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In-film ads are multi-crore bets

Ratna Bhushan
Nithya Subramanian

NEW DELHI, Sept. 23

DOES in-film placement really offer value for money for brands? It's a multi-crore question and corporates seem to be groping for an answer.

For instance, Pepsi India is believed to have invested close to a crore in the recently released Baba for its Mirinda brand. The movie, meant to be superstar Rajnikanth's biggest release, failed to stir up the box office and fell short of expectations.

Coca-Cola's recent attempt at ambush marketing — getting Pepsi's star endorser Amitabh Bachchan to associate with arch rival Thums Up in Mahesh Manjrekar's multi-starrer Kaante — is yet to translate into reality. Thanks to the controversy involving the film's actors and director, the release of Kaante seems to be jinxed. The movie is now scheduled for release in October.

Last month, HLL ran a heavily publicised promotion for the Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor & Rani Mukherjee starrer Mujhse Dosti Karoge for its Kwality Walls brand. However, the movie flopped.

Another dud at the box office was the Pantaloon-promoted PFH Entertainment Ltd's production Na Tum Jaano Na Hum starring Hrithik Roshan and Esha Deol. Pantaloon had tied up with Shopper's Stop to merchandise clothes and soft toys associated with the film. Neither the film nor the promotion worked. Now it remains to be seen whether Tata Safari's in-film placement in Ram Gopal Varma's forthcoming movie — Road — will reap the desired benefits. In a departure from tradition, Tata Engineering is reported to have spent Rs 1 crore for the in-film placement of Tata Safari in Road.

According to Mr Ajay Shanghavi, Executive Director, Metlight Productions, which is producing films such as Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, "The film businesses, like other industries, also go through a cycle. The current slowdown in the industry is part of that cyclical phase". However, according to Mr Sanjay Bhutiani, Head of Leo Entertainment (the specialised division of Leo Burnett), "The power of cinema is getting exploited with brand associations with feature films globally. In India too brands like HSBC, ING Vysya, Tata, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Pepsi, HLL are doing in-film advertising, with stars endorsing their products". Today, popular films are released with a minimum of 250-350 prints across the country, reaching remote towns and villages.

Besides, the brand thus gets multiple exposures through TV telecast and VCD rights.

Mr Bhutiani added that the biggest advantage of in-film advertising was that it delivered `the desired impact'. "Though the failure rate of movies is currently very high, every success helps the brand," he said.

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In-film ads are multi-crore bets

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