Mirroring The Industry: Promotion, marketing and the blame game that follows

Would you watch a film with bad trailer and music, solely because the celebrities visited your city or danced in front of you at a mall? Pinkvilla discusses
Mirroring The Industry: Promotion, marketing and the blame game that follows Mirroring The Industry: Promotion, marketing and the blame game that follows ((Representational Image)
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The big wigs of Bollywood love to focus on two aspects – promotions and marketing, at times more emphasis is given to these two elements over the content. After the making of a film, we would often see producers sitting down with their marketing and PR partners to churn out a strategy, that can excite the audience enough to buy a ticket and experience the film in cinema hall. The common outcome of all the meetings results in city tours, mall visits, campus visits, trailer and music launch, fan meets and of course, a dozen of articles centered around the film giving it a push in the media.

The second aspect that stems from these meetings is giving the film a digital push through trends, integrations with media houses, the contests for fans, and of course, the general interview round for digital, print and radio. All the plans and strategies are executed and then comes the D-Day, the big Friday. After all the energies spent on informing the audience about the film’s release, the eyes are on the box-office collections. If the audience come out in big number to watch the film, well, it’s a culmination of content creation, stardom which got decent amount of push from the marketing and promotional aspect too.

But, in-case, after the release, a film fails to drag the audience to the cinema halls, it’s often termed a failure on marketing and promotional front, not being able to excite the audience enough. And this is a common notion across the industry. This brings us to today’s discussion. Do we as an industry give too much emphases to promotions and marketing? Does marketing and promotion have such high influence in bringing the audience to the cinema halls?

Marketing is more of a by-product and the impact of marketing purely depends on the in-hand material. No amount of marketing spending can bring the audience on board a film that rides on poor trailer and doesn’t have a promising music album to offer
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To answer it in one line, marketing is more of a by-product and the impact of marketing purely depends on the in-hand material. No amount of marketing spending can bring the audience on board a film that rides on poor trailer and doesn’t have a promising music album to offer. No one would watch a film because the star-cast visited their home town or danced in front of them at a mall, they would watch it only if the pre-release content is exciting. Around 70% of the job to bring audience in theatres is done by the trailer and star-cast, 20% by the music, and just the additional 10% push comes from the marketing aspect. The 10% push, more often than not, happens organically, due to the conversations around the product and in such scenario, the purpose of marketing and promotion is to embody the release date of the film in the mind of consumer.

So, what would make for an ideal marketing plan (which includes promotion) - Screening your trailer in all cinema halls, putting up standee with release date at all cinema halls, the billboard campaign on busy streets of India, the print coverage with respect to the poster campaign, the interviews and lastly, the digital promotions, in a rather subtle and innovative manner. India as a country is still far off from a digital revolution and still relies on the magic of television, print, bill boards and theatrical, round of promotions, than the digital campaign. The biggest con on the digital world is the fear of getting lost due to the plenthora of conversations and content up for grabs on social media One really needs to be "path-breaking" to stand out and make some noise digitally, as compared to the conventional mediums, which are simple yet effective.

Getting the pre-release content to the point, blended with the right mix of above-mentioned factors are certainly more than enough to excite and bring the audience to the cinema hall. And then, rest in the long run is left up to the content. Marketing can neither make or break the film - it’s always the content that creates the hype organically, and what marketing can do is give it a limited additional push.

It’s about time, one doesn’t underestimate the judgement of audience, and humbly accept the “failure” to create the right content rather than passing the blame on to the ancillary factors
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And that brings us to the last aspect of our discussion – Reviews? How much difference do the reviews make? Honestly, most of the “commercial” films are critic-proof, and solely dependent on the audience word of mouth. Whereas, the relatively smaller films do benefit by the reviews. The sole role that a review plays in the digital world is in “building a perception” of “4- and 5-star rating”. At times, they are bought and manipulated, at times they are managed, and at times they are organic. But no one has really been able to give a co-relation between “reviews” and “box-office collections” as good films (from the audience point of view) have always travelled at the ticket window, irrespective of reviews. All in all, the focus should be on making a “good film” as marketing, promotions and reviews (again a part of promotions), will organically find a way. It’s about time, one doesn’t underestimate the judgement of audience, and humbly accept the “failure” to create the right content rather than passing the blame on to the ancillary factors. Manufactured verdicts have never sustained and will never sustain, but good content lives on forever…... Meanwhile, introspect and may the blame game stop.

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