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In-film branding in small banner movies: Small is beautiful, too

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In-film branding in small banner movies: Small is beautiful, too

The success of smaller banner movies has made not just the industrywallas happy, but also marketers. Despite not enjoying a canvas of the Yashraj or Barjatya variety, several recent small banner movies have shared frames with leading brands. A variety of reasons are being cited for this trend, but the general contention is that in-film placement itself is still some distance away before evolving into a strategy.

In-film brand placements have made their presence felt in recent smaller banners movies such as Airtel in Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye, Videocon in Hungama, Spykar in Kya Kool Hain Hum, Tanishq in Paheli, FedEX in Swades, Zingaroo in Jism, and Kinetic in Gayab.

Admitting that it remains a challenge to place a brand in a smaller canvas movie, Sanjay Bhutiani, CEO, P9 Integrated, said that there are many marketers today who appreciate the genre because of the smaller outlay and hence value for money.

He said, “The reason is that these are niche films; they know what their target audience is going to be, and are made with new kinds of story ideas. Their DVD sales are also good. Audiences actually make it a point to see these films and so, for the marketer, the expectation is clear.” He cited ‘mushrooming of multiplexes’ as another reason for this trend.

Darshana Bhalla, CEO, Mates, compares in-film placements in small banner movies to beauty brands advertising in beauty magazines. He said, “Content-wise these are well focused, and if the producers are successful in carving an audience for their films, then definitely the brands will be drawn to them.”

Marketers’ apprehensions seem to have vanished when it comes to small banner films. Several marketers feel that the brand fit and storyline matter more than the banner itself.

“As long as the product is positively linked to the storyline in the movie, and it is something new that attracts attention, then it doesn’t really matter whether the movie is small or big banner. But one wouldn’t want to do branding in the films for a mere placement reason. The story line is important,” said Sunil Tandon, VP-Marketing, Videocon.

However, Sanil Suvarna, Director of Mega Entertainment Network, points out that the entire film industry needs to undergo a seachange before understanding the real benefits of in-film placement so far as marketing objectives are concerned.

“Only the top ten per cent of the industry has changed in terms of understanding movie marketing which is a very important aspect of film-making. Marketers are at many times sceptical about smaller banner movies when it comes to placing their brand in it, as many producers do not keep up their commitments,” he said.

Citing that around 45 of 50 movies released bomb, with only two to three per cent making money in a year, he explained, “One needs to have money to market a film. And positioning is required, which requires money. With the mindset change will come the confidence to place brands in all kinds of films, but till then marketers are going to be more comfortable with big banners.”

Smaller banners mean smaller budgets and smaller risks – a point reiterated by Jagdeep Kapoor of Samsika Marketing Consultants. He said, “It is not so important whether the banner is big or small, the question is whether the movie will be successful or not. Since small banners are cost-effective, risk can be spread over many movies, which thus can bring in more mileage and more attention.”

Adding that the idea is to have in-film placement as a strategy and not as a tactical measure, he stated, “Once that happens, marketers can derive more quality from the quantity of films. But the most important thing is that brands need to integrate with the film.”

The role of the filmmaker is another factor that is being viewed critically before associating with a movie. V Govindraj, Head - Sales and Marketing, Tanishq, underlined the connect, stating that the filmmaker would determine the delivery of the film. “The idea is not to force the product in the film but rather have a natural integration. Our collection did extremely well because of our association with Paheli,” he said.

Sanjay Bhattacharjii of Springboard Productions, avers, “People will go after good concept films, as today advertisers want to take a chance because the exposure will be good. Low-cost, high impact movies work, and there is a lot of mileage if the concept is good and these points withstanding, brands won’t dither from small banners.”

The verdict seems to be that the winner will be brands, if placed well, and that the banner size doesn’t really matter.


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.