The Indian market has seen various brands encashing on the popularity of international movie titles through associations and promotions that feature the products and some scenes from the international movie. The latest on the block is ‘Spiderman 3’.
Comparing the movie with the home production ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’, brands associating with ‘Spiderman 3’ did not have the advantage of the movie protagonist lending a voiceover for the associated product, like Saif Ali Khan did for Good Year, or brand ambassadors like both Khan and Rani Mukherjee allowing some in-movie ‘Chevrolet’ placement.
Once in a while, brands in India are seen creating a promotion in alliance with international titles. But largely, media houses have associated with the movie, and are seen doing this. Nonetheless, on a large scale, brands are seen just tagged along with the movie. In the case of ‘Spiderman 3’, some on-lookers may question what was Baskin Robbins, Travelguru.com or HDFC Life Insurance really doing with Spiderman. Travelguru.com does include buying tickets unlike Spiderman who travels without tickets, or, when in his lifesaving endeavours does Spiderman get time to get insured? The only ones who ideally need insurance with a superhero around are the bad guys.
Are we reaching a situation, where this relatively new medium is exploited irrespective of a brand-fit? When quested, almost all the industry players passed on the buck to brand managers by calling them the best people to judge whether their brand is a proper fit or not with the movies they have associated with.
Harsha Gangurde, Manager Marketing, Sony Pictures, remarked, “Brands are always careful on picking the films they associate with, as the brand managers have to think about the long-term standing of their brands rather than short-term gains.”
Speaking on the large number of associations with Spiderman and their brand-fit, Gangurde said, “These associations do not overkill the medium. Moreover, all the associated brands do have a brand-fit with the movie’s TG.” Citing the example of Travelguru.com, he said, “The brand might be trying to say that they offer ease of travel, just like Spiderman who travels easily.”
Navin Shah, CEO, P9 Integrated, pointed out that there are three kinds of associations for branded entertainment. “Firstly, many brands try to ride the euphoria during the release of the movie in spite of not having a direct connect with the movie. Sometimes brands may tie up due to a strategic reason for associating with the brand, and finally, brands may associate for the sheer novelty factor, so as to ride on the hype of the event,” he elaborated.
Explaining how associations add to the overall hype of the movie, Shah noted that the sum total of marketing goes beyond Rs 10 crore, thus helping the cause of the movie as well as the brand. “Each brand has a specific TG and the communication chosen by them will be targetted at that particular group.”
Citing some examples of players who have associated with Spiderman 3, Shah observed that while brands like Yamaha, CEAT and HDFC Life Insurance tied up for the strategic fit, others like Baskin Robbins and Rediff.com associated for tapping their core TG, thus riding the hype of the movie.
Rajeev Berry, GM-Content and Entertainment, Broadmind, observed, “The main reason clients are moving from other media to this medium is due to the clutter in those mediums. I agree that most of the brands are looking at engaging the consumers with these associations. The increasing number of brand associations for a movie doesn’t help the brand’s cause as the consumer doesn’t know how to differentiate.”
Talking about the future of the medium, Berry pointed out, “The increasing need for measurement in the medium will lead to ROI. Nowadays, most brands are using these associations tactically, but they should use it more strategically.”
Darshana Bhalla, CEO, Mates, explained, “As brands are using multiple media to tap their consumers, they have started realising that movies are also one more vehicle of mass medium.” Emphasising that the brands may be trying to draw connect with their TG through these associations, Bhalla elaborated on how brands partnered with movies for co-branded merchandise and accessories.
The discussion on this subject will continue forever. We have to wait and watch to see how the Indian players utilise the medium optimally.