Aggressive marketing is the buzz word for Bollywood movies today. The television medium has been used as a marketing platform for many movies owing to its high reach and market penetration. The latest trend is the advent of movie marketing in daily soaps.
Unlike regular tie-ups, wherein movie stars limit their screen time to only special appearances, daily television serials nowadays have gone a step further by playing host to movie stars who are promoting their movies by incorporating a similar concept in the storyline of the serial.
During the promotions of ‘Dum Maro Dum’, Abhishek Bachchan and Rana Daggubati made a special appearance in ‘Maryada – Lekin Kab Tak’ on star Plus. The episode was based on the basic concept of the movie which revolved around the drug racket.
The cast of Bol Bachchan would be soon seen in ‘Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hain’ which is also aired on Star Plus.
Commenting on the trend of movie marketing in daily serials, Nitin Vaidya, Business Head Hindi channels, STAR India stated, “Movie celebrities in a television show is an excellent platform to reach out to millions of viewers across the country. Film integrations in many ways benefit both, the film and the television show. While there is excitement regarding the popular Bollywood faces, it also provides an opportunity for television shows to create a special event. It is extremely critical for the film story to have some synergy with the show content since integration along the story line has to be relevant and it should not look like a forced fit to the audience.”
Recently Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha made an appearance on Sony Entertainment’s weekend show ‘CID’ as a part of promotions for ‘Rowdy Rathore’. Similarly, Channel V entered into an association with ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ to deliver an episode of ‘Gumrah’ which saw director Anurag Kashyap, Manoj Bajpai and Richa Chadda rendering crucial roles.
Echoing similar sentiments, Prem Kamath, Executive VP and GM, Channel V stated, “For any content tie-up, it's crucial that the messaging or essence of the two pieces is aligned. This ensures that the inherent attraction of both the creatives rub off on each other and delight the viewers on both fronts. For a movie tie up with one of our properties, the benefit for them lies in familiarising characters and stories with our loyal viewer base and ensuring one more avenue of positive sampling of their story.”
“For a good brand fit the two content pieces must come from the same eco system. In that sense, there needs to be one very strong thread that runs through both stories. The rest of the plot and characters might vary, but there needs to be a strong connection between the two. If this exists, we proceed to explore how the two properties can assist each other, both in content as well as promotions. The immediate response we have got on social media has been quite good and people have appreciated the similarity between the two stories. We'll have to check the ratings and see if this integration truly helped the episode gain more sampling and whether it was also considered better content,” added Kamath.
Where on one side, incorporating story lines in daily shows creates awareness about the film; it also in another way promotes the daily soap as well. Bollywood has an incredible attraction and the glamour and presence that these stars bring to the episode cannot be undermined. According to Kamath, the show too becomes richer as it is associated with the large canvas of a movie and its grand plot. But ultimately, the story is the king and if the integration is well crafted, people would watch and love both the properties more than their individual halves.
Commenting on the recent appearance of Sonu Sood in Colors’ Kairi for the promotion of his movie ‘Maximum’, Prashant Bhatt, Weekday Programming Head, Colors stated, “With the integration, viewers get to see a special spike, something besides the usual storyline. A Bollywood star in the show adds to the excitement and builds curiosity. For the channel, it is also a chance to capitalise on appointment viewing making such an integration beneficial for both, the channel and movie makers.”
“On Colors, we have always encouraged innovative and unique content. Movie integration is also our way of giving the audience a break from the usual storyline bringing in a newness and twist in the script. The audience is open to innovative content. They look forward to seeing surprises, and having a Bollywood star make an appearance is an added advantage. If the integration is worked out seamlessly as part of the script, it works well,” added Bhatt.
Apart from story integrations in daily soaps, news channels are also incorporating movie stories in their shows which go beyond the normal interviews with cast, media bytes, etc. For the promotion of 'Rowdy Rathore', Akshay co-hosted ‘Sansani’ episode with Shrivardhan Trivedi on ABP News. The story was also in line with the film – A lady fighting for justice with the dacoits of Chambal. The show got the viewership share of 27 per cent in the time band it was aired and was approximately 50 per cent higher than the normal average, according to the channel.
As a part of the promotional activities for 'Aarakshan', public debates were organised in five cities on the burning issue of the film. This too was aired on ABP News. The cast of the movie was also a part of the debates.
For the marketing of 'Singham', ABP News hosted ‘Singham Bravery Awards’. This initiative paid respect to the people who have made a difference to society by their acts of bravery.