With the Indian film industry coming of age, movie/film marketing has become integral to the success of a film. Gone are the 80s and 90s when film posters were stuck outside public urinals for attracting crowds. Those were the years when a director looked out for an individual investor to fund his film. Now, the story has changed. Films are produced by specialized organizations such as UTV, Pritish Nandy, Dharma, Reliance (or even Hollywood production houses) etc who cough out a separate marketing budget before releases. An Aamir Khan production for example would look higher degree of PR. In another Aamir Khan film Ghajini, his famous hair cut was replicated by youth to generate PR interest.
Most films bank on the wide range of marketing mediums available to them. Getting a website up is almost a norm along with a Facebook community. Below the line activations are done in malls. Film actors do the pre-release activity to generate hype. In the past few years, some movies have also created TVCs, RA.One being one of the most recent and strong examples. Mausam was widely covered and endorsed through print media with huge front page adverts. Ra.One has unarguable turned out to be the most heavily endorsed movies of Bollywood. There’s a separate YouTube channel, and co-branding exercises with sports channels and events such as CLTT20. Recently, they also tied up with McDonald’s. The TV is full of ads as well.
I personally dread the age-old devil called ‘overhype’. It has never worked for any film’s good. Whilst a movie needs to be marketed, it does not have to oversell. In our film industry, music has always been critical towards pulling crowds. A catchy number has always promoted the film well (except in Sunny Deol’s case where fiery dialogue would do the job). On the other hand, design has also come of age. In a recent release, Sahib, Biwi Aur Gangster, the film poster was one of the most attractive touchpoints.
With cost of films going well over Rs. 100 Crores, marketing movies is going to be a strong area of investment as Bollywood matures, with the increased interest of corporate companies and reduced role of the underworld. It’s a good news for agencies as it opens an all new area for them, and with time, films might turn out to be a great source of revenue generation