In-film branding has been on upswing in the last few years, and talking about the recent example of Shoojit Sircar directed Piku, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan; more than 15 brands have been placed in the movie. Few of them are Amul, Ceat, Parachute, Snapdeal, Himalayan Water, Priya Gold Snakker, Syska and Senco Gold.
Giving an estimate of the cost for in-film brand integration, Ameya Sule, Senior Director, Entertainment Marketing, Group M ESP said, “There is nothing fixed as such, it depends on the star-cast, studio and the duration of the film. Also the way in which the product is shown, whether it’s just the logo or consumption is shown, the range can anywhere be between Rs 15-20 lakhs to a crore. I believe that before any campaign starts, there are certain objectives and when they are met, the money spent is totally justified. Speaking of the two main advantages of film integration they would be, one that it is there for the lifetime. Every time a movie is shown on cable or any other DTH platforms, the brand will enjoy visibility. Secondly, the brand gets to ride on the popularity of the movie, if it has a strong cast and does well on Box office.”
One of the major brands featured prominently in the movie is Amul.
According to Haresh Moorjani, Executive Creative Director, FCB Ulka, (the agency who has done the integration for Amul), “Amul has done several film integrations in the past like ‘The Amazing Spiderman’, ‘Man of Steel’, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ and in the movie Piku, the brand has a very relevant role to play. The main protagonist is today’s young Indian girl, multitasking and doing her best to maintain a balance between home and work. Helping her cope with her hectic, demanding lifestyle is Amul Milk, the source of energy. The fit is compatible – like Piku, Amul too is modern and progressive while respecting Indian values.”
For Snapdeal however, this is the first in-film integration, though the brand has done co-promotions with films earlier. Also, apart from this, the brand has done many in-show integrations with top channels like Star Plus, Zee TV, Fox Life, Nat Geo and NDTV. Commenting on how product integrations help the brands, a Snapdeal spokesperson pointed that relevant integrations help reach out to the right audience, by building the right emotional connection. In Piku, when Deepika buys shoes for the father, played by Amitabh Bachchan, the focus is not merely on a product purchase but the unsaid love of a daughter for the father, expressed through her thoughtful gift to him. And as the film continues, the same pair of shoe becomes Amitabh's favourite shoes, with him wearing the pair throughout their journey from Delhi to Kolkata and even during his final bicycle-ride of freedom. Therefore, the shoes become an integral part of the storyline and their purchase from Snapdeal resonates well with the concept of Dil ki Deal. The integration was managed by the in-house team of Snapdeal and this Piku integration finds maximum resonance among young professionals living in metros. It speaks to their everyday lives, managing the needs of family members with the ease of access and reliability offered by a platform like Snapdeal.
Speaking of how effective is this medium as compared to a TVC; the spokesperson commented that TVCs and integration are varied marketing tools that address different aspects of a brand’s message delivery. With its widespread reach, a TVC communicates the message to a larger audience in a succinct and direct manner. Integration on the other hand, builds a relatable world around the brand, woven into a storyline. It can thus, communicate the message and emotion in a subtle, memorable and ultimately, a powerful way.
Actor Irfan Khan, an owner of a taxi service in the film who chooses to drive the duo visits extensively located CEAT SHOPPEs on highways to ensure the air pressure and alignment is fine for a safe journey. The actor also features in SUV Tyres campaigns for CEAT Tyres and has already been a part of CEAT’s campaigns on safety and durability. In the past the brand has been associated with Bollywood movies like ‘Singham Returns’ and ‘Dhoom 3’.
Brands like Syska talks about how gadgets help us in our busy lives via their Bluetooth and Power bank range. Himalayan Water talks about the charm of natural living in the middle of our busy lives and PriyaGold Snakker highlights the importance of small and sweet moments in lives. Infact, when the movie is about ‘motion’, how can a brand like Kayam Churna stay away; they joined hands with the movie after the trailer was out. Amul, Syska and few others did co-branded TV spots, which were played across News, Music, Sports and other GEC channels to create hype around the movie.
Infact, in one of the scenes, Irfan Khan was seen switching on the TV and then the logo of the Indian Premier League (IPL) flashed on screen.
Commenting on this, Neeraj Vyas, Vyas, Senior EVP and Business Head, Sony MAX and MAX2 said, “IPL was integrated in a very subtle way and it was not done with any intention of plug-in. IPL is an integral part of our network and the presence given was a fleeting one.”
Sonal Dabral, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, DDB Mudra pointed that the brand placements in Piku have been handled very cleverly. When you don’t remember, when and how you saw the brand being used in the film, it is called seamless integration! “Advertisers and marketers are constantly looking at smart ways in order to capture the attention and push it down the throat of the audience, while it is also the job of the film-maker to see if the integration will do justice to his movie. One thing I appreciate in Piku is the sensible brand placements, for e.g. Deepika was seen using Parachute, she is also the endorser of the product outside as well. So this kind of connects with movie goers instantly and has a multiplier effect,” he cited.