As cinemas reopen, Bollywood launches digital marketing


Producers are not cutting costs to make sure reality TV appearances are back on TV, just like print and radio commercials and billboards. The big change is the increase in digital spend and influencer marketing, in order to create content using the movie trailer and music on platforms like Instagram.

Multi-city tours and visits to malls and colleges to attract young people still remain dangerous, but teams are replacing it with virtual interactions with local language press meetings in all cities. The underlying theme of the campaigns right now is to make it clear that cinemas are open and safe to visit and that these films are released exclusively in theaters first.

“The box office revenues of films like Sooryavanshi have brought a lot of joy and confidence and the producers are not conservative in terms of spending right now. The job at hand is to let people know that theaters are safe and open and the experience of watching a movie on the big screen cannot be reproduced at home, so all efforts are going in that direction, ”said Siddharth Anand Kumar, vice president, films and events, Saregama India who owns a studio-boutique called Yoodlee.

The company releasing a film in Marathi titled Zombivli in February, takes a soft, slow approach and starts early with signs to inform competing producers about its theater plans and build enough enthusiasm for its digital strategy that will involve working closely with influencers. “Television and radio have not been abandoned, but dependence on them has diminished,” Kumar added.

Jitendra Hirawat, director of digital agency SoCheers Films pointed out that even for a mainstream film like Sooryavanshi, director Rohit Shetty visited YouTuber Ashish Chanchlani’s home in Ulhasnagar. “The pandemic has raised awareness of the power of digital technology. At the same time, there was never a time when digital or OTT content was marketed as a replacement for movie theaters. Theaters are considered a family outing, ”Hirawat said referring to the large promotional video for Sooryavanshi this caused lead actors Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh to welcome people back to theaters after a long hiatus.

Multi-city tours with the film’s protagonists with events in shopping malls and universities are now a thing of the past, said Shruti Deora, head of client partnerships at Mumbai-based integrated digital agency White Rivers Media. “All major public events, whether it’s to launch a movie like a trailer or a concert to launch the music, will be tough in terms of health and safety protocols,” she added.

In the new constrained environment, consumers and businesses around the world began to move online, in turn changing the way content was marketed and promoted in the pre-covid days, said Pradeep Dwivedi, CEO of Eros STX. “Online and digital will continue to dominate the marketing mix. Analysis and understanding of online consumer behavior will become necessary. With small towns and centers becoming digital savvy, we’ll see another layer added to the existing digital marketing strategy. Messaging around the local culture will be used to ensure that promotions resonate with the public, making the role of regional nano-influencers essential for the success of the brand, ”said Dwivedi, adding that the pandemic had put more emphasis on influencer marketing, virtual events and new forms of partnerships to expand reach.

Television promises and delivers mass reach, especially with a family audience, while digital, on the other hand, speaks to everyone, at a different intensity, said Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and co- founder of the digital agency TheSmallBigIdea. “Digital is clearly more real-time, more measurable, more interactive, something very important for something like movies, where destinies are written in a few days. Contextual marketing for regional markets on the backs of creators or ancillary content, activating engagement through play, using technology to disrupt and collaborating with brands to amplify communication are key trends, “ Pillai said.

Producer and director Vidhyaa B Reddy said that even recent South Indian films like Doctor and Ratnan Prapancha adopted digital tools such as YouTube and social media tools for promotions. “As things slowly return to normal, offline activities will kick in. There is a lot of content waiting to grab attention, and a bigger and better marketing budget is needed,” Reddy said.

True, even as they attempt to remind audiences of the greatness of big-screen viewing, the filmmakers claim that many marketing tropes may have been removed for good.

Film producer Anand Pandit said the pandemic has suppressed many expensive marketing traditions. “A lot of things like traveling to multiple cities, having the cast and crew fly to different places don’t necessarily make sense now, as the buzz around a movie is largely created on social media. has access to a smartphone, even though he can’t see a star in a mall during a promotional event. The pandemic has taught me that a movie can reach the spaces of the mind without too much emphasis on it. glitz and drama. Do we really need to organize crowded events all over the country? Hold multiple press conferences in multiple cities? The idea is to get people to watch your movie and this can be done by the through promotional activities on social media, in a smart, innovative way and with much less time and money, ”Pandit said.

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