Films vs cricket: guess which is safer

Updated: May 24 2007, 05:30am hrs
In 1Much has been written about Indias early exit from the ICC World Cup 2007 and the disappointments faced by advertisers like Pepsi and LG Electronics that splurged Rs 75 crore and Rs 50 crore respectively in the showcase event along with other brands and advertisers who had collectively invested more than Rs 500 crore in it. No surprises that the advertising fraternity has started questioning the efficacy of cricket as a marketing medium. In fact, there are reports in the media every day as to how the current Indo-Bangla series has been hit by the lack of viewer, advertiser and, therefore, broadcaster interest.

Recent trends show that brand managers and media buyers have realised hitching their marketing wagon on cricket is full of unglorious uncertainties, an expensive investment to stand out in the mad rush of brands. Given that there is a growing number of brands that have started looking beyond cricket as a marketing and communication medium and are using films as a strong platform for reaching out their target audience.

Here are some interesting facts on how films score over cricket.

Advertising and branding in films is more effective because of the repeat value and various mediums of re-runs compared with cricket which has a limited shelf life.

Cricket hampers a brands visibility because of a high level of clutter. In other words, little registration and therefore diluted brand recall among the viewers. On the other hand, films offer brands a subtle, seamless and top of the mind communication option by enhancing the brand saliency.

Brands face a high level of uncertainty when associating with cricket. Television rating points generated by cricket depends on individual scores and performances (as seen in this years World Cup tournament), whereas films have a captive, recurring and a growing audience base at all times.

As we see it, cricket is a high risk, low return mode of marketing. There is a high level of interruption because of the large number of commercial breaks, whereas films allow brands to market themselves to its audience with minimum interruptionin other words, in an environment of high viewer attention.

On the other hand, here are some recent examples of how brands have successfully associated with movies.

Krrish and Rangeela Acron: The idea was to establish Rangeela as a household name by using entertainment as a medium. Krrish was aptly selected as it was the most awaited movie of the year. The target audience comprised children and their mothers. Special Krrish-Rangeela packs were created; the added attraction for the kids was Hrithik s autograph that was incorporated in every pack of Rangeela. The Krrish-Rangeela packs became an instant hit with kids. The unit sales of the product across markets increased tremendously. The production inventory of six months was exhausted in a month

Baskin Robbins and Spider-Man 3: Spider-Man has a huge franchisebe it through movies, comics, merchandise or TV shows. Baskin Robbins has integrated the feel and look of Spider-Man 3 by adapting flavors that represent various characters from the movie including the eccentric villains. Its Super-Hero Flavours (Web Slinger, Sand Storm and Green Gobbler) are loosely based on the most recognised characters from the movie. The packaging and presentation of the ice creams are done so that they look like being part of the movie.

The company is giving away Marvels Super-Hero comics with every purchase of Super-Hero Flavours. A co-branded TVC is also part of the package. Since a large number of Baskin Robbins outlets are located in multiplexes, the promotion is held in theatres only through on-screen activation.

There are numerous other examples. But then we will run out of space.

The author is CEO P9 Integrated, a film-marketing company from the Percept Holdings Group