Marketing Movies

Going back to T Nagar!

I used to live in a place called Mambalam Road, which was once an integral part of a thriving industry. Film Hoardings.

There used to be two large players in this market with the largest being J P Krishna. Almost every single hoarding in the state for all large banners Tamil Film banners including AVM, Satya and Devar used J P Krishna’s services. The speciality? These hoardings were hand painted and will look so real and beautiful. And it used to be a sight to watch these painters at work because being a film fan I used to get to see the posters / photographs before many others. Also, the size used to amaze me. 40ft hoarding will be actually hand painted. WOW!

Come to think of it, that was all they did for promoting a film other than PR. Those were not the days of TV promos because there were only 2 channels. DD local and DD National :). Moreover, the film industry wasn’t run by professionals. They were just the creative kind and all they could think of, was film making. So the rest of the departments including marketing weren’t their greatest strength.

I am amazed at the speed with which the Movie Marketing Industry has taken over the Movie Making Industry in current times.

Nowadays, a movie budget includes the marketing budget and the number is substantial enough to ensure that enough visibility is garnered in the first weekend itself. Considering that 50% or more collections for a movie happens in the first weekend (or maybe the first 2 weekends), it is important to have a very high intensity burst and the marketing functions for these film houses do the job brilliantly.

Icing on the cake? They actually employ advertising agencies and they get really creative in promoting a movie. With many aces up their sleeve, I thought it would be worth discussing a few here.

PR – This is something that goes on an overdrive before a movie release. We Indians are suckers for celebrity secrets and the problem is that the movie marketers know it. So before the release of a film, you would end up knowing almost every dirty secret (of which I would assume that more than 60% would be fabricated) will be shared with the publications with enough pictures. Sometimes, not sharing any detail of the film will be the PR activity itself. And many times, it would be some controversy. Take the case of Raavan. The film was mired with enough controversies to ensure that enough people spoke about it. Starting from Junior AB claiming to have done a stunt and some swimmer from Bangalore claiming to have performed the stunt to Senior AB launching a desperate attack on Mani to say that the Hindi edit wasn’t great, PR was on an overdrive. Maybe it is this overdrive that cost the film dear, but the function did its job beautifully. Unfortunate that the strategy didn’t work.

Trailors – With the idiot box taking over as one of the largest modes of promoting a product / service, it meant that the 30 second cut of the film must be so slick that you would want to endure 3 hours of the same thing. So the idiot box edits are nothing short of awesome to make you want to watch the film.

Reality Shows – The world today is nothing short of The Truman Show. With reality shows garnering more TRPs and GRPs than your favorite serials movie houses started connecting with these shows to promote their films. After all, this would mean that they get to promote the film for half hour (or one hour in some cases) in the given channel. So you can find the key cast of a film participating in a reality show just to ensure that their film gets talked about.

Online – Starting from a full fledged website for a film (example: to taking over the twitter accounts of key members of the cast, the online promotions side of the movie house has its hands full. Sonam Kapoor just before the launch of Aisha started sharing images from the film in the pretext of finding out how she looks with everyone. The good looker that she was, the film did get a positive opening owing to her strategy of sharing images through Twitter. Every film today has a Facebook page too. Social media today forms a key part of every film’s marketing strategy.

Just to be sure that we don’t leave out… Print happens too!

However, it is refreshing to see that movie marketing has taken a leaf out of advertising for products and indulge in creative and innovative ways to promote. Furthermore, these campaigns get considered for Advertising awards. The campaigns for Paa & 3 Idiots won accolades at Emvies for innovative usage of the media.

Film stars go to any length (figuratively and literally) to promote their movies. One of the Emvie winner ‘3 Idiots’ got it for Aamir travelling the length and breadth of the country many times in disguise and the competition was to identify him. This kind of made the character blend with the masses, thus ensuring larger audience for the film.

This certainly is a category where the bar is always high and is raised further with each large project. The film making business is creative and to advertise that you would again get creative. Sounds like the second level dream of Fischer in Inception.

Would certainly be fun…

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