Did you buy a product after watching it in a movie, or did you feel the pride of owning a product while seeing it on screen, watching cinema? If not, can you recall any such cocktail of brand and storytelling as you sat as an audience in a theatre! Placing products is common now.
In ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ (1946) they showed National Geographic magazine a few times. So it began pretty early.
Then in 1953, Audrey Hepburn is seen riding a Vespa scooter in ‘Roman Holiday’ and in the Bond series, Sony, BMW and Ford were advertised majorly.
‘Cast Away’ (2000), the Tom Hanks movie, showed FedEx in every frame, every 10 minutes, loud and bold.
Isn’t product placement a huge opportunity for both film-makers and brand marketers!
Entertainment is a huge business where brands seek refuge for promotion as the products so advertised leave a lasting effect on the audience. “It is a good strategy, since the tie-up benefits the producer as well as the advertiser,” says Neeraj Bhushan, a journalist.
In ‘Dabangg’ (2010) and ‘Dabang-2’ (2012), one could clearly see Zandu Balm and Fevicol being advertised conspicuously. Weren’t they money-making opportunities for both, and one could see brands dictating the lyrics too! In 1973, ‘Bobby’ came with ‘Rajdoot GTS Bike’ by Escorts, and it became a household name. It’s still known as the Bobby Rajdoot Bike. In 1973 only, we saw Rajesh Khanna in ‘Avishkar’, smoking 555 cigarette in almost every shot.
According to Mumbai-based designer Rupali Gupta, “Sometimes the strategy works when it’s woven into a story and also becomes iconic. Rest of the times it is silly like Rekha showing off a washing powder in ‘Krrish 2’.”
Well it does make a difference in sales of the brands. Who doesn’t remember Salman Khan and Bhagyashree in ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ (1989) dancing on the roof and in the background adverts of Shemaroo and Mafatlal in every frame. Can children forget ‘Bournvita’ after Hrithik Roshan drinks it in ‘Krrish’, to become strong.
Shashi Jain, a film director who has also made many a commercials, says – “It is helpful for both. Brands get the space and producers get the money for the film. I experienced this while directing movies. In ‘Parineeta’, a tablet was used while Vidya Balan gets a headache. In ‘Lafangey Parindey’, they used Usha sewing machines. It all depends upon how well the brand is woven into a script. Understanding of the brand and sensibility of the film story are important factors which need to be balanced while dealing with in-film advertising.”
Lately in ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, Shahrukh Khan is seen riding a Bullet motorcycle and quite many a films are also showing the bike which until now was the prerogative of mostly the police! No wonder one can see the two-wheeler ruling the streets these days. Brand integration does have its effect!