Branded big bucks

Updated: Jul 30 2006, 05:30am hrs
In-film placement and brand association with movies spells big bucks in Hollywood and is a $450-billion industry. Closer home, in Bollywood, producers havent really been able to cash in on the trend except in a handful of films. In Mumbais film industry, out of the 800 films made each year, 30 manage to associate themselves with any brands. This number, however, is climbing very fast.

The entire look of Madhur Bhandarkars Corporate (2006) has been designed by clothing giant Allen Solly. All the stars in the film sport Allen Solly attire. The brand has provided suits, casuals, trousers, skirts and tops, and also accessories like handbags and glasses, elaborates Bhandarkar. The years biggest hit so far, Rakesh Roshans Krrish, also uses a lot of in-film branding. Priyanka Chopra openly munches Lays chips through the film, Hrithik Roshan wears John Players shirts, advocates the benefits of Bourn- vita, and promotes Singapores tourist sites (the film had a tie-up with Singapore Tourism Board). Confesses Roshan: We went for tie-up with brands we believe in. It is a great source of revenue and it will eventually pick up in India as well. In Farhan Akhtars forthcoming Don, Shah Rukh Khan sports a Tag Heuer Monaco 69.

In 2005, Provogues Autumn-Winrter Collection found a perfect fit in the Right Here Right Now music video (from the film Bluffmaster) and was sported by Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and Riteish Deshmukh. In Paheli, Rani Mukerji and Juhi Chawla flaunted Tanishq jewellery specially designed for the film, which was eventually sold off the stores as the Paheli line.

Navin Shah, CEO, P9 Integrated, (an arm of Percept India a company which worked on movies such as Krissh, Corporate and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) says that associative marketing in India currently attracts around Rs 55-60 crore and is expected to become a Rs 150-crore proposition by 2006-end.

In 2005, Saridon and Cadbury were featured in Parineeta and Archies was mentioned in Waqt. If a brand is associated with a hit film, the brand benefits clearly. Plus, film-makers/advertisers need to be sensitive to viewers and see if the brand fits in the particular scene of a film.

The first instance of in-film placement was the black-and-yellow Rajdoot bike in Raj Kapoors film Bobby, released in 1973.

The most blatant instance, was probably in Subhash Ghais Taal (2000), where Aishwarya Rai and Akshaye Khanna shared a bottle of Coke during a song sequence. The soft drink giant reportedly dished out Rs 1 crore for placing the product in the film. In 1994, American beer company Strohs is reported to have paid Rs 15 lakh to Yash Raj Films for a 15-second mention in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The BSA SLR bike and TI Cycles featured in the Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar are said to have paid producer Nasir Hussain a few lakhs in 1993. Sooraj Barjatyas 1995 film Hum Saath Saath Hain was associated with Coca-Cola. Barjatya is said to have received Rs 1.5 crore for associating his film with the brand.

In Chalte Chalte (2004), SRK drove a Hyundai Santro, using Castrol engine oil. In 2004s Main Hoon Na, Zayed Khan, SRK and Amrita Rao flaunted Reebok casuals. Kaizad Gustads Boom (2002) had 400 carats of real diamonds in its opening scene, courtesy the Diamond Trading Company. Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchans 2002 Kuch Na Kaho had Coca-Cola and Mentos as in-film placements. Thums Up was associated with Sanjay Guptas Kaante (2001).

Even liquor companies are allocating big proportions of their ad budgets to films. Officials in United Breweries say their ad budget going towards films can go up by 25% if there are good projects. Sources in the advertising world say Shaw Wallace and Radico Khaitan too are scouting for in-film placements.

BR Chopras Baghban (2003) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini had tied up with Ford Ikon, ICICI Bank and Tata Tea. Ravi Chopra, director of Baghban, admits that the total benefit to the producers from associating with the brands is in the range of Rs 3-4 crore. He adds, This kind of advertising helps producers recover some costs of the film. Spon-sors also benefit as the brands are associated with film stars.

Says filmmaker Farah Khan, Ad placements need to be carried out with finesse and could work against a film also if done shoddily. Think Ghais Yaadein (2002), where Pass-Pass, Hero Cycles and Coke sprang in every second frame and the film was rejected by the audience.

Ads in print, television and hoardings fetch companies mileage, but in-film branding rides high on glamour and is more effective. But do filmmakers take into account if the viewer endorses the idea

As long as the scenes shot well, no ones complaining. That is the consensus. Instances of audience approval include Baghban (Tata Tea,ICICI Bank), Kya Kool Hain Hum (Spykar), Main Hoon Na (Lays chips, Pepsi and Reebok) and Kaal (National Geographic and Handycam).

The movie content and brand must merge and not appear as commercial breaks, feels director Soham Shah.