Launched by the Percept Group, P9 Integrated is focusing exclusively on Bollywood and Hollywood, including the fast emerging business of crossover films. The group’s mandate is to market and publicise lead cinema projects both nationally and internationally, in addition to brand positioning in cinema and celebrity management. Recently, P9 was in the news on account of actor Sanjay Dutt launching SON Inc in association with the company, through which it would be in charge of all its brand endorsements, concerts, stage shows, fan club, merchandising, philanthropic efforts et all for an initial period of five years.
Though the outfit is barely three weeks old, Sanjay Bhutiani, CEO, P9, says that nearly a dozen projects are already in hand, while six more are expected in the coming months. One of these is a crossover film starring Anupam Kher titled ‘Spice of Life’ which P9 would be marketing internationally.
As far as celebrity management is concerned, Bhutiani says he prefers taking it slow and steady on this front, concentrating more on a few but well established celebrities and deriving due mileage out of it. “The trick is doing it right and getting the right returns from the entire initiative. It has been our vision to take on a 360-degree angle as far as celebrity management is concerned, starting from concerts, stage shows, celebrity websites, fan clubs, guest appearances, and the works. The first celebrity whom we have signed up with is of course Sanjay Dutt and we are in charge of all his stage shows, public appearances and even merchandising,” he said.
What are the advantages of in-film advertising to producers and advertisers? Bhutiani explained, “Advertisers are able to get big stars at a fraction of the cost 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. The fact is that brands like Coke, Zingaro and Castrol have registered significant increase in their sales, a fact which has propelled them to use this particular medium more frequently.”
P9 currently has five departments dedicated to client servicing, creative solutions, celebrity management, brand placement, etc, and a team of around 15 people. But Bhutiani is looking to strengthen his team. “We are looking for people with some amount of experience in the industry and who are endowed with strong contacts. More than anything else, they ought to be dedicated to the job at hand, with sufficient comprehension of the targets that we set out to deliver,” he said.
Bhutiani believes that one bad placement can do more damage than 10 good placements. Artistic integrity is crucial for successful brand placements and the operation has to be woven into the script. The placement should be woven into the fabric of the film and shouldn't be contrived and unnatural.
Bhutiani thinks that cricket and TV soaps are losing their sheen. “The multitude of cricket matches, and the diminishing sheen on account of the poor performance only ensures that more brands turn their attention towards films. Many of the soaps are also losing their flair and with increasing fragmentation on account of ever increasing channels, branding prospects are few. The big screen at the end of the day is the big screen. Film stars and big titles would always attract attention,” he said.
Today, companies are willing to pay amounts ranging between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 5 crore for placing their brands in films, but it depends on the budget of the film. Big-budget films with big stars can expect more. The size of this advertising is expected to grow nearly 100 per cent in the next two to five years as more and more companies get attracted to this kind of advertising.