April belonged to Disney’s The Jungle Book, whose marketing strategy helped make India a top global market for the film
April came to an end and we’re back with our regular analysis of films that scored and those that didn’t, in terms of marketing and promotions. Producers went all guns blazing to promote their films but, sometimes, it’s not about how much a film is promoted but using the right strategy to promote it. Still, despite an elaborate release roster and heavy-duty marketing, not many managed to rake in profits at the box office.
Disney’s Hollywood flick The Jungle Book was a worthy winner for the best-promoted film in the month of April, with their second release of the month Baaghi coming a close second.
With great content and superlative marketing, the movie emerged as the winner among all films that included Ki & Ka, Sardaar Gabbar Singh, Love Games, FAN, Nil Battey Sannata, Laal Rang, Baaghi and Shortcut Safari.
We spoke to trade experts, who are best placed to judge whether production houses and marketing gurus did full justice to their respective productions. Here’s the industry’s take:
Kumar Taurani, Producer
There are two films I would like to name – The Jungle Book and Baaghi. Tiger Shroff and Shradha Kapoor were everywhere promoting their film Baaghi, whose marketing team used all the right ingredients from the film to promote it. Then, of course, there was The Jungle Book, whose Hindi dubbed version was very well promoted in India. They got all the biggies of Bollywood to dub for the film and it connected very well with all those who grew up in the ‘90s.
Ratan Jain, Producer
The Jungle Book was the best promoted film of the month, without a doubt, the collections say it all. The first teaser created a massive buzz and it kept increasing. Obviously, the word-of-mouth publicity worked very well. The Jungle Book is getting a repeat audience, who are watching both the English version and the dubbed version.
Pradeep Sarkar, Director
I don’t know about on-ground marketing but word-of-mouth publicity definitely worked for The Jungle Book. The film caters not only to today’s kids because people who grew up in the ‘90s are its core audience. After so many weeks, cinemas are still running house-full shows. So without a doubt, The Jungle Book is the best marketed film of the month.
Anees Bazmee, Director
The best marketed film of the month is undoubtedly The Jungle Book, which is still going strong in cinemas. It was very well marketed keeping in mind that it has a Indian story. Disney promoted the film in a very different way and people started talking about it. The film had an audience in both languages, so people watched it in English and then went to watch the Hindi version.
Prerna Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Eros International
Eros has enjoyed a successful year with films like Ki & Ka and Nil Battey Sannata, both commercially and critically. With every film, we aim to innovate strategies keeping various aspects of the release in mind.
Ki & Ka was one of the most appreciated and talked-about movies, not just for the subject of the film but also for how the movie was promoted innovatively. We stuck to the theme of the movie during every promotional event, for example – we hosted a Women’s Day event with women journalists who were served lunch by Arjun (Kapoor), or a special event where Arjun’s cooked with the male counterparts from the media. The idea was to popularise the names Ki & Ka across mediums and lead to conversations in every household.
Washrooms across multiplexes had Ki & Ka branding; the cast wore Ki (ladki) & Ka (ladka) T-shirts through the promotions; celebrities tweeted their photos with their favourite Kis & Kas; and there were brand tie-ups. The objective with Nil Battey Sannata was different, and the film was declared tax-free in Delhi & UP even before its release, which was a first.
Devang Sampat, Business Head/Strategic Initiatives, Cinepolis
The best-promoted film in April was The Jungle Book. Not releasing in non-2K cinemas and giving the right Bollywood flavour to the movie were great moves by Disney. The collections and demand for the Hindi version was much bigger than the English version and this proves that marketing was a winner in the India market. For Cinepolis, we generated 1 million admits, the highest-ever for a Hollywood movie.
Kamal Gianchandani, Ceo, Pvr Pictures
Ki & Ka, The Jungle Book and Baaghi share the honours for the best-marketed films of April. Right from the first promo till their release, they occupied enough space in the minds of the audience to make them reach for their wallets.
Amit Sharma, Managing Director, Miraj Entertainment
Kudos to The Jungle Book team for the promotional song Jungle jungle baat chali hai, which was a master stroke as it has great recall across age groups – kids enjoyed the virtual reality of the epic creation by Rudyard Kipling, while the young-old felt nostalgic. In addition, the voiceovers by Bollywood biggies created a huge buzz.
Rajender Singh, Vp Programming & Distribution, Inox Leisure
The Jungle Book was the best marketed film of April. Besides promoting the film on various platforms, Disney targeted the older generation as well as kids, with the promotional song of the film, Jungle jungle baat chali hai, which made the older generation revisit their childhood. The master stroke was the voiceovers of Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan Khan, Om Puri, Nana Patekar and Shefali Shah.
Rajesh Makhija, Avp Sales And Marketing, Carnival Cinemas
This time, Hollywood has trumped Bollywood in marketing as well as in content preference. We enjoyed Gaurav aka SRK dancing on all versions of the FAN anthem; we saw a different side of Ki & Ka; we explored many eccentric activities with Tiger and Shraddha in Baaghi, which is still going strong at the box office; but that magical Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai song emerged as the winning stroke in The Jungle Book. I personally liked the Hindi dubbing, from Priyanka (Chopra), Irrfan Khan and Nana Patekar.
Rahul Puri, Managing Director, Mukta Arts
I believe Baaghi was the best-marketed movie of the month. It had the third-biggest opening of the year so far and is still doing well at the box office. Tiger is known for his action stunts and he put them to use while promoting the film. Shraddha impressed by singing one of the songs from the movie, which her fans loved. We must not forget that movies like FAN and The Jungle Book already had a strong fan base thanks to SRK and the already well known fable in India. Despit being up against films like those, Baaghi still broke records.
Raj Malik, Senior Vice-President, Production And Distribution, Krian Pictures
The best-marketed film was FAN. Most of the innovations for the film were designed keeping in mind film fans, which is an interesting thought. The production house used an SRK fan to launch the poster and trailer, besides running contests.
Whether it is leveraging the star persona of a film or the climate of the film’s concept itself, innovative marketing ideas tend to be noticed more, and compel the audience to buy cinema tickets. Laal Rang, which had a unique subject line, was promoted keeping in mind blood donation drives as a social cause.
Girish Johar, Head – Global Revenue, Essel Vision
Without a doubt, this month goes to team UTV they had two biggies, The Jungle Book and Baaghi, and both did wonders at the BO. Starting with The Jungle Book, the way they positioned this film for kids and adults alike, is simply fabulous. In fact, the older generation was thronging to cinemas with the younger ones to catch this film. They dubbed the film in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu as well. And the PR was excellent, cashing in on the celebrities dubbing in the regional languages. This positioned the film very aptly. We are in its fifth week and the film is still doing very well at the BO.
I would like to also mention that The Jungle Book is the first film to put the Indian market in the number five slot for global box office revenue, after the United States, Canada, China and the United Kingdom. This is a huge achievement.
Now with Baaghi, they focused on the youth and movie-goers who love action. Two back-to-back winners for team UTV, Congratulations!
Murli Chhatwani, Managing Director, Muviwala Entertainment
April 2016 has been quite promising for Bollywood and Hollywood movies, as far as box office numbers and content are concerned. Yash Raj Films had designed their marketing and promotional campaign for their movie FAN, which would connect with fans who are passionate about their idol. The studio also conducted a long-drawn digital contest, which resulted in some SRK fans being introduced along with the release of the Fan Anthem, which was released in seven regional languages.
The movie Nil Battey Sannata did a digital campaign around the theme ‘Have Faith and Believe in Yourself’’ whereas Baaghi did their promotions the traditional way, starting with television and moving on to radio, events and digital, thus connecting the audience with theme ‘Being Rebel’, which worked wonders for the film.
The sure winner in this case is The Jungle Book, whose box-office collections have already crossed Rs 165 crore in India. The communication has been developed keeping in mind the super-hit television series of the 1990s, whether through the song Jungle jungle baat chali hai or the voice casting for the Hindi version. The timing of the release and the campaign strategy which stressed the fact that the movie needs to be experienced in both languages worked very well.
Tinku Singh, Group President And Chief Strategy Officer, SRS Group (Cinemas)
The Jungle Book was a magnificent movie and it was marketed very well. It lives up to its expectations of incredible animation, thrilling action and cutting-edge technology. The heartening story brings back fond memories for elders while the thrilling animation keep youngsters enticed throughout the movie.
For us at Disney India, April stands for an action packed month! We had two releases – The Jungle Bookand Baaghi and we just released Captain America: Civil War, and it literally kept us on our toes. We are extremely overwhelmed that all our marketing and distribution plans have borne great results with both (The Jungle Book and Baaghi) films setting records at many levels!
After we had watched the original English version of The Jungle Book, we knew we had a very special movie on hand, and one with a strong resonance in India. Most Indians have grown-up on the adventure tales of Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and Shere Khan – either through Rudyard Kipling’s book or Disney’s 1967 animated film or 90s animated series on Doordarshan. Being one of those rare international films with an Indian heart and an equal appeal across age-groups, we knew creatively it had to be mounted like a big budget Hindi movie.
That said, the marketing and promotional concepts couldn’t be the conventional drill followed for a big-budget Hindi film for obvious reasons. Also, through our initiatives we wanted fans to revive the past memories associated with the stories and pass the legacy of Jungle Book forward to the new generation.
We initiated The Jungle Book campaign with announcement of the release date – the film came out in India (April 8 ) a week before it released in the US (April 15). News of the film premiering in India first grabbed a lot of attention from the media, which translated into a big bang entry.
Then, given the wide-appeal of and fans’ strong connect with Jungle Book we planned to release our film in English as well as regional languages – Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. With Avengers: Age of Ultron we had discovered that the regional market has a huge appetite for the larger-than-life blockbuster film experiences. These initial initiatives set the record that we weren’t going to stop at anything to make The Jungle Book bigger and better for India.
For us, at Disney India, we have always believed in elevating standards in all areas of filmmaking. From the overwhelming response to the trailer of the English version, we knew fans were awaiting the film with bated breath, but we wanted to give similar positioning to the Hindi version. We decided to match the English version’s stellar voice cast for the Hindi version too! For the first time ever a bunch of big names from Hindi film industry came together for a Hollywood film! We prepared our wish list of actors to approach to bring alive Kipling’s immortal characters for the Hindi version. It became one of the widely written and talked about story by the media, which again worked to our advantage.
Soon we released the Hindi trailer and voice bytes by the Hindi film actors, both had the fans go crazy with joy! We also created special posters featuring the India voice cast names and voice videos for the Hindi version were released to leverage its perception among the media and audience. All through our campaign we continued communicating that the Hindi and English are two different and unique films. Also that both versions are a must watch! Now, we know that most people have actually watched both the versions, and we can’t be happier! Another factor that propelled the position of the Hindi version as a different film was that we got onboard Mayur Puri, an established writer, to successfully infused Indian flavour in the script through the dialogues and humor. We had many narrations for the Hindi version of The Jungle Book, just like we would for any of our local Hindi productions. All that effort has really paid off !
When it comes to Hindi movies, music is a ‘bare necessity’! We revived magic of the two most popular melodies associated to the Jungle Book stories. One, we got Gulzar saab and Vishal Bhardwaj to reprise their famous song, Jungle jungle baat chali hai, the title song of ‘90s Doordarshan Jungle Book series, for our The Jungle Book. With all our initiatives we were in constant media glare and receiving love from the audience, but what totally had the media go in a frenzy was our plan to bring Mowgli home – Neel Sethi’s visit to India. From the moment the 12-year-old touched the Indian airport he was under the spotlight. While the conventional media was being charmed, the twelve-year-old sent his wishes to his fans in India by going live on Facebook which created a record of sorts. A special Dubsmash activity had been launched called #JungleSmash where people can create their Dubsmash videos enacting to key Hindi/English dialogues from the film. We launched a UGC activity for parents to send videos of their kids dancing to Jungle jungle baat chali hai. That way we also engaged the social media to augment the film’s promotion.
On the other hand we had a very diverse and desi film, Baaghi, which stars Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor. Given the mass appeal of Baaghi we opted for the conventional marketing route as well as integrated with the social media to reach out to fans of the young actors. The campaign kicked off through Twitter where Tiger and Shraddha shared everything from first look to posters to trailers, which was an instant medium to connect with the target audience. Apart from giving interviews to local media across mediums, Tiger and Shroff has video conferences with leading media houses from Pakistan and Gulf as action movies are a big draw in those countries.
For the media in Mumbai, a live action event was held where Tiger performed a fusion of martial arts and Kalaripayattu. Television being the best way to reach a wider audience, Tiger and Shraddha appeared on a few leading TV shows. Having said that, we didn’t want to integrate with any and every show, instead affiliate with programs on GEC’s that synced with film’s mood and targeted the key audience and also visited popular spots in key market cities – Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur. Not only did they meet fans, but also interacted with the media.
Apart from these we integrated with youth lifestyle related brands to propel the position of the film.
Last but crucial element, April marks the beginning of vacations for most school and college students. The release dates of The Jungle Book and Baaghi equally contributed towards making both these films breaking records at the box-office.