Sony packs marketing punch behind 'Idol', three new shows

MUMBAI: Competition beware! Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India has not one, but four aces up its sleeve from next week on -- Indian Idol (season two), Deal Ya No Deal, Ek Ladki Anjaani Si and Kudkudiya House No. 43 are all 'set' to take Sony into a different league, or that's what the channel hopes.

Describing this phase of new launches as 'Manoranjan Ka Naya Daur' (A new era of entertainment), Sony is making a conscious effort to move away from kitchen politics and the saas-bahu sagas. Out of the four new shows, while the channel is looking at further consolidating the 8:30 pm slot (building on the initial thrust given by Fame Gurukul) with Indian Idol and Deal Ya No Deal; it is also looking at consolidating the 9:30 pm slot with Ek Ladki Anjaani Si. The latter will air from Monday to Friday as the lead-out show for Indian Idol and Deal Ya No Deal.

As has already been reported by's sister concern, the new season of Batliwalla House No. 43 now will be called Kudkudiya House No. 43. This has also been placed in the 9:30 pm slot on Fridays from 25 November.

"We are looking at providing a funnel to Ek Ladki… by placing it just after Indian Idol. This will give an opportunity to audiences to sample new content. The 9:30 pm slot is a very fertile one and incidentally it has new shows with girl protagonists (Kituu Sabb Jaantii Hai on Sahara One and India Calling on Star One), who will be fighting for audiences' attention," says Sony vice president marketing Nina Jaipuria.


Marketing activities for all new shows have already begun in full swing. The biggest push is no doubt being given to Indian Idol. Road shows across various metros and mini-metros have already done the rounds. This week judges Anu Malik and Sonu Nigam will be doing rounds of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata in Indian Idol cavalcades with Abhijeet Sawant and other Idol finalists.

Sonu Nigam performed along with Prajakta at the InOrbit mall in Mumbai just recently, whereas Anu Malik and Abhijeet Sawant are all set to take on Delhi and Kolkata in the cavalcade this week.

A great deal of attention is being paid to the smaller towns and the lower SECs for Indian Idol this time round, informs Jaipuria. "One of the ads of the 'Agla Kaun?' (Who's next?) campaign show people in villages of Rajasthan and we have made a conscious effort to give this campaign a pan Indian feel. Our consumer insight research showed that when the second season was announced, all everyone was interested in was finding out who would be next?" she adds.

As a way of penetrating the lower SECs, Sony has placed Indian Idol spots on 29 Vividh Bharati stations of All India Radio across the country. Apart from this, ads on all FM stations like Radio Mirchi, Red FM, Radio City and Go 92.5 will also be aired. And if that is not all, this is the first time that Sony will be placing Indian Idol ads on channels other than those on the One Alliance platform like Cartoon Network, Toon Disney and CVO. The channels on the One Alliance platform like NDTV, Ten Sports, MTV, Max, Sab and AXN will also have the same.

As is always the case, print, television, radio, internet and outdoor ads will be a part of the 360 degree multi-media campaign. This time round, the sponsors of Indian Idol will also have a bigger role to play in terms of on-ground and on-air syndications. However, these are still in the planning stages. The sponsors are: Airtel, Asian Paints, Nokia, Marico, Maruti and Pepsi.

"We will also have on-air integration with all our sponsors in terms of vignettes and product placements but they won't be obstructive to the show," says Jaipuria.

Sify has been roped in as the Internet partner and will maintain the Idol website, which will relay live broadband content from the episodes. On the other hand, radio partner Radio City will broadcast all episodes of Idol on its stations in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Lucknow. "These will be made-for-radio one hour episodes, wherein the original ones will be edited in necessary areas to suit the listeners. Tentatively, we are planning to have these radio episodes aired on Sundays and Tuesdays every week," says Jaipuria.

The on-ground buzz for Idol starts tomorrow with the 'Spot the mask' contest, which will be carried on Radio City. Abhijeet Sawant masks' will be distributed to various people and only some will have a special code on it. The lucky ones with the 'coded mask' will win a date with Abhijeet.

Aaj Tak and Headlines Today are channel partners, whereas Hindustan Times, Loksatta and all the Bhaskar editions are print partners for the second season of Indian Idol.

These marketing and promotional efforts are being made to tap the market that Sony wasn't able to tap last year with Indian Idol, explains Jaipuria.

On the other hand, what's the funda for promoting Ek Ladki Anjaani Si, which is targeted at 15+ males and females and the mass segments? It is going to be viral and buzz marketing (just like in the case of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi). Groups of people will be planted in trains, buses and other public areas and will start talking about what will happen to the protagonist of the show - Anu. However, on-air promos will be the backbone of the campaign.

The channel is building intrigue around what is going to happen to Anu on 21 November, that will change her life forever? Teaser print and radio ads will be aired. "Mobile canters, human banners, ads on local cable channels, on-air promo ID, bugs, in-programme plugs, animated pop-ups and countdown to the show are what will drive our campaign for Ek Ladki Anjaani Si. Mobile telephony is another way by which we are looking at building consumer inclusion. All these ads prior to the launch of the show will generate curiosity about what is going to happen to Anu," says SET India creative director Anupama Mandloi.

SET India's website carries a poll that reads - "Which of these do you think will happen to Anu?"

She becomes captain of Indian Cricket team

She lands on the moon

She marries Abhishek Bachchan

None of the above

Mobile canters with Tarot Card readers and astrologers will do the round of three metros and generate curiosity on what is going to happen to Anu. "The aim of the campaign for Ek Ladki... is to drive eyeballs to the channel on the day of the launch," says Jaipuria.

Jaipuria also informs that towards the end of December another campaign for Ek Ladki... will be rolled out when the "plot thickens and becomes interesting."

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