The case study tries to evaluate the product placements incorporated inthe biggest hit of the year 2016 a bollywood movie “Sultan” with the lead actorSalman Khan portraying the role of a wrestler from a small town making it bigin the wrestling world by beating all the odds. Eyeballs and potential reach iswhat marketers are after and what better than a salman khan film-since he isone actor who alone can garner all the attention with his huge legion ofdie-hard fans. The movie had a lot of product placements in the form of in-filmplacement or out-film placement or co-promotion so as to outreach the audienceand piggy-back on the star power. The case tries to assess the brandplacements- prominence, repetition and plot connection so as to ascertain thepotential of the trade.Product Placement in Bollywood Product Placements in Bollywood movies is not new. It has its roots longback when Rajdoot was famously introduced in Raj Kapoor film “Bobby” in theyear 1975.

It’s always interesting to study how these products placed in abollywood film leverages itself and proves a beneficial gamble. Apart from thebrand itself, it is very important that the endorser is a known renownedpersonality to justify the spend.  Controversy’sfavorite child & still a brand Magnet: Salman KhanSalman Khan has always been the favorite of marketers despite beinginvolved in a lot of controversies one or the other day, be it the hit and runcase or his recent statement comparing himself to a rape victim, thesecontroversies are just a small wave and won’t affect the star’s power and thebrands he is associated with. Khan is able to churn out Bollywood’s hits andall his movies undoubtedly enters the 100 crore club sometimes 200 croreclub.  Take an example of the recent release “Tiger Zinda Hai” not only theopening collection is the highest ever in Bollywood but its first-weekendcollection is also the highest ever in the industry. It has already surpassed100 crore mark in just three days. It canbe seen even in his previous movies, for eg.

in the Movie “Dabang”, how brands were integrated, how the scenes were designed to create animpact and how it actually influenced to the consumers.The Movie also had anexample of sonic branding wherein the Brand ” Zandu Balm” was placed in thechartbuster song of that year ” Munni Badnam hui darling tere liye, mai ” ZanduBalm” hui darling tere liye” After that another popular brand “Fevicol” wasinserted in the lyrics of the song “Mere photo ko chipka de saiyan “fevicol”se”. Brand .

The right amount of in-film promotion assures an amplifiedconsumer attention. He endoresesbrands like Thums Up, Relaxo, Astral Pipes, Suzuki Motorcycles, PN GadgilJewellers and Wheel. Per endorsement he charges a whooping amount ofapproximately 1.5 crore Rs, Thumps Up being his longest association, till date.There was a period when brands started relooking for an association since hewas convicted and sentenced for a jail term of 5 years however this didn’tchange his equation with the brands as he was let off on bail. “Sultan” ofProduct PlacementSultan is one movie that hasdone an exemplary product placement. Released in the year 2016 it showcase arural plot revolving around the protagonist of the film “Salman Khan”. Sultanwhich is from the premium production house “YRF( YashRaj Films)” bagged 180crores in the domestic market and 253 crores in International market, was toutedto be the most successful film of the year 2016 even before its release andthus a lot of brands were queuing up its way to be associated with the film oneor another reasons.

There were eight in-film and one out-film brand placementsthat were integrated marvelously into the scenes. The Brands namely Relispray,Escorts Tractors, Force Motors, Astral Pipes, CP Plus, Videocon DTH and ParasGhee are examples of in-films placement implicitly and explicitly integrated inthe plots. The only out-film placement beingMicromax mobile handsets. A blockbuster ensures visibility and thus companieswant to reckon on the star power by associating its brands with the movie.Industry watchdogs says that such brand placements usually costs them anywherebetween 75 lakh and 3 crore.  Brands banked on Salman Khan’s “sultan” Varuna PumpsThis water pump company basedin Ahmedabad wanted to concentrate on only one media when they launched theproduct in 2015 and thus on the basis of their media budget they launched it onseven radio spots which was a success. Post success, they were encouraged tonext launch it in a video format but with some innovative strategy so as toreach to a larger audience base.

The company thus launched a two-film campaignto communicate the message of making people’s lives simpler by varuna pumps, whichwas aired during the interval of “Sultan”- touted to be the biggest release ofthe year 2016. In one of the video a villager women is seen facing difficultiesto fetch water in a vast barren stretch & another video a city based agedparsi couple is seen  struggling to getwater from ground floor. 1,800 theatres across Gujarat, Kerala, Tamilnadu andMaharashtra were selected to target. The innovative practice adopted was bydeveloping an ad reviving the lost charm of a short film format, the adportrayed “slice of life advertising strategy” theme being water shortage facedby rural and urban Indians. Wateris a highly emotional topic for Indians, there is an erratic importance of itin Indian society.

TimexTimex has associated itself with “Sultan” through both in-filmplacement and outside integration releasing a video that showcases Salmankhan’s journey as an actor to the sultan of Bollywood.This association is aperfect fit provided the connect between Timex’s focus on fitness and Sultan’sspirit. Also the character of Sultan helps justify thisassociation better, since he is extremely focused towards an active life, likeTimex. As a part of this association throughthe video, the director of the film is seen talking about the actor’s intensetraining with Timex Ironman sleek 150 hepled Salman Khan get the Ironmanwrestling avatar with its features like stopwatchwith 150 Lap Memory, Interval Timer, Target Pacer and Hydration Alerts .Hefurther adds that Timex Ironman Sleek 150 is an user-friendly sports watch andis a must have for all the fitness enthusiasts. The IRONMAN series is one ofthe most successful fitness tracker presented by Timex  and thus the campaign wants to educate theaudience to use it for an active and fit life. TIMEX as a brand has alwaysfocused on improving lifestyle of people through its technologically advancedproducts.

The marketers has tried every bit to make the brand’s message congruentwith the plot of the film & in conjunction with world-renowned athletes. Force MotorsThe movie plot has a lot ofwrestling events and thus Force motor is implicitly integrated in those eventsas the sponsors of the events. The brand has been weaved into the story plot tohighlight the message –’The Force That Drives Sultan’.RelisprayThe pain-relieving spray brand”Relispray” from MidasCare Pharmaceuticals Pvt.

Ltd.  has been finely integrated in the moviescenes wherein the protagonist after his wrestling match is in pain and appliesRelispray. This is one good example of the association fit.

It has also tieditself with film as an out-side placement by running an ad campaign inassociation with the movie.Astral PipesA brand will be well accepted byan audience of interest when the connection solidifies the theme of the movie.The purpose of Astral Pipes was to connect with the North Indians since it isan important market for them. The storyline of Sultan takes shape inHaryana(North India) and also the brand positioning “Strong Nahin, AstralStrong” connects very finely with the spirit of the film which reflects thegrit, endurance & strength of Sultan .

Salman Khan is also the brandambassador and thus according to the trade gurus it is a perfect connotationfor integration. Apart from placement, the brand is also one of the manysponsors of the film.Paras GheeParas Ghee was used to decipherthe consumption habit of North Indian culture of consuming ghee. Ghee- abyproduct is considered as an important ingredient in each and every aspect oflife of Indians especially the North Indians, the placement was finelyintegrated in the film. The protagonist is shown fighting in a wrestling matchsponsored by Paras Ghee and winning the same. Beyond that, in order to push itsproduct, a contest was run by the brand giving the winner an opportunity tomeet “Sultan”. Videocon D2h Videocon D2h tied up with “Sultan” to take the brand to the ruralvicinity of India as an extension to its latest campaign “Khusiyon ki Chatri”.To strengthen the association Videocon D2h even carried a 360 degree campaignwith an objective to create an impact for impending DAS-IV digitalizationtowns, areas highly influenced by Hindi cinema.

 It is considered to be the most prominent and repetitive placement tiedin an innovative way as the actor is shown playing the franchisee owner in themovie and seen carrying the brand on the vehicle and many more scenes. Escorts Tractor The essence of the brand “Escorts Tractor” to provide agricultural solutionshas been weaved in the storyline of the film wherein the integration talksabout the credibility, strength and mileage of the product thus resonating withthat of the wrestler in action “Sultan”. 

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