How to make in-film branding a hit

Today brands are latching on to films for greater visibility, experts point out some pitfalls to avoid while devising branding plans

e4m by Shree Lahiri
Updated: Aug 30, 2012 8:29 PM
How to make in-film branding a hit

Hrithik Roshan earnestly asking Preity Zinta’s family to have Bournvita everyday in the movie ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, though a tad too obvious as brand placement in a film, was endearing enough given the character that the actor essays. But when there are over 25 brands placed in ‘strategic’ frames in a single movie, as was seen in recently released ‘Ra.One’, questions are raised as to how much the brands gain from such placements. Then there are examples of movies such as ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, which led to a mini boom in Spanish tourism, thanks to the extensive coverage of Spanish locales in the entire movie. Latest releases, ‘Cocktail’ and ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, have also given wide visibility to brands through strategic placements.

Increasingly, evolved directors are looking at prospect of branding in films in a subtle manner that blends with the story. exchange4media speaks to some industry experts to know what works in in-film branding and what pitfalls to avoid.

Must be woven seamlessly into the story
With in-film placing of brands on the upswing, it is a good fit for brands, but advertisers have to be careful about how they place their brands in this medium. “It should not be jarring and must be woven seamlessly into the script,” said Amol Mohandas, VP, Allied Media.

Smart integration
There should be integration of storyline with brand values. “Basically in India any communication through films is always taken as noticed and registered,” said Yusuf Shaikh, Head Distribution and IPR, Percept Pictures adding, “The audience loves stardom.” This is a ‘smart way’ and there’s freedom for creativity. “If you think a certain movie fits into your scheme of things, this brings in smart integration. A smart brand manager will think along these lines,” Shaikh further said.

Major role of activation and social media
Today activation and social media play a major role in promoting movies. “Audiences are spending so much more time on social media that it’s too big to ignore. We have pretty much moved to doing just a Facebook page instead of a dedicated movie microsite. Given the nature of the medium, we also try to use it as more than just a distribution platform,” shared Ashish Patil, Vice President, Youth Films, Brand Partnerships, Talent Management at Yash Raj Films (YRF). In fact, YRF has set up an independent division titled, Brand Partnerships, which is dedicated to brand placements.

Placements must give RoIs
All spends are justified if they meet some RoI. One has to be very clear as to what the measurement metric is and then work out the RoI. According to Zubin Tatna, National Director, MEC, if in-film is done for awareness or brand association, then calculating RoI on sales is pointless. “With in-film integrations, the lead actors become brand endorsers (depending on how the brand is used). Given the exorbitant costs for celebrities, this could give a very healthy RoI,” he added.

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