Mumbai : After years of pushing for just a spot in the frame, brands are now integrating with the content of films, taking in-film branding to a new level that is not only helping film makers reduce costs but also giving brands more prominence.
In the latest Bollywood production Shamitabh, the brand name Lifebuoy, a soap brand owned by Hindustan Unilever (HUL), is integrated with the film’s content. Shamitabh opens with the premiere of another movie where actor Dhanush plays the lead role as Lifebuoy, who fights against the ills of society. The film-in-film goes on to become a big hit and establishes Dhanush as a star. And that’s not all, the film also has the good-old tagline “Tandurusti ki raksha karta hai Lifebuoy.” According to George Koshy, general manager, personal wash, HUL, the film’s writer-director R Balki approached the company with the idea of integration.
Now even production companies have started approaching brands for such arrangements. Yash Raj Films, for instance, got Discovery Channel on board for Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma starrer Jab Tak hai Jaan, in which Sharma plays a journalist with the channel producing a documentary on the character played by Khan.
Such tie-ups are either adding to the revenues or cutting down costs for film companies. “In-film branding has become a sizeable revenue opportunity for us,” said Ashish Patil, VP(youth films, talent management, and brand partnerships) for Yash Raj Films. YRF has worked with big brands including Discovery, BMW, Maruti and Mountain Dew. “The idea is to partner with less number of brands, but integrate seamlessly with the content of the film,” said Patil.
For a small-budget film like Mere Dad Ki Maruti, a brand tie-up can take care of up to 35 per cent of a film’s budget. Brands also invest a lot of money in comarketing a film, which is huge cost component. For a big-budget film, the money generated by brand tie-ups can be anywhere between 5 per cent and 20 per cent of the total cost of production.
“Besides, the kind of support some brands provide, even money can’t buy,” Patil said. As example, he cited the case of Dhoom 3for which BMW gave 17 bikes (worth over .`25 lakh each), 50 tyres (worth lakhs) and over 100 days of engineering support by trained in-house experts.