Brands with Benefits


    So what’s the similarity between Subhash Ghai’s Yaadein and Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish? Or for that matter with a thousand other films of late? Hit or flop one thing common among most of the recent films are the in-film advertisements that fleetingly make an appearance on the big screen.

    One can’t help but notice Salman Khan break a bone or two in his latest blockbuster Dabangg 2 with an iron rod in the opening action sequence. That the iron rod manufacturer must have paid a bomb to get his product featured in the film is another case altogether.

    On the contrary, a pharmaceutical major, makers of Zandu Balm dragged producer Arbaaz Khan to the courts for using their brand name ‘Zandu Balm’ in the prequel to Dabangg 2. It was a win-win situation for the pharmaceutical company as they got some big time free promotion for their brand and at the same time, they had Malaika Arora Khan endorsing the product through television commercials.

    So the big question is whether these in-film advertisements help in the brand promotion in the long run? Do the brand linger in the mind of the audiences way after they have left the confines of the theatres or after the television telecast? Brands pay exorbitant sum of money for spot bookings on televisions and have often repeat telecasts of their commercials for building up brand recall in the mind of consumers. Stars feature in most of these commercials that make or break the brands. There is a huge strategy involved in building up a brand. Yet, one fleeting glimpse of the brand through in-film advertising cannot help the brand much unless it gels with the story as had been the case with Zandu Balm or for that matter Cadbury Bournvita in Koi Mil Gaya.

    Yes, more and more brands are flocking to some of the biggest films to grab a piece of the eyeballs of the audiences. Sadly, some work and some don’t. Take the case of Yaadein which had a plethora of brands featured in every next scene and yet today or for that matter moments after you watch the film, you fail to recall even one good in-film placement.

    Marketing is all about making an impact in the mind of the end consumers and in-film is all about knowing where to place your brand in the story flow and not just randomly. Salman Khan proved that using a particular brand iron rod is good an investment while Subhash Ghai has proved that proper in-film placements is the need of the hour.

    And despite the fact that India is largely a democratic country, it is still ruled by two big phenomenon – Cricket and Films. India churns out about a thousand films annually and yet just a handful of the films cater to in-film brand endorsements. Marketers need to cash in on this fact. There is a huge growth potential for in-film brand promotion which needs to be tapped.

    Almost all the major advertisement agencies in India have realized the potential of in-film marketing and have set up shops to latch on to this trend. What they fail to realize is that they need to sit down with the writers/directors of the film they are targeting, to really understand if their brand will actually benefit itself in the long run by being associated with the film or will it simply benefit the film makers. Brands need to be incorporated in the scripts to blend in seamlessly with the story flow. Then only, brand recall comes into play. Otherwise, it’s just sheer wastage of money for the brands while the makers of the film laugh all the way to the bank.

    So where in-film endorsements go, brands with benefits is passé!


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