Bollywood studios are back to spending huge amounts on marketing big-ticket movies but are yet to touch pre-covid levels of ₹20-25 crore on promotional activities.
Film stars are appearing on reality shows, engaging with college students and other target audience groups across cities and capitalising on big live events to promote their films. For instance, the trailer of Laal Singh Chaddha starring Aamir Khan was launched at the IPL final. However, promotional activities on digital and social media, and collaborations with influencers are also on focus.
“The dynamics of filmmaking has changed after the pandemic and we are adapting to the digital and global environment around us to evolve with changing times and maximise our marketing campaigns. As restrictions ease, it is imperative to instil confidence among the audiences to visit theatres. The future of marketing campaigns includes digital assets which the global audience can consume,” Bhushan Kumar, managing director and chairman, T-Series, said. Recently it released horror comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2.
The studio is focussing on involving actors and other talent to build a personal connect with audiences with appearances on reality TV shows, fan meets as part of its marketing campaigns. To promote Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, T-Series installed haveli-style doors across over 115 cinema halls mimicking the movie sets. The trailer with the title track was linked to Marvel superhero flick Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and was played before the Hollywood film started.
“Putting an artiste out there, reigniting the ground connect that all of them had, showing the fanfare around them and giving audiences an opportunity to see these artists beyond the screen, is a very important aspect of film marketing, apart from the story and the character,” said Harikrishnan Pillai, co-founder and chief executive of digital agency TheSmallBigIdea.
“When you see an artiste on screen, you only see how good she is at acting or how charming she is but when you put her on ground, you see the extent of her fandom. This, definitely, is a welcome addition to how films are being marketed.”
While box office success of some films made producers realise the potential, but the fear of missing out if they doe not do enough marketing has prodded them to raise spending even for big-ticket films, Pillai said.
Building emotional capital will remain key to all marketing campaigns, Neeraj Joshi, head, marketing, Zee Studios, said. “Promotional tours and activations are back with a bang as every stakeholder is sensing the need and opportunity in reinforcing audience confidence and messaging.”
“Audiences are mostly lured by mass-market content, and the idea is to emphasize on the need for family entertainment that cannot be replicated on over-the-top streaming services, Jitendra Hirawat, director, SoCheers Filmsat a digital agency, said. “Although spends have not completely gone back to pre-covid levels, it will surpass over the next few months. Digital marketing has gone up for sure, even hardcore commercial films like Heropanti 2 and Runway 34 were big on collaborations with influencers and media like Instagram Reels,” Hirawat added.