Movies. Marketing. The other ‘M’ is Magic.


The reference to Fevicol in a popular hindi tune or a strategically placed Nescafe cuppa on the hero’s bed side. Using Bollywood as a platform for marketing can only be described as divine ingenuity. Think about it. It is a scientific fact that music improves recall and retention of verbal information. So all a brand really needs to do is slip its name within a popular song and BANG! the ‘kaam wali bai’ is humming it, you grab it, it sticks, now unknowingly you are passing it on, soon the kids are singing it on repeat mode, phones are buzzing with the ringtone, it is the background score on TVC’s and TV shows. Talk about viral marketing!

Ameya Sule is the Business Director, Branded Entertainment at Group M. He has led his team in successfully establishing a practice that encompasses strategic platforms and partnerships around Movies & Music. In an interview with EE, Ameya discusses brand tie-ups with movies as a fail-safe marketing strategy.

EE: What exactly is your role at Group M Esp?

The entertainment division of Group M Esp is a team of eight headed by me. We work closely with major Bollywood and Hollywood Studies such as Yashraj Films, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Viacom 18, Dharma Productions, UTV, among others and basically marry brands with movies through strategic tie-ups.

EE: How does it work?

Bollywood being one of the biggest movie industries in the world, the audience for movies in India is expansive and diverse. We facilitate marketing associations for the companies that fall under the Group M umbrella so they get optimum visibility through the medium of movies. Lyrical integration within movie dialogues or songs has proven to be an effective marketing measure. We also plan the tie-ups keeping in mind the brand’s philosophy and its connect with the movie. For example, Garnier Bhaag Milkha Bhaag made sense because both, the brand and the film, symbolize a ‘no-sweat attitude’ message. Specific marketing activities are executed closer to the movie launch keeping in mind the relevance  to the film.

EE: Which brands have you partnered with in the past?

We primarily cater to brands linked with Group M across all categories. We have worked with Wheel, Ponds, Fiat, Close-up, Mercedes, Arrow, Nokia among several others.

EE: How did the Entertainment Division in Group M Esp conceptualize?

The practice of seamless integration of brands within movies is perhaps seven or eight years old at Group M. We wanted to explore a medium outside traditional media as a marketing platform and thus began experimenting with movies. By closely working with brands on this we developed a better understanding of their requirements and the immense payoffs, and so we have been innovating since.

EE: What has been the impact? Is ROI measurable through this channel?

I would call it a Return On Objective rather than Return On Investment. The objective of the brand is met with the increased visibility is receives through branding within films and in return the films also benefit from the brands marketing initiatives through ATL, BTL, Social media spends. I would say we have been highly successful in delivering the brands objectives as they keep coming back to us with bigger budgets. They understand that even if tomorrow Bournvita or Zandu balm cease to exist as a product they will forever remain nestled in our memories because of their reference in movies Krrish and Dabanng. Such long-term recall value is very difficult to achieve.

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