Nithya Subramanian
Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

New Delhi, Oct. 25

PERKY Preity Zinta and cool dude Saif Ali Khan aroused viewer curiosity for their latest hit Salaam Namaste through some slick teaser promotions. The strategy worked, and the movie has raked in huge profits. Now, film marketers are hoping to take promotions to the next level through advergaming a concept that will keep the consumer involved with a brand or a product through games on the Internet or mobile phones.

According to Mr Sanjay Bhutiani, CEO, P9 Integrated (a movie and entertainment marketing company), "We are trying to create advergames around certain specific movie properties. We are talking to both gaming production companies as well as film producers for this, and hope to integrate a brand too." This, he said, would help create interest in the movie and give mileage to the brand associating itself with such a promotion.

Mr Bhutiani added that advergaming would work for certain genre of films, and, therefore, appropriate projects would have to be identified. Besides increasing interactivity, this could also bring in some additional revenues through pay-per-download.

Media planners feel that advergaming is still at a nascent stage in the country, but with growth in GPRS-enabled phones and increased Internet connectivity, it is poised for a take-off. Ms Preeti Desai, President of Internet and Mobile Association of India, feels the mantra that Internet promotion companies are betting on, is that sooner or later a marketing strategy that delivers a successful brand engagement is sure to click with the clients.

"Unlike other mediums such as television where viewers generally multi-task, we believe that 93-94 per cent of netizens engaged in a gaming session prefer to concentrate fully on the task at hand, and only a small percentage may engage in simultaneous tasks like chatting online. This makes advergaming an effective way to communicate with people," said Ms Desai.

"People, on an average each day, spend two hours on television, 20 minutes on the print medium, four to five minutes on the radio and those who have access to the Internet spend 25 to 30 minutes surfing," said Mr Sandip Tarkas, CEO, Media Direction (part of RK Swamy/BBDO).

However, Mr Carlton D'Silva, Creative Director of promotion firm Hungama, which has so far worked on six to seven advergames, felt that advergaming should take-off now more than ever. "The new version of Flash a multimedia tool used for creation of new applications on Internet enables one to include video in advergames, making the experience a lot more exciting and enriching," he said.

So the next time, maybe you, too, could be part of a Bunty & Bubli plot off-screen, of course.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 26, 2005)
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