Advertising agency BEI Confluence has launched its film production arm, Hocus Focus, this month, which will produce ad films, television content as well as feature films. Sandeep Chatterjee has been roped in as President of the new division. Kiran Vernekar, Senior VP, BEI Confluence, informed that the investment in the project in the first year would be to the tune of Rs 10 crore.
The company has already worked on two ad films – Triple X condoms and Bleu for Sagem mobile.
Giving the reason for launching a films arm, Vernekar said, “We believe that there is a serious quality gap in production in the industry. Often good quality is associated with high costs and that is a myth we want to break. For Triple X condoms, we made three films with director Vivek Agnihotri (the maker of the movie ‘Chocolate’) and we have saved the client up to Rs 20 lakh.”
“This is what we can do for television and feature films too. Imagine a TV serial with quality as sleek as ad films. We think that there is space for something like this,” Vernekar added.
In television, Hocus Focus would largely be working on the genre of infotainment, sports, speciality channels and general entertainment channels. The company is in the process of nabbing a GEC project soon.
Explaining why he thought Hocus Focus stood a chance in the highly competitive television content providers domain, Chatterjee said, “Everyone talks about differentiation and you have to as that is how you would be noticed. We have a panel of creative directors that includes Indian and international creative minds, more of new age media minds.”
“They would be working with us for differentiated formats, storylines and execution of shows. There would be study and research going in before we propose a show and we believe this would be our strength and this is in addition to the quality-cost gap we propose to fill,” Chatterjee added.
Even in the case of feature films, the driving principle would be the same and the attempt would be to create content that did not necessarily fall in sync with the cinema seen today. “When you are in entertainment, there is no way you can keep out feature films,” Chatterjee said.
But won’t it be a bit too much to handle? Vernekar replied, “It is, but it is not something that cannot be managed. More importantly, today there is so much that has to be done if you want to stay ahead of the game. We have entered a very competitive domain, so we should have enough reasons to ensure our survival and this is the way to go right now. What really works for us is that we have the right people.”
Chatterjee, for instance, brings immense experience of film production to the table. He has worked with agencies like McCann Erickson, Leo Burnett, Madison and Publicis. He has worked with directors like Prahlad Kakkar, Vivek Agnihotri and has made as many as 800 ad films in his career so far.
“We know the business and we know the people – in all we know the importance of detail and so it is easier for us to get things done at the right cost,” said Chatterjee.
“We are going to apply diehard advertising principles of addressing the ever changing consumer behaviour,” added Vernekar.
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