Need a hit? It's all about marketing and communications

Professional marketing in the business of entertainment is the need of the hour!

That was the core theme at the Ad Club's one-day seminar on 'value creation' held on 11 January at The Oberoi hotel in South Mumbai. Among the key points that came across:

* Bollywood needs marketing lessons from third-party consultants;

* India finds its voice in entertainment programming;

* Indian television programming had to use communication and marketing more effectively to connect to viewers and address basic emotional needs;

* advertisers need to look at TV personalities for brand endorsements;

* successful entertainment brands are elusive, illusory and magical; and radio advertising complements TV advertising.

* Product placements in TV serials could become a reality.

The speakers at the seminar sponsored by Star India constituted a well-balanced panel of achievers representing diverse fields. The list included: PNC chairman Pritish Nandy; writer/director Ashutosh Gowariker; Bharti Enterprises marcom director Hemant Sachdev; Banyan Tree Communications CMD Anish Trivedi; creative consultant Rekha Nigam; Leo Entertainment director Sanjay Bhutiani; UTV Group director Zarine Mehta; Star India COO Sameer Nair and Reliance Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna.

Ad Club chairperson seminars committee and Percept Advertising CEO Rajesh Pant, while addressing the distinguished gathering, mentioned that there was a need to ensure professionalism in the marketing of entertainment because entertainment is the best option to satisfy clients looking for short-term answers and gains.

Pant also added that the idea also originated from the recent happenings that disproved the flurry of negative media reports expressing concerns about the sad state of the media and entertainment industry. Pant referred to the pessimistic media reports mentioning that "the myth of Bollywood was broken and it was a failure of imagination".

"Recent media reports have predicted doomsday warnings for the Indian film industry due to the large number of flops. However, well-marketed recent commercial hits such as Kaante and Saathiya have shown that well-packaged entertainment sells despite all odds. Hollywood films are never understated and go for the audience jugular. The marketing promotions for these films are planned from the initial stages of conceptualisation," Pant added.

The attendees received inputs on various facets of entertainment and marketing such as in-film product placements; creating and cultivating relationships between celebrities and companies to establish and promote brand loyalty; building the brand's image within the entertainment community; conceiving stratgeies to launch new brands within the community; creating a knowledge base and perspectives on how the programming elements can be used independently of marketing tactics; how the entertainment mix can ensure that programming elements can be integrated into the marketing process.

Pant felt that the concept of entertainment should be redefined and extended to include all those activities and events that elevate a person from the current travails of life.

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