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Multiple brand collaborations: ‘83’ shows how to do it right

Gone are the days when a movie’s promotion was solely dependent on word-of-mouth and those glossy, and sometimes tacky, posters of all-smiling hero-heroine combine outside the cinema hall. Bollywood has come a long way in movie promotions, with a multi-phased strategy to keep the buzz alive much before the movie’s release – from the unveiling of the movie poster on social media, to teaser and trailer launch, song releases, appearances of the movie’s stars in different TV shows, etc.

One of the most anticipated movies in recent times, ‘83’ has lived up to the massive buzz created around it. The movie narrating the underdog story of Kapil’s Devils who crafted a historic win at the 1983 cricket World Cup in England has won over Indians. Critics have praised Ranveer Singh for delivering his career best performance as then Indian captain Kapil Dev.

It’s not surprising to see the array of brands associating with ‘83’. For perimeter branding, in-film affiliations, and out-of-film placement, the film has roped in over 35 brands, including Toothsi, which has a co-branded agreement with the film, as well as Nestle, Rupa, and Finolex, which have in-film placements.

Commenting on the multiple branding in the film, Sandeep Goyal, Managing Director, Rediffusion, said, “These collaborations do work, provided they are not in the face. As long as they are contextually correct and subtly placed, there is no issue. But in ‘83’, some of the perimeter boards have ads of brands that did not even perhaps exist at that time! Such digressions are avoidable!”

On how brands capitalise on partnership marketing with films, Indrajeet Mookherjee, Managing Partner, dentsuMB India, elaborated, “The power of Bollywood in India is undeniable. It is a real passion in India and partnership with films can skyrocket a brand’s awareness overnight. While the rewards of partnering with a film can be astronomical, the partnership has to be relevant and core to the brand and its personality. With big budgets and even bigger consumer splashes, promotional partnerships can yield big-picture dividends for brands. The promotion of a film is not monkey business and requires months of planning, collaboration and patience. Crores of rupees are being spent on film promotions today and these promotions are consumer touchpoints for the brands, be it TV promos, OTT snips, or even an appearance in ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’.”

Adding more on consumer-targeting techniques positively contributing to brands, he said that in films, advertising has emerged as a successful avenue to gain eyeballs from consumers.

“In an over-communicated society, the primary intention behind creating new promotional techniques by brands is to break the clutter and create a position in the human mind. However, the memorability of the brand depends on how uniquely it associates with the film. Over time, brand associations have moved from just plain in visual frames to characters using their products to placements as part of a popular song in the movie. How creatively the brand is placed in the film will determine awareness and create a favourable brand disposition,” Mookherjee added.

Further commenting on the strategy behind placing the brand in a particular film, Nitin Sharma, VP - Business, Infectious, said, “‘The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing’, said had Tom Fishburne. In a world where people are willing to pay for premium versions of apps just to avoid ads, it’s becoming even more important for marketers to explore platforms that facilitate reach and acceptance. A subtle but strong embedding of a brand organically into the plot of a film is emerging as a powerful way to do that.”

On brands capitalising on partnership marketing with films, he remarked, “While branded content has become the buzzword in today’s digital age, iconic brands like BMW have set benchmarks for this two decades ago. Their 2001 series of short films, ‘The Hire’, directed by the world’s best filmmakers highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW automobiles, possibly better than any ad ever could. FedEx was central to the plot of Oscar-nominated ‘Cast Away’, a movie that also gave a big push to Wilson Sporting Goods (Mr. Wilson, the volleyball) and ‘The Lego Movie’ (2014) was an out and out product demo film.”

“Just like with everything else in marketing, I don’t think there’s a set formula to stand out while collaborating with a film. The one thing that can definitely help brands is solving a real problem and bringing the brand promise to life in a very real and relatable way. Some examples that come to mind are the Truecaller integration in ‘Gully Boy’ and Zomato stepping in to save the day in Jason Derulo x Tesher’s ‘Jalebi Baby’. ‘83’ has over 30 brands jostling for attention, not just with each other but also with the film itself. The ones that seamlessly fit into the film’s narrative without feeling force-fitted will find favour with viewers,” Nitin Sharma further added.

Nadeesh Bhambi, Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships & Growth, White Rivers Media, noted that partnering with films has a proven history of being beneficial for brands.

He further said, “It gives credibility to a brand in the minds of its existing consumers, which can influence brand loyalty down the line. Brands can reap the benefits of being associated with actors and celebrities of a certain stature over an extended period of time without parking budgets in multi-year endorsement contracts. It can even work as a testing ground to explore which celebrity drives the maximum affinity for their brand before they lock them in as a brand ambassador.”

“Some brands have managed to maintain top-of-the-mind recall among the masses simply by partnering in out-film placements with multiple films throughout the year and promoting it digitally. Others focus on more strategic in-film placements to establish a certain character for the brand or product,” Bhambi concluded.

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