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How Hollywood is using Indian brands to promote films

Last updated on: May 27, 2011 12:20 IST

How Hollywood is using Indian brands to promote films

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Varada Bhat in Mumbai

Today, even fictional characters like Buzz Lightyear -- the space ranger and one of the two main protagonists from Toy Story -- and his co-star toys (Woody, Mr Potato Head , Jessie and Andy) become an instant hit with the Indian audience.

The growing importance of the Indian film market is reflected in the fact that a number of Hollywood studios are queuing up and finding innovative ways to woo the movie buff. Brand Hollywood is steadily increasing its market share in the Indian Box office, and production companies are going all out to promote their movies with a '360-degree approach'.

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For instance, the popularity of Buzz Lightyear and his toy gang prompted the Walt Disney Company to tie up with Pepsodent to launch a 3D comic book featuring the adventures of the fictional Toy Story characters.

The India audience has witnessed several such promotional initiatives taken by Hollywood production houses.

The innovations are worth a mention: During the release of Tron Legacy, Disney and Pepsodent's promotional strategy was built around the Tron rip-cord bike to woo children.

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Walt Disney tied up with Clinic Plus to promote Tangled, where Clinic Plus packs carried different 3D accessories like hair-clips, rubberbands and hairbands.

It also had a tie up with 3D LG TV for the Pirates of Carribean.

While Fox Star Studios tied up with Horlicks for the Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Paramount Pictures associated with Tata Photon for their production, Fast and Furious 5.

"We want to create Disney Difference with all our movies. We want audiences to experience this. So we have on-ground activations, various events and other co-branded tie-ups as well," said K Seshahaye, executive director-marketing & distribution, Walt Disney Studios (India).

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Image: Junior Horlicks ad.

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Last December, during the release of Tron, Disney organised events to promote the bike.

Similarly, during Toy Story 3, the company launched a campaign -- 'donate a toy' -- to encourage kids to give away their toys.

"This was held across eight India cities and we collected over 127,000 toys," he said.

Echoing Seshahaye's views,Vivek Krishnani, head of distribution, marketing and syndication at Fox Star Studios, said such tie-ups and activations help supplement the overall marketing campaign.

"The market is growing every year with Hollywood films gaining ground. A new market has also opened up with such hits being dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

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"With the recent success, brands are also opening up to these initiatives and want to be associated with the movies," said Krishnani.

In the past one year, most studios have increased their marketing spends by 50-100 per cent depending on the genre of the movie.

Reports suggest the current share of Hollywood films is 11-12 per cent -- up from five per cent two years ago.

"There is a growing appetite and acceptance of Hollywood films in India with penetration of multiplexes, dubbing in various languages and also the growing interest in watching 3D movies," said Sunil Punjabi ,CEO Cinemax.

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He said Warner Bros' Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince was released in India with 353 prints in 2009, but last December when Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows hit the screens over 500 prints were released.

To capitalise on this growing market, Paramount Films has tied up with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures to increase its footprint in India.

As part of the alliance, the studio will use Viacom 18's marketing muscle for movies promotions and also leverage the company's media assets like MTV, VH1 and internet platforms.

For the Transformers series, which will be released on July 1, Viacom 18 has chalked out its marketing strategies keeping in mind the Indian sensibilities.

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"For the movie, we will not only have several brand tie-ups but also customise it to the Indian mindset as the underlying theme of the movie is victory of good over evil," said Vikram Malhotra, chief operating officer, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.

According to information received by Cinemax, Hollywood's share of Domestic box office collections is expected to grow by 20-25 per cent this year from 14 per cent in 2010.

"Hollywood, which had a mere three to five per cent market share a few years ago, has now realised the potential of the Indian market. The market is growing 25 per cent year-on-year.

"While this was, so far, a metro-centric phenomenon, the dubbed versions have also fetched good Box Office collections," said Timmy S Kandhari, leader, entertainment & media practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

 


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