EM2’s afternoon session focused on making products and ideas an integral part of marketing not only through advertising but also films and mobile entertainment. To put session three and session four in a nutshell – spoil the consumers by giving them what they want and more.
Session three commenced with a brief speech by Michael Birkin, President and CEO, Omnicom Group Inc, Asia-Pacific. Birkin set the tone for the session by emphasising the importance of companies connecting directly with their clients and customers. According to Birkin, Omnicom was a low profile group that believed in making its clients famous.
Mahesh Prasad, President, Content and Applications, Reliance Infocomm, shared some thoughts about how mobile technology made entertainment possible anytime, anywhere. India, which is fast developing on the mobile technology front, is reaching new heights with specific content such as audio and video clips for on-the-move entertainment.
According to Prasad, faster networks and vernacular-based services would further popularise mobile entertainment. He added, “Digital mobile content is here to stay and it has tremendous potential.”
Anil Jain, Deputy Director General Marketing, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd said that telecom companies were now also focusing on value-added services such as SMS and enabling users to listen to religious texts by dialling a number through fixed lines. The other popular mobile entertainment category other than music and movies were games that were now recognised as a strong niche, Jain added.
Pradeep Guha, President, Zee Television, chaired session four that had eminent speakers such as Shailendra Singh, Joint Managing Director, Percept Holdings, Raj Nayak, CEO, NDTV Media and D Mukherjee, General Manager, Marketing, Coca-Cola India. This session looked at the bigger picture of our entertainment industry.
According to Singh, India needed to create content that rocked the global market. Content providers should think global and not local, stressed Singh. He pointed out that while India had the creative pool, the country should now target international markets to be recognised as an entertainment and marketing hub.
“NDTV,” said Nayak, “believes in taking its news seriously but not itself. So you have NDTV that not only covers news and debates, but also telecasts programmes that weave together entertainment and news. The channel has some innovative programmes – ‘Jai Jawan’ has popular Bollywood stars interacting face-to-face with Armymen.” Speaking about the programme, Nayak said, “The stars enjoy it, the jawans cherish it and the viewers love it.”
NDTV also has a tie-up with several big banner Hindi films to publicise them. This, pointed out Nayak, was not only done simply through audio and video clips, but also inviting movie stars like Abhishekh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee to read the news (to promote Yash Raj Film’s ‘Bunty aur Babli’) or answering questions asked by viewers (like Shah Rukh Khan did to promote his film ‘Paheli’).
NDTV also promoted itself through in-film branding in hits such as ‘Hum Tum’ and ‘Sarkar’ recently. With NDTV being one of the better-known faces of Indian news and entertainment, it’s not surprising that Nayak considered people in the Indian film industry as the best marketers and great negotiators.
Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy and distribution network is legendary. Think red and you think Coca-Cola. It is a brand that is everywhere – be it cinema halls, famous restaurants or even your humble roadside dhaba.
Mukherjee perhaps was the most apt speaker to discuss both the importance and means to strategically place one’s products. Only this time it was not about placing Coca-Cola bottles in shops and restaurants, but in films.
According to Mukherjee, in-film product placement had evolved over the years, today it was not just about displaying one’s product as often as possible. According to him, while movies today were about an experience, marketing was experiential. “So, you have fresh means of marketing. The best way to popularise a brand is to first unify the passions that drive India – Bollywood and cricket.”
He added that for in-film product placement it was first important to understand the movie and display the product in a seamless and unobtrusive manner. He, however, did not believe that mega hits assured brand popularity, which was why he believed in moving from in-film to ‘around’ the film product placement. According to him, product placement was now moving from “passive placement to active involvement.”
The seminar concluded with the message that marketers and content providers should work together in a way that benefited both sides. It is about converging television, print, and mobile entertainment with smart and effective marketing.