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Branding, the Batman way

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Branding, the Batman way

Cinema, across the world, has its own charm. What changes is its intensity of influence from society to society. One of the major influence that cinema uses to create curiosity in the minds of people is engaging marketing activities. Christopher Nolan’s much-awaited final instalment of the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) was one of those pieces of motion art that brought together viewers across the world on various levels of communication channels.

Touted as the biggest release this year which has already generated Oscar buzz, TDKR has not escaped the notice of ardent marketers in India who wanted to make the most of the hype. Special merchandise was one key way, since it is seen as an effective way to not only shoot up the sales of these products but also generate emotional attachments that brands look to tap on.

Take for instance the case of the Hysteria store that is located in Pune. It stocks both the official imported merchandise and the licensed ones of the film. Prior to the release of the film, the hype motivated many customers to come in for licensed shirts and T-shirts. 24hoursloot, another online shirt merchandiser based in Pune, had a 24-hour loot offer on it special TDKR T-shirt collection.

Brands in India found ways to associate with the film through branding messages and commercials. The Bournville – TDKR association is considered to be one of the most extensive collaboration. The campaign looks to engage consumers across all touch-points – from brand packaging to in-store branding, on-ground activities, television and cinema, and finally the mega digital campaign till the end of next week. The major portion of the marketing campaign was activated before the release of movie.

Citizen Watches has launched an exclusive TDKR line to compliment the movie. Given the initial praise that the film has garnered from critics and movie-goers alike, jumping on the marketing bandwagon might not be a bad strategy for all those who have associated themselves with the franchise, Besides T-shirts and sweatshirts, figurines are also greatly in demand.

Garnier Men has also associated with the movie and created a TVC for it connecting the movie to Garnier Men’s No Sweat proposition. The company also embarked on a Facebook contest to give away premier tickets and Garnier Men products to winners.


In a global tie up, Mattel attempts to bring to life the theme and super-hero action of the film with a range of products inspired by the movie. The Dark Knight Rises line from Mattel includes action figures, vehicles, radio-control, the Batpod and the flying vehicle ‘The Bat’.

Amongst other global associations, mobile giant Nokia is also giving away free Batman merchandise from the movie on purchase of its higher end Lumia mobile phones. Pepsi has partnered with producers to release a limited edition version of its Mountain Dew called Dark Berry. It is yet to hit stores in India. FCUK has recently launched a T-shirt collection from the franchise. Lamborghini, a natural fit also has tied up with the movie.

Global markets scales back Batman campaign
Batman has evolved over the years to fit not only the changing times but also the whims of marketers who wanted to put their own distinctive stamp with association of the superhero. TDKR was also in global news after a man wearing a gas mask ala the film’s antagonist Bane, opened fire at a Century 16 cinema in Aurora, Colorado, US. The massacre claimed 12 lives.

According to global press, the Colorado massacre produced a marketing nightmare for the film’s makers. Warner Bros Movie, the Hollywood studio behind the Batman movies, decided not to publish weekend box office figures after the Colorado massacre. Warner Brothers also cancelled red carpet events for the film in France, Japan and Mexico and in a separate move scrambled to pull a trailer for another film, including a scene in which mobsters shoot at theatre audiences. Within hours they had cancelled the movie’s Paris premiere, which was to have been accompanied by a press junket with the cast and crew including director Christopher Nolan and main star Christian Bale.

In Finland, the film industry has cancelled large parts of its marketing campaign for TDKR because of the tragedy. Finnish movie distributor cancelled entire internet campaign for TDKR and has temporarily been shut down. The TV spots have been withdrawn. The Paris premiere of the Batman movie was cancelled when the shooting spree occurred in a Colorado suburb. However, the press campaign is continuing. Marketing of the film has been suspended at least over the weekend. The campaign was expected to last until next week. The Batman shooting episode has also shaken up the US presidential campaign massively.


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