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Let’s Shake On It

Forging partnerships and brand associations can unlock a pile of moolah for a studio. They key is to be smart

Sounds almost blasphemous. But let’s lay out the facts. Fully loaded, Bollywood sits at about Rs 10,000 crore as an industry. The IPL, a 45-day activity, sits at about Rs 6,000 crore. The 30th largest Indian company is 2.5 times bigger than our entire industry… Canara Bank! Yes, the elite Rs 100-crore club is growing, but when will things really break out? With a film-crazy nation like ours, with us being the single-largest movie-producing nation in the world, why can’t this number be bigger?

Most growth is fuelled by partners. Take the IPL… it’s when the sponsors, franchises, advertising, merchandising, ground extensions kick in that the number explodes. As an industry, we don’t make it easy for partners. Things are improving but the consistency is missing. We’re still fairly disorganised. It’s very difficult to measure placements on a film. Did it make an impact? Did it work? Was it effective because my friends and family saw it or a waste of time because my niece altogether missed it?

It’s when we, as an industry, are able to address some of these concerns of marketers, and demonstrate impact that we will be able to drive up the value – hell, demand a value – against a placement or partnership. For now, most studios are bartering placements / associations for media!

Being a fully-integrated movie studio, the intent at Yash Raj Films is to try and offer a 360-degree solution across the entire movie value chain. No matter what your entry point, give you spin-offs, extensions across, eg:

• Content embedding/placement: Suzuki in Ek Tha Tiger or Samsung laptops, mobiles in Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge

• Content leveraging: Thums Up as an out-film association on Ek Tha Tiger

• Endorsements: Anushka Sharma with Canon or, for that matter, TVS Scooty that went back into Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, using the cast of Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge for Samsung Champ mobile phone advertising

• Licensing & Merchandising: Pepe Jeans on Dhoom 2 for apparel

• Digital: Voice activation, assets for Wheel detergents, Hindustan Unilever

• Gaming: Suzuki Hayate embedded on to the Ek Tha Tiger games – mobile, online

• On-ground activation: Suzuki Hayate bike giveaways, meet and greet opportunities with Salman Khan on Ek Tha Tiger

• Home entertainment: Special packs, festive offers for consumers/trade of CDs, DVDs

These are just examples of a few recent partnerships we’ve forged. They become a smart win-win, not just because of the value and the sheer reach that some of the large tentpole films deliver, it’s also because they come in at a relatively smaller price point Vs what a partner would end up spending to get this kind of reach through a TV plan, a celebrity endorsement or more.

For a film studio, it’s an additional source of revenue and a chance to amplify your marketing even further. The trick is to do only a few but smart deals so as not to dilute the impact of the ones done by stretching the film across too many partnerships – which is often the danger.

One of the smartest examples of taking a partnership to the next level is on our forthcoming Y-Films project Mere Dad Ki Maruti (MDKM). It’s an outrageous comedy set against the backdrop of a loud Punjabi wedding in Chandigarh and tells the story of a teenager who sneaks out in his dad’s new car to impress the college hottie and how all hell breaks loose once he loses the car! The film is one of the most seamless integrations for a brand without it screaming out ‘this is sponsored by’ which can really put off the audience and be detrimental to both the brand as well as the film. And it’s a really powerful platform for Maruti for the launch of its new car, the Ertiga.

MDKM stars Saqib Saleem, who was touted as the find of the year by critics in his debut with Y-Films’ Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge. The music is composed by Sachin Gupta and features songs by Mika and Honey Singh, among others. On the back of the explosive debuts made by other YRF talent – Parineeti Chopra, Arjun Kapoor – MDKM introduces a new YRF heroine, Rhea Chakraborty. A former MTV VJ, Rhea comes on the back of delivering a massive Telugu hit down South. The film also stars Ram Kapoor as the dad – in his first, full-fledged comedy role.

MDKM marks the directorial debut of Ashima Chibber, who has formerly assisted the likes of Shimit Amin, Anurag Basu and Imtiaz Ali across tentpole projects like Ab Tak Chhappan, Chak De India and Rockstar, among others.

We’re most excited about MDKM because not only is it a fun story, but hopefully will be an interesting case-study and learning experience for all of us to help open up serious value for the industry and also show brands how the film industry can truly be leveraged to connect with the audience. And in the bargain – help us beat the IPL!

 


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