Meet the man behind 360-degree film marketing for Saawariya

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By IndiaFM

In the back of Saawariya's tie up with the Future Group to launch a special series of merchandise, Navin Shah, CEO, P9 Integrated, a 360-degree film marketing company from Percept Holdings, responsible for marketing Saawariya, talks to Sagorika Dasgupta on the strategy behind marketing a film and the potential of off-screen brand associations.

We are just a few weeks away from Saawariya's release, what are your expectations?
Saawariya is a very special film for us since it is a Sanjay Leela Bhansali and also because it will release alongside another magnum opus, Om Shanti Om. That is crucial from a marketing perspective. Our role is pivotal compared to the other big films that we have handled in the past. I am very excited. After the tie-up with the Future Group, what other tie-ups and co-branding initiatives are you looking at?
We have clustered the marketing of the film broadly under three heads. First, merchandising- where Pantaloon comes into the picture. This is further subdivided into the marketing effort that Pantaloon will put in for Saawariya and the other component would be the revenue stream from merchandising, in other words, the money earned out of the deal.

From a marketing point of view, the period between Navratri to Diwali is highly profitable and the marketing stream will be at an all time high. We have a multi-point contact planned for the film during this period which means we will be merchandising the cut-outs of the film and promos on plasma screens for which we will invest Rs 5 crore-Rs 6 crore. This would be 20 -25 per cent input into the brand Saawariya that we propose to create. We are planning on merchandising the jewellery and the female apparel as well. The second head would be media. The sizeable way through which we have tried to promote the film is through Neo Sports where we are getting inventories in live cricket. To buy that kind of an inventory for Saawariya, we had to spend between Rs 4.5 and Rs 5 crore. We are packing a lot of marketing muscle into the post release of the film as well. The third category would be the brand heads-we have lined up more than Rs10-crore worth of branding in the categories of finance, personal-care and youth-based products.

What kind of investment have advertisers made for the film?
Pantaloon has contributed Rs 5 crore-Rs 6 crore. That apart, the other brands have collectively invested about Rs 10 crore.

What brand associations and off-screen deals does P9 offer to advertisers and film-makers?
Initially, we had started off with marketing big films, but soon realised that it is possible for any film to get an association or brand tieup. Now, we have added Hollywood films to our credits. There is huge revenue from Hollywood films through the dubbing rights and these sometimes give our Indian films a run for their money. Another new trend is the association with an international music artiste. We did Rs 2-crore co-branding tie up recently with Airtel, Nokia and DYC for promoting singer Enrique Iglesias that was an implied association. The market of outside association is growing at a whopping 200 per cent year-on-year-that is what is driving the whole business of branded entertainment.

Are outside associations a safer bet for you?
Yes. A classic example would be the advertisers who have burned their fingers with the World Cup and who would be cautious on future deals. Outside association is here to stay and what is adding to the phenomenon of entertainment is the sheer scale of the film is becoming much bigger. Like last year Don released with 700-800 prints worldwide. This year Om Shanti Om and Saawariya are being released with 2,000 prints worldwide. In Hollywood for a big film, the money earned can be anywhere between 15-40 per cent of the total business but here in India we are still in our early days so it will be in the region of 0-2 per cent in terms of the money earned.

What is the status of in-film advertising from your point of view?
The business of in-film advertising according to me is stagnating due to an inherent problem with the medium, like the lag in the time of release. For instance, in India, unlike Hollywood, the movie release dates gets pushed.

For the audiences, two to three months of a delay in the release will not make a difference but from a movie-marketing point of view, the difference between pushing the date of release from December to January is like shifting profits from a prosperous to a dead season.