The session was hosted by Businessworld Senior Editor-Media
Vanita Kohli and the panel comprised Mindshare Fulcrum Central Asia
MD Vikram Sakuja, Reliance Infocomm head marketing Kaushik Roy and
Leo Entertainment general manager Sanjay Bhutiani.
The need was highlighted by stressing that advertisements on television
need not necessarily work, because the viewers invariably switch
over channels or mute the sound when commercials crop up during
shows and even cricket matches. On the other hand, a viewer is glued
to his theatre seat no matter what the situation in the film.
Through the session it was opined that India has not come a long
way in brand placements in films. Considering that one of the successful
placements - Rajdoot GTS came in Raj Kapoor's Bobby, way
back in the early 70s. Questions that were dwelled on were that
how could we make a laughing stock of ourselves in a film like Yaadein
by showing Jackie Shroff dancing with a Coke can in his hand?
Does anybody hold a Coke can and start dancing for ten minutes,
it was queried.
Some movies where successful in film placements would have worked
were Baghban and Jism. Clever thought process could
have brought a placement ad of ICICI Life Insurance when Amitabh
Bachchan and Hema Malini walk on the beach with sadness in their
eyes, hand in hand, their sons having deserted them. A condoms ad
could have been well placed in a movie like Jism, it was
There could be certain barriers in such cases, because of uncertainties
whether a film would run or not, unrealistic pricing, exaggerated
expectations from the advertiser and lack of professionalism (like
scenes being written at the eleventh hour, delay in release, etc).
But if both - filmmakers and advertisers - take one step towards
each other and realise that this relationship could be symbiotic,
it would make a lot of sense.
Realising the win-win situation, if film-makers can allow
subtle advertising in their projects, there is no need why this
market would not flourish in Bollywood - like it does in Hollywood.
A slow beginning has been made in films like Khakee (Thums
Up), Baghban (ICICI), Road (Tata Safari), but a long
journey remains to be traversed.
Bollywood and brands can create magic, the panel concluded.