Television, owing to its high penetration, has become an important medium for every marketer, especially for those who handle big banner movies. The big screen – small screen affair manifests itself in various forms such as celebrity TV anchors or movie stars as participants on reality based shows. The most recent and effective form though is cameo appearances in daily fiction shows as run-up to mega launches. Viewers have started seeing a forthcoming movie’s protagonists not only as guest judges on non-fiction properties but also in catchy roles in their favourite shows.
Ranbir Kapoor starrer ‘Barfi’ has taken a similar route to market the movie. But ‘Barfi’ took the game up a notch when it decided to take the lead character across a line-up of three primetime properties on Zee TV.
As a part of its marketing campaign, ‘Barfi’ associated itself with ‘Hitler Didi’, ‘Phir Subah Hogi’ and ‘Punar Vivaah’ that are slotted in the 8:30PM, 9.30PM and 10.30PM time bands on Zee TV.
While fiction-based shows playing host to movie stars is not new to movie marketing, examples being ‘Dum Maro Dum’, ‘Bol Bachchan’, ‘Rowdy Rathore’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ on shows such as ‘Maryada-Lekin Kab Tak’, ‘Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hain’, ‘CID’ and ‘Gumrah’ respectively on various Hindi GECs, this is the first time that a movie has associated itself with three fiction shows on the same channel.
According to Sukesh Motwani, Head – Fiction Programming, Zee TV, the challenging aspect of the integration with ‘Barfi’ was to create value for the film as well as all the three shows. He said, “Any film integration works well for a show only if the celebrity appearance is woven in to the narrative seamlessly and in an organic manner. An integration that is merely plugged into a show for adding a star attraction can come across as forced and stagey, leaving viewers disappointed.”
In the ‘Barfi’ marathon on September 12, 2012, Ranbir Kapoor tried to win over the female lead characters on the three shows by engaging them in one way or another. Based on the insight that integrations need to take the storyline of a show forward, Ranbir Kapoor or ‘Barfi’ plays the peacemaker in ‘Hitler Didi’, spreads cheer with his dancing and upbeat attitude on ‘Phir Subah Hogi’ and ‘Punar Vivaah’.
Shedding light on the rationale behind the selection of these three shows for promotion of ‘Barfi’, Motwani said that the leading ladies of each of these shows were at interesting crossroads in their life. They were all dealing with trying circumstances and the idea of Kapoor’s character planting a smile on their faces made sense. It all came down to intelligently identifying scenarios from amongst the ongoing tracks of Zee TV’s shows that would unfold on the same day and lend itself well to the integration with the movie.