Brand Communications, Telecom & Cricket

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In 1993, when Shimona Rashi danced her way to the cricket pitch with the Cadbury Dairy Milk in her hand, the brand, Dairy Milk instantly became a household name. Ogilvy and Mather connected the product with the right sentiment of the Indian audience, Cricket. Over the years the brands have taken cricket as language to establish communication through Indian homes. Consequently from FMCG products to luxury goods all have played on the same Indian pitch, successfully hitting the gallery.

The economy is highly competitive with multiple brands producing similar goods. The companies are now using hammering technique to register the product in consumer minds. Cricket is one of their safest bet. Brands tie up with cricketing events as exclusive partners, title partners, network partners, beverage partner and the list is endless and innovative as well. It is all about demanding more airtime during television broadcast, and more ad spaces in the stadiums.

Communication Services connect through Cricket

The telecom sector is super active with cricket as their main advertising strategy to create instant reach. Thus connect and dig niche in India market through its cricket lovers. The telecom sponsored cricket tournaments had a huge kick-off with Vodafone deciding to get into IPL. Vodafone and IPL this year celebrate their marriage of a decade.

In the first IPL season, Vodafone brand campaign was titled ‘Hutch, Happy to help Pug’. In the second season of IPL, Ogilvy and Mather scripted the ‘ZooZoos’ for Vodafone. They were an immediate hit with the cricket following Indians. ‘ZooZoos’ soon ruled the internet with over 200 fan pages in social media and each developing a fan base of over two lakh fifty thousand fans. Today, Vodafone allocates 25-30% of its annual marketing budgeting specifically for cricketing tournaments.

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Airtel chose ICC T20 World Cup to talk about their spread of network into every corner of India. They featured the popular Airtel girl, Sasha Chetri in a series advertisement. Idea Cellular went to grab the title sponsorship of the India-Sri Lanka ODI series in 2008 and tri-series between India-Bangladesh-Sri Lanka in 2010. Both the cups were christened ‘Idea Cup’. In 2008 Abhishek Bachchan was enrolled as the brand ambassador to feature in the famed ‘Sirji’ ads with the tagline, ‘An Idea can change your life’.

A slightly smaller brand name, Aircel did not stay behind in nurturing the Indian cricket sentiment as well. It sponsored the Chennai Super Kings and got them flashed in their jerseys. It went ahead to get the Captain Cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni on board to promote the service.

Mobile Communication Language is Cricket

If the service providers are in a competitive race why would the mobile companies stay behind? Today battle is on between the latest entrants in the market – OPPO and VIVO.  In 2016, OPPO signed a deal with ICC to become the Offical Global Partner for mobile phone category. It was instantly rewarded during the T20 World Cup, and it grabbed a lucrative market share of 22.59% during that year. It was only last month that BCCI have signed a five year contract with OPPO as Official Sponsor of team India. Here is the detailed news report- 

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/sports/cricket/040517/bcci-oppo-launch-virat-kohli-led-team-indias-new-jersey-for-champions-trophy.html

On the other hand, VIVO has tied up to become the title sponsors of IPL for two seasons, ninth and tenth. VIVO bagged the title sponsorship rights after Pepsi decided to prematurely end their 5 year agreement. As a title sponsor  it gets exposure in all mediums of marketing be it print, television, radio, poster or digital.

Another big mobile phone player, Gionee has went on to replace the old Indian favourite Nokia on the IPL jerseys of Kolkata Knight Riders.

Every brand that has a marketing objective to reach the maximum number of Indian consumers at the minimum possible time, now follows the strategy of sponsoring cricket. Cricket is also a great medium to localise a brand to Indian sentiments. VIVO today is no longer a overtly Chinese brand in its appeal.

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Future of Cricket Communication

Although cricket sponsorships and its exorbitant costs in India have become unrealistic, yet the brands and the media agencies continue to consider it as the prime strategy to reach the maximum number of people. It has become a ‘Me Too’ campaign strategy for all the brands with big budgets.

As communications guys, we are keen to see how far this cricket fever would stretch. May be there are other advertising and media opportunities that everybody is overlooking because of the cricket fever.

Jio ‘Dhan Dhana Dhaned’ its way through IPL this season. Now let us wait and watch what new is in store for the telecom brands to establish communication connect in the coming Champions Trophy.

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Amul Advertisement – Simple and Consistent Brand Strategy

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Nostalgia Amul

Amul- The Taste of India. Need we say more? No!

However, our love and connect with the brand Amul make us ruminate over it. A native brand success story example-Amul. A Consistent Advertisement elevating Brand Identity-Amul.  The utterly butterly ‘Amul girl’ is an icon of the middle class India right from 1967. Woah! Do we have any other mascot that old?
The Amul girl is a hand-drawn cartoon of a young, chubby Indian girl dressed in a polka dotted frock with blue hair and a half pony tied up. May be she is the reason Polka Dots are never out of fashion in India!

Back then, brief provided by Amul was simple; ‘Draw a mascot which is easy to paint in walls and outdoors’. Huge outdoor print Advertisement was still to see the billboards. The advertisement idea of Amul was conceived by an agency called ASP (Advertising, Sales and Promotion) headed by Sylvester Da Cunha and his Art Director Eustace Fernandez.

Brand Strategy of Amul Advertisement

It is an established fact that the Amul advertisements are consistent. They do a great job in selecting a trending topic and make an ad about it. Amul has a history of being brave. Through advertisement they have often raised voice against issues, which are otherwise not considered relevant in FMCG product advertising. Most companies avoid getting into dirt by commenting on political issues, unlike Amul. There were even controversies when AMUL commented on national political events such as ‘Emergency in India’ in 1976.

Although the content for the advertisement may be grave, yet Amul with its humour punch establish their view and brand in a subtle way.

Even the media strategy of AMUL advertisement was clear, crisp and consistent. Almost all of their print advertisements come in the top corner of the third page in the main newspaper. Earlier it was Times Of India where this media innovation was to be seen, now we can even see it in other newspapers as well.
In communications terminology, we call it a strategy to create expectations of readers to find a particular kind of content in a particular place. Like we always open the supplement of Hindustan Times, Brunch from the last page expecting the fixed format short & interesting interview of a celebrity.

If you refer to image below, this is exactly the spot in the 3rd page of Hindustan Times where you can expect an Amul advertisement.

Media Innovation – Amul

Brand Strategy leading to Brand Identity

AMUL has just been ranked as the No. 1 Indian brand by Campaign magazine in its list of Top 1000 Brands of Asia for three consecutive year. AMUL is one brand which is sticking on to the old school way of brand strategy. They develop simplistic content and campaign; which would lead mass appeal. The product connect achieved through a planned brand strategy eventually establishes a product with a brand identity. In the long run for businesses to prosper in the cutting edge marketing and competitive era; Brand Identity is mandatory.  People of all ages or rather generation can relate to brand Amul or their mascot.  Although advertising plays a critical role in getting this coveted rank yet, the product management also has to be hailed and saluted. Amul has not only flagged itself via nurturing a consistent brand identity, it has also penetrated households with dynamic products today.

There is so much to learn for upcoming products and brands from AMUL started 65 years back in a small town in the state of Gujarat called Anand.

A Big Salute.

Click here to see some of their fine ads that TSO – The Significant Other has compiled on their FaceBook page.

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Digital Marketing and Bollywood

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Digital Marketing in Films

With 1000 films produced annually, Bollywood is the world’s most prolific cinema industry. It is prolific even in its use of digital marketing. According to DI International Business Development, a consulting unit of Confederation of Danish Industry, Bollywood generated revenues of $3 billion in 2011. It has been growing 10% a year. If one closely observes the promotional and marketing strategies of the Bollywood films, dynamism is the only thing one will notice. Bollywood has adapted to the frequent changes in marketing strategies. It comes out as the premier species of the marketing evolution.

From the advent of transistors / radio, Bollywood has innovated to leverage media to the maximum. Even during those days, the promotional activities included on-air contests, interviews with film stars and music composers, selling out complementary movie tickets, options to meet the stars in person, etc. With the emergence of Television, Bollywood started using programs such as ‘Chitrahar’ to promote its films. The promotional activities remained the same, but the media tilted in favour of television. Especially with the advent and popularity of cable and satellite television.

In the same vigour, Bollywood has now adopted to the new media – Internet for its promotional activities.

The report card of Digital Marketing in films

According to the report of Internet and Mobile Association of India, there were 243 million internet users in the country. Today, we have 462 million Internet users, a 90% jump in 2 years. Around 81 per cent of the online Indian population, according to a report by Hungama Digital Media, engages in some kind of social interactivity on the web.

Inevitably, Bollywood had to take all possible steps and risks to utilise the media better than any other industry. The total marketing budgets of a Bollywood movie comprise almost 30-40 percent of the entire production cost. 20-30 percent of that is now being spent on digital marketing.

Bollywood understands that films have a low shelf life. Marketing therefore needs to be swift and wide. It understands that creating awareness alone is not enough. The masses need to engage and connect with the film, its plot and its stars. With Digital Marketing, Bollywood now promotes its movies right from the very inception of the movie. Promotion starts even before the shooting starts.

 

Content Marketing and Bollywood

Content Marketing in Movie Marketing

Content Marketing is a type of online marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs and social media posts). It may not explicitly promote a brand or a product. Content marketing is about digital stories to stimulate interest in the product. It is subtle. Content is placed in various websites by relevance and interests, and can penetrate deep into the minds of the target consumers.

Internet is a network of computers and mobiles that not only allow consumption of content, but also the independence to create and share content anywhere, anytime. Content strategy therefore intends to make content viral, share-able. It must initiate user generated content.

In 2008, when content marketing as a concept didn’t exist, Ghajini, had made one official website, and two additional websites. It was created to start a content spiral. It wanted to increase its reach and raise curiosity about its content. Along with the websites, it released a lot of viral content on its FB and YouTube page. All these created a previously unseen hype for the movie. Ghajini holds the notable distinction of being the first movie to break the 1 billion (US$17 million) barrier in Bollywood.

Dabang broke the records of Ghajini and 3 Idiots. The movie created a twitter profile and a YouTube channel by the name, Chulbul Robinhood Pandey, apart from the ones in the name of the film.

A recent example is of the film Bajirao Mastani, which invested in a content strategy by launching an animated web series titled ‘Blazing Bajirao’. It was released three months prior to the release of the film.

Social Media in Movie Marketing

Content marketing targets Internet Users by their interests and Internet browsing behaviours. Social media targets Internet Users in their closed groups. It’s like referral marketing within millions of closed groups. From an average budget movie to a mega budget movie, all mandatorily design a Facebook page, a Twitter and an Instagram handle.

The team gets the actors to engage with fans in their pages. They even go live on Social Media and chat with their fans. From sharing anecdotes to conducting polls among followers, the pages try to create as much social connections as possible.

Bollywood has successfully integrated on-ground events to boost Social Media engagement. A real event has a better chance of getting viral. To promote Kahaani, Vidya Balan had came out in public with a prosthetic belly. She mingled with the public carrying an onscreen picture of her missing husband. Even the release of the  film was planned a day after International Women’s Day.

The trailer of the film, Rowdy Rathore, was launched in an open stadium in Worli, Mumbai on 2 April 2012. It received over 2,295,756 views in less than one month on YouTube.

Gaming, Mobile Apps and Bollywood

Digital Marketing and Films

Bollywood has been a pioneer in using technology such as Online Gaming and Mobile Applications. It has brought in the know-how required for such marketing tools from abroad. Kahaani had engaged the social networking website ibibo.com to develop an online game. The game called ‘The Great Indian Parking Wars’, required players to park Vidya’s taxi on a street. The game was well accepted reaching 50,000 hits in 10 days.

Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood learnt not to wait for their movies to do well before releasing a game. Bollywood started releasing video games prior to the release of the movie. It has proved to be another effective publicity stunt to grab the attention of the audiences.

The 5 most successful video games released by the marketing teams of Bollywood are as follows:

  1. The team of the Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra starrer, Brothers release a video game by the movie name. Brothers: Clash of Fighters, had 3D animated life-like characters that looked similar to the heroes of the film.
  2. Shahrukh Khan starrer Ra.One released the game titled RA.ONE as the prequel to his actual movie
  3. Krrish gave India its first superhero and had a mobile video game supposedly made by a fan.
  4. Ghajini was the first Bollywood movie that was made into a 3D game for PCs. It has the voice of Aamir Khan as well.
  5. Dhoom-3 released its video game on Android, Windows and iPhone even before releasing the movie trailer and the songs.

Conclusion

Thus Technology has been playing a huge role in movie marketing. Digital Marketing has been used in all its forms and possible technologies by Bollywood. Consequently, it has been very successful in all its initiatives. There is a lot to learn for all digital marketers from the various case studies available on the use of Digital Marketing by the Bollywood film industry.

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