as Spice of Life (starring Anupam Kher), the film family from AB Corp and an animation film called Dudes. The list of projects lined up goes beyond 15. In addition, the celebrity wing division of P9 deals with stars such as Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt.
Sanjay Bhutiani, CEO, P9 has set his home in order and recruited a team of young professionals for areas such as in-film branding, celebrity management, media planning and buying, creative and client-servicing. He asserts, “We have accomplished around Rs 3.5-crore worth business in the last one and a half months. Keep in mind the fact that we are a start-up joint venture and didn’t even have a proper team in place when the businesses were bagged. Monetarily, we are targeting business worth Rs 40-50 crore within the next few years.
Today, brands are approaching us enquiring about the kind of deals that we can fetch for them…on the other hand, producers are also keen to negotiate. At the script stage, there are so many film producers that are willing to consult outfits like ours. Both sides are serious and committed as far as in-film placement is concerned. We expect this business to triple in the next four years, both on television and in films.”
Bhutiani adds, “Brands know that the benefit of the rub-off with the actor/actress concerned will help boost its sales and increase the recall value in addition to evoking positive imagery in the minds of the consumers.Such kind of advertising is cheaper than a pure television campaign or in the mass-market dailies.”
P9 now has its team in order, with segregated departments such as client servicing, media planning and buying, creative, product placement, design and celebrity management – all manned under the same roof. The team consists of an assorted mix of professionals from channels such as AXN, Star and Sony, and agencies such as Leo Burnett.
As far as celebrity management goes, does the situation look promising? Bhutiani states, “We are currently working for SON Inc and identifying areas of brand endorsements, events and promotions in India and abroad, fan clubs and exploring merchandising opportunities (t-shirts, posters, accessories etc.) Apart from the Sanjay Dutt deal, in recent days, we have signed on Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan and Kajol. We are currently working on the strategy beat, as far as the latter three go. In addition, we have some new faces in mind as well.”
In all the projects accomplished, which would be closest to Bhutiani’s heart? He shares, “I think that we are doing a fabulous job on the movie Page 3 – starting from creative treatment, to media buying, brand promotion, packaging – the complete marketing mix. In addition, we are planning to put together a Page 3 party, on the occasion of the launch.
Initially, the campaign devised by the film-maker and the agency concerned, was totally at loggerheads with what we had in mind. We summed up Page 3’s positioning in clear and simple words – The Inside Story. Simply put, it amounts to –The Inside story of the glamour world. The film-maker loved our suggestions and took us up on it. And look how well, that positioning has been translated across mediums.”
Are films a win- win situation for advertisers? Bhutiani says, “Advertisers are able to get big stars at a fraction of the costs they would normally shell out for an exclusive tie-up. Films are not subject to surfing, zipping or muting (unlike in TV and other media). Films appeal to emotions and scenes in films catch people off-guard unlike an advertisement, which catches the audience in a cold-evaluating mood. Films transcend geography, class and cultural barriers and catch people in a receptive mood. And films are target-specific.”