Sony surrounds its 'Idol' with big bang marketing blitzkrieg

MUMBAI: Crash, Boom, Bang! Twenty four hours! The show's all set to kick off, the packaging all done, the finalists all in place, the SET team all spruced up biting their nails, the promotional campaign in place. What next? Well, for starters Sony doesn't want to take any chances with this big-ticket property of theirs, which if all goes according to schedule will probably be their window to the next level and revamp of the pecking order on Indian television.



Launch of the Idol Portal

One day before the mega-launch of this much talked and tested internationally format, the channel this morning launched a web-site dedicated completely for the show. Titled, "It's all to further increase engagement, involvement and excitement among viewers. The web-site will take the promotional campaign to its next level creating a stronger impact and connect with the show," gushes senior vice president marketing Albert Almeida.

This exclusive web-site which will be hosted and managed by SET India has been licensed to Sony by FreemantleMeida. The web-site has been an integral part of the Idol proposition, across all the 25 countries, the show made its foray into. The site aims at taking the viewers beyond the television screen capturing behind-the scenes, backstage gossip, previews of upcoming episodes, exclusive downloads, contestant profiles, picture galleries and more.

On the mobile front, a tie-up with Nokia ( one of the associate sponsors) is in place which will enable viewers to go through the world of Indian Idol with an exclusive gallery of what's hot and happening.

Interestingly, the website will not be conducting its voting via viewers for the Indian Idol through the web-site. That will be done via SMS's and phone lines. When asked why, Almeida explained that this was essentially a call taken by FreemantleMedia as they are going to be controlling all the voting procedures. Also, internationally the format has followed tie-ups with messaging and phone services.

The promotion of the web-site will be done extensively on-air during the show as it unfolds as well as on the mother site, which today claims a figure of over 5000 loyal setizens. " The promotion of the site on air and the site itself will ensure a cross-medium promotion, perking up interactivity and engagement as well as driving up the viewership," adds Almeida.

Whats on the Idol marketing agenda?

On the creative front, encapsulating the same theme, ' Entertainment that makes you forget everything else' are a series of creatives:

1) Painter so engaged with Idol, that he paints over his family portrait.

2) Mother so engrossed with the show while knitting that the kid has a field day with the wool.

3) Man so glued to the show that pours a whole bottle of ketchup on his food.

4) Barber so clued on that he shaves off his client's mustache.

Says Euro RSCG's executive director Suman Srivastava, "We didn't want to position Idol as a talent show. Normally, all talent shows are focussed on the participants. We wanted to focus on the viewer and thereby giving them an incentive to tune into the show. Also, the show itself stands out from a talent show with the mix of entertainment and emotions that it offers and thereby the thought behind the creative."

This will see itself translate into billboards, busbacks and bus shelters across all the target cities. They being Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkatta, Ahmedabad, Pune, Nagpur, Kanpur and Lucknow.

On-air promo's apart from being extensively aired on Sony will also be aired on MAX, the movies and cricket channel.

Radio will see tie-ups with Radio Mirchi, Go 92.5 and Red where apart from spot RJ's will be in their friendly banter re-living and enacting the core theme of the show. Also lined up are exclusive interviews with judges, talking about their whole journey through this show and regular new reportage on Idol.

A tie-up with Aaj Tak will see this number one news channel create branded properties as well as exclusive footage of Idol. Other alliances with NDTV and Star News have been made.

The print mode will see syndicated weekly columns written by the judges and anchors of Indian Idol with tie ups with the following publications.

    Indian Express



    The Hindi


    Dainik Jagran




    Punjab Kesari

These newspapers will also be given access to exclusive news content on the show, hence ensuring optimum coverage from the media.



On ground activities entail branded Idol auto-rickshaws in smaller cities playing the show's music which travel all across the city. Mumbai on the 28th, 29th and 30th will see the Indian Idol morcha at key railway stations telling people not to miss the Indian Idol.


8:30am - 11am - Churchgate/CST

2:30pm - 3:30pm - Bandra/Ghatkopar

5:30pm - 9:30pm - Dadar/Mulund


8:30am - 11am - Bandra/Thane

2:30pm - 3:30pm - Santacruz/Vidyavihar

5:30pm - 9:30pm - Kandivili/Dadar


8:30am - 11am - Goregaon/Borivili

2:30pm - 3:30pm - Kurla/Vile-Parle

5:30pm - 9:30pm - Vashi/Andheri

Three weeks down the line, the show will reach a critical point, where the ball will then be in the viewers court, where they will vote for the 30 final contestants, one of whom will emerge as the Indian Idol. Phase three of the marketing endeavours will begin then as the campaign will change course moving to wooing people to vote.

The eve of the big launch has got the television industry's curiosity all spruced up. But, the team at Sony seem calm and confident. In full gear, it will be interesting to watch how this second in command in the general entertainment space makes or mars itself in the months to come.

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