Saregama Films, a subsidiary of Saregama India Ltd, under the umbrella of RPG Enterprises, has made a foray into Bengali filmdom, or Tollywood, as it is popularly known. Apart from production and distribution of Bengali films, Saregama is also planning to enhance the commercial viability of Bengali films by trying to leverage them as a medium of brand communication as well.
Thus, Saregama Films’ upcoming Bengali release, ‘Mantra’, a horror movie directed by debutant Rabi Ranjan Maitra, has ‘Sambad Pratidin’, a growing Bengali daily, and Reliance India Mobile as its communication partners.
Reliance India Mobile subscribers can download ringtones/wallpapers, see trailers of the movie as well as take part in contests to win free tickets at a mere push of the R World button, the multimedia data suite. The company is also giving support in the form of hall branding.
According to a Reliance Infocomm spokesperson, “R World has been associated with movie promotion since March 2003. Basically, R World, which has more than 150 applications, is a very good tool for communication. By using this tool, movie producers and various other service providers are promoting their products and services.”
‘Sambad Pratidin’, the other communication partner, is providing outdoor support along with interactive contests around the film as well as promoting the film through their newspaper. “We had earlier tied up as media partners with a couple of Bengali films. When we come across a good venture, we try to extend our support,” said Pratikrit Sengupta , Manager, Brand Management for ‘Sambad Pratidin’.
Saregama expects a similar, if not better, response in terms of tie-ups for it next venture, ‘Ekar Sansar’, a commercial multi-starrer, where music will play a major role with old-time classics from the HMV archives rendered by present day stars like Babul Supriyo, Amit Kumar, Udit Narayan and Shaan.
The film company is, in fact, very optimistic about this new medium for brand communication, and is open to having placements and endorsements of brands deftly crafted into film scripts in the future.
According to Debaroti Bhattacharya, Senior Manager, Marketing and PR, Saregama Films, “Bengali film producers have not made a structured approach so far to advertisers to use the medium of films for brand communication. Hence, we have taken the initiative to offer films produced by us to advertisers for their brand communication. We believe that it has to be a win-win situation for both.”
This, after all, is hardly an alien concept in Hollywood, or for that matter even Bollywood movies, where one gets to see James Bond aka Pierce Brosnan endorsing Reid & Taylor suitings, or Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Baghban’ working for ICICI Bank. Incidentally, Bachchan is the brand ambassador of ICICI Bank in real life. As recently as in the screen adaptation of the Sarat Chandra classic, Parineeta, Vidya Balan (Lolita) is offered a tablet of Saridon for her headache.
That brands can be integrated into the content or endorsed by a film’s protagonists, thus giving scope for mileage over a longer period of time – indeed whenever people watch the movie – can translate films from being just a source of entertainment to a viable media for branding as well. Such endorsement would otherwise be an expensive proposition.