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MNCs cozy up to Bollywood films

By Sapna Agarwal
March 29, 2007 11:36 IST
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Taking a lead from in-film advertising, multi-national companies are now eyeing associative marketing partnerships in Bollywood.

If Nike had become a part of the Men in Blue's uniform for the Cricket World Cup 2007, Reebok is busy romancing Bollywood. And this is not just a brief flirtatious engagement, as the sports brand readies for long innings.

It's definitely not in-film advertising where a brand makes an appearance akin to an advert in a movie that the MNC is interested in, but a partnership with production houses for associative marketing.

In the just-released cricket movie, Hattrick, Reebok has a small placement in the movie and will be seen in a 60 second commercial at the end of the movie. The brand will also be seen in a small tie-up with Salaam India, Lets Bring the Cup Home and Goal, a football movie releasing later this year.

In Goal, customers will get to see Reebok's new range of sports shoes sported by the star cast that would be launched in August along with the movie. Reebok is also partly financing the movie and would participate in co-promotions, retail promotions and other activities.

Reebok has increased its budget tenfold for alternative mediums, which largely include Bollywood. "Our budget has increased from 1 per cent in 2006 to 10 per cent in 2007 for alternative mediums and budgets will increase further next year," said Sajid Shammim, marketing head, Reebok.

Over the last two years, the trend is shifting from in-film advertising to associative marketing and tie-ups with bigger budgets. Also, more brands, whether it is the FMCGs, new sectors like apparels (for instance, Pantaloons was associated with Don), all are looking at tapping into Bollywood to reach their consumers.

R Lakshminarayan, chief executive officer, Mudra Marketing Services, affirms the growing trend, "For regional movies, brands have budgets of Rs 25-30 lakh (Rs 2.5-3 million) and for a Rajnikanth-starrer or popular stars brands spend anywhere up to Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) for a movie, similar to the going rates for Bollywood movies."

It's no wonder then that advertising agencies like Madison, JWT, Leo and Group M have specialist divisions focusing on entertainment business. Broadmind, Group M's specialist unit for its entertainment business, has signed on 100 customers in four years since inception.

Some of its work includes ICICI in-film placement in Baghban, Lenevo in Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna and now Reebok in Goal.

Vinit Karnik, senior director, Broadmind, says, "We signed 16 new customers in 2006 and expect 100 per cent growth to 25-30 new customers in 2007."

Bollywood has now become an integral part of the advertising budgets of corporates, Sidharth Kapoor, director, UTV, says, "Over the last two years corporates are setting aside significant budgets for Bollywood. A huge change from the ad hoc spending where Bollywood was a part of the 5-10 per cent of the advertising budget allocated for innovations."

Till last year, brands association was limited to just 60-70 movies of the over 300 Bollywood movies releasing every year. Praveen Vadhera, country head, Brand David, says this will now change.

"In-film advertising and associative marketing is growing at over 70 per cent in 2007 and the number of movies having brand tie-ups will also double this year."

At UTV, "brand tie-ups account for 5 per cent of our overall revenues and in three years it will account for 10 per cent," said Kapoor. Similarly, for Brand David, which had only one brand tie-up HPCL Krrish-Power last year, expect at least 10 such projects in 2007, says Vadhera.
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Sapna Agarwal
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