In-film branding isn’t a novel phenomenon; it’s just the most ‘in thing’ in the Indian film circuit. But does in-film placement really offer value-for-money? It's a multi-crore question, which has corporates groping for an answer.
The latest brand to explore in-film marketing is Debeers diamond jewelry. ‘Intolerable Cruelty’ starring Catherine Zeta Jones and George Clooney will see diamonds worn by the leading lady. Released across India on 5 December 2003, the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in association with Intergold Gems has announced ‘The Incomparable Beauty Contest,’ through which cinegoers stand a chance at winning diamond jewellery.
Intergold has announced a month-long diamond jewellery festival commencing from the release date of ‘Intolerable Cruelty;’ 3-stoned diamond jewellery in the form of rings, earrings and pendants has been placed at prominent locations in jewellery houses. Joining hands in this promotion is television channel B4U. To participate in this contest, all one has to do is to watch ‘Intolerable Cruelty’ and fill in the contest card available at every theatre screening this film.
Speaking to exchange4media on the response towards the contest, Anand Shiv, General Manager (Marketing), Intergold reveals, “The contest has yielded a good response in terms of brand awareness. We get approximately 15-20 responses per screening.” In terms of a marked increase in sales following the release date of the film, Shiv is reticent, “Sales have increased, but this could be attributed to the festive season too. We can’t be sure that customers are coming in to our showrooms due on watching the film.”
A senior executive with Intergold is more forthcoming about the brand benefit of in-film marketing, “We feel that in-film placements essentially entail a potent link between the brand and the subject or character. Only if such a bond is well conceived and executed can it serve the purpose of building desirable brand association.”
Lets take a look at how some brands fared in the recent past, using in-film placement. Tata Engineering is reported to have spent Rs 1 crore for the in-film placement of Tata Safari in ‘Road.’ The filmmaker and the brand utilized the deal with special ‘Road’ and Tata Safari cross promotions – a win-win situation for both parties. ‘Road’ got ads across mainstream channels and Telco achieved a healthy dose of glamour at a time when the SUV segment was getting pretty competitive. “The promotion took us into prime time slots, places that we, just as a film, could not have afforded,” says Madhu Varma, Vice President (Marketing), Varma Corporation.
In-film promotion became popular a few months back, when Thums Up signed on the entire star cast of ‘Kaante;’ the company screened ads on prime time, especially between cricket match breaks. Sanjay Gupta, Director, ‘Kaante’ explains, “Thanks to Thums Up, we made inroads into new territory. There haven’t been too many films advertised during a one-day International match on prime-time television or interspersed between news segments. That's where Thums Up took us.”
But with so many box-office flops leading to the films being yanked off the cinema halls in no time, isn’t it a big risk? “The film business, like other industries, also goes through a cycle. The current slowdown in the industry is part of that cyclical phase. The biggest advantage of in-film advertising is that it delivers the desired impact to a focused target audience. Though the failure rate of films is currently very high, every success helps the brand,” explains a senior official with Intergold.
And the advantages outweigh the risks. Advantages of in-film placements are many, and include endorsement by big stars at a fraction of the cost, films screened in cinema halls are not subject to surfing/ muting (unlike television and other media), films transcend geography, class and culture barriers, it catches people in a receptive mood, it is target-specific and there are opportunities for cross-promotions. Besides, the brand gets multiple exposures through television telecast and VCD/ DVD rights.
So till another promo does the industry rounds, in-film placement remains the new buzz among marketers …