Channel [V] refuses to become a 'Bakra' in 'Darna Mana Hai'

MUMBAI: It is a classic case of ambush marketing by not even paying for an in-film placement. MTV has again made its ace rival Channel [V] a 'bakra' by stealing a march through a bonanza in the form of a 'natural brand placement as part of the storyline' in Ramgopal Varma's latest film Darna Mana Hai directed by Prawal Raman.



Channel [V] has been credited as being the official partner (barter) of the film Darna Mana Hai released on 25 July 2003 and its VJs Sameera Reddy, Gaurav Kapoor (brilliant portrayal) and Peeya Rai Chowdhury portray important roles in the film. However, brand MTV managed to go much more mileage than brand Channel [V] that is not directly mentioned within the story line (although MTV is...).

In one of the stories (the film has been advertised as 'six stories with a common ending'), Bollywood star Nana Patekar tries to make teenage idol Vivek Oberoi an MTV 'bakra'. The scene even has a confused Oberoi asking Patekar about the whereabouts of MTV VJ Cyrus Broacha. Patekar replies 'tongue-in-cheek' and points out that "Broacha has become pretty well-known and therefore not used!".

Channel [V] content and communication vice president Keertan Adyanthaya however says: "It is a case of a mountain being made out of a molehill. We had been informed by the film makers of the story which had an incidental mention of MTV Bakra and it wasn't a problem with us as Varma corporation always has a touch of reality and current events as part of their movies."

Adyanthaya also takes a dig at his rival's programme by saying: "If you've watched the movie, you will discover that the story ends with a reference in jest towards the show saying that their VJ is 'purana'. That, if I'm not mistaken is not an endorsement for the show, nor is it a positive reference to the same. In fact the death of the VJ Nana Patekar in the climax of that story symbolises the death of the so-called show."

When questioned about 'ambush marketing', Adyanthaya says: "I always thought ambush marketing is when you actually design and surprise your rival, but in this case, we were aware of the story and they weren't. I think it's actually the other way around, because the story actually shows the trouble you can get into when you make "bakra's" out of people. It's in keeping with our promo campaign which is on air, which say's 'Violence breeds violence'."

Channel [V] will forge more such alliances in the future. "The promotional task was to tie up with Varma corporation for the purposes of marketing the movie and it has worked brilliantly for both parties. We are looking forward to more such tie-ups with the Hindi Film industry and are in the process of tying up with the best. In any case, our VJ - Gaurav Kapoor was an integral part of the movie and essayed a great role (as your report says) and got a lot of screen time. Our guest VJ and current [v] Goddess Sameera Reddy was again one of the main protagonists," says Adyanthaya.

Leo Entertainment officials confirm that MTV had not done any product placement and the scene is an integral part of the script that was finalised much before Channel [V] was chosen as the official media partner.

The film, however, has other brands placements - such as Nestle, Pepsi, Thums Up and Britannia. The brands have been brilliantly placed within the storyline and merge with the flow of on-screen happenings. Leo Burnett India division Leo Entertainment has conceptualised the entire campaign for the film.

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