Max ups the ante; marketing campaign to roll in September

MUMBAI: Now it is Set Max's turn to turn on the heat!

Responding to the 2005 plans unveiled by competitor channels, Zee Cinema and Star Gold, Sony Entertainment Television's events and movie channel is all set for some action.


The Max task force: Sehwag with Prahlad Kakkar, Albert Almeida and Samir Khan

As far as marketing activities are concerned, Set Max is putting its money in its newly-launched Sunday vertical band Sunday Houseful, the upcoming cricket ICC Super Series and the festive season that will follow.

The property-based campaigns will unfold gradually and key features will be the 2005 version of its popular brand campaign Deewana Bana De featuring star cricketer Virendra Sehwag.

"We will open our marketing initiatives with a campaign for Sunday Houseful early September. Then we will be using the ICC Super Series as a platform to launch the new edition of the Deewana Bana De campaign in the third week of September. The cricket platform will be exploited to establish and promote the big titles we are featuring on Max in the upcoming festive season of October - December," Set Max business head Albert Almeida told


Almeida said the marketing stress for the next couple of months would be on Sunday Houseful, which is showcasing popular titles from 9 am to 9 pm.

The channel has lined up the blockbuster movie Dhoom for August-end and the promotions have already begun. "We are planning an aggressive campaign for Sunday Houseful and the plan is to drive viewers on Sunday by an image spot and off-air marketing activities," Almeida explains.

Max will also be stressing on innovation and interactivity for all its on and off air campaigns. The big budget multi-media campaigns, targeting the whole nation, will even explore unconventional media, including the Net.

The cricket campaign will also have a contest component, wherein the channel will reward viewers by sending them to watch the ICC series.

On a different wicket: Sehwag shoots for the 'Deewana Bana De' film

"Our target is to widen the audience base for a property like cricket. We want our campaigns to be constructive in such a way that it will appeal not only to the pure cricket fans, but also the other family members too in a household," says Almedia.

However, Almeida refused to divulge the marketing plans for the festive season. "We will be using the big platform of ICC Super Series to come back very strongly with our movie properties. We will have a combination of blockbusters and world television premieres for the festive season," he offered as an explanation.

When his attention was brought to the fact that even competitors are getting bullish with large scale acquisitions and star-specific strategies, Almeida expressed confidence that those initiatives wouldn't distract Max from carrying out its proven success formula.

"We have a line up of blockbusters. We will continue to aggressively innovate on and off- air and with other marketing campaigns to promote our properties. We are not unduly concerned about their (competition's) strategies," he says.


Sehwag to do two brand films for Set Max

Max is planning two brand promotional films featuring star cricketer Virendra Sehwag this year for its Deewana Bana De campaign.

Directed by ace ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar, the movies are conceptualised by Euro RSCG India. The films will be of 45 seconds each. The first of the series, featuring Sehwag and Sameer Khan, was canned on 11 September.

Speaking about the latest edition of the now famous campaign, Euro RSCG India VP Ashok Karnik says, "There is not much difference as far as the theme is concerned. The brand is the same and so is the positioning."

However, the challenge was to use a star cricketer like Sehwag to promote a movie channel. "But we have a solution and that is a suspense. The brand film starts with cricket and then there is a twist," Karnik added to the suspense.

Mein ye wicket ka bheek mangta hum: Sehwag learning his dialogues in the company of Kakkar

According to Kakkar, it is Sehwag's cricketing manners, which he carries even in real life that makes him a powerful brand.

"You can't separate the real life Sehwag from the cricketer Sehwag. He

is explosive, unpredictable, action-oriented, straight, simple, home-grown, sans intellectual pretensions or any airs and fancies," the ad man gushed.

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