The case study tries to evaluate the product placements incorporated in
the biggest hit of the year 2016 a bollywood movie “Sultan” with the lead actor
Salman Khan portraying the role of a wrestler from a small town making it big
in the wrestling world by beating all the odds. Eyeballs and potential reach is
what marketers are after and what better than a salman khan film-since he is
one actor who alone can garner all the attention with his huge legion of
die-hard fans. The movie had a lot of product placements in the form of in-film
placement or out-film placement or co-promotion so as to outreach the audience
and piggy-back on the star power. The case tries to assess the brand
placements- prominence, repetition and plot connection so as to ascertain the
potential of the trade.Product Placement in Bollywood

Product Placements in Bollywood movies is not new. It has its roots long
back when Rajdoot was famously introduced in Raj Kapoor film “Bobby” in the
year 1975. It’s always interesting to study how these products placed in a
bollywood film leverages itself and proves a beneficial gamble. Apart from the
brand itself, it is very important that the endorser is a known renowned
personality to justify the spend.  

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favorite child & still a brand Magnet: Salman Khan

Salman Khan has always been the favorite of marketers despite being
involved in a lot of controversies one or the other day, be it the hit and run
case or his recent statement comparing himself to a rape victim, these
controversies are just a small wave and won’t affect the star’s power and the
brands he is associated with. Khan is able to churn out Bollywood’s hits and
all his movies undoubtedly enters the 100 crore club sometimes 200 crore
club.  Take an example of the recent release “Tiger Zinda Hai” not only the
opening collection is the highest ever in Bollywood but its first-weekend
collection is also the highest ever in the industry. It has already surpassed
100 crore mark in just three days. It can
be seen even in his previous movies
, for eg. in the Movie “Dabang”, how brands were integrated, how the scenes were designed to create an
impact and how it actually influenced to the consumers.The Movie also had an
example of sonic branding wherein the Brand ” Zandu Balm” was placed in the
chartbuster song of that year ” Munni Badnam hui darling tere liye, mai ” Zandu
Balm” hui darling tere liye” After that another popular brand “Fevicol” was
inserted in the lyrics of the song “Mere photo ko chipka de saiyan “fevicol”
se”. Brand . The right amount of in-film promotion assures an amplified
consumer attention. He endoreses
brands like Thums Up, Relaxo, Astral Pipes, Suzuki Motorcycles, PN Gadgil
Jewellers and Wheel. Per endorsement he charges a whooping amount of
approximately 1.5 crore Rs, Thumps Up being his longest association, till date.
There was a period when brands started relooking for an association since he
was convicted and sentenced for a jail term of 5 years however this didn’t
change his equation with the brands as he was let off on bail.

“Sultan” of
Product Placement

Sultan is one movie that has
done an exemplary product placement. Released in the year 2016 it showcase a
rural plot revolving around the protagonist of the film “Salman Khan”. Sultan
which is from the premium production house “YRF( YashRaj Films)” bagged 180
crores in the domestic market and 253 crores in International market, was touted
to be the most successful film of the year 2016 even before its release and
thus a lot of brands were queuing up its way to be associated with the film one
or another reasons. There were eight in-film and one out-film brand placements
that were integrated marvelously into the scenes. The Brands namely Relispray,
Escorts Tractors, Force Motors, Astral Pipes, CP Plus, Videocon DTH and Paras
Ghee are examples of in-films placement implicitly and explicitly integrated in
the plots. The only out-film placement being
Micromax mobile handsets. A blockbuster ensures visibility and thus companies
want to reckon on the star power by associating its brands with the movie.
Industry watchdogs says that such brand placements usually costs them anywhere
between 75 lakh and 3 crore.



Brands banked on Salman Khan’s “sultan”

Varuna Pumps

This water pump company based
in Ahmedabad wanted to concentrate on only one media when they launched the
product in 2015 and thus on the basis of their media budget they launched it on
seven radio spots which was a success. Post success, they were encouraged to
next launch it in a video format but with some innovative strategy so as to
reach to a larger audience base. The company thus launched a two-film campaign
to communicate the message of making people’s lives simpler by varuna pumps, which
was aired during the interval of “Sultan”- touted to be the biggest release of
the year 2016. In one of the video a villager women is seen facing difficulties
to fetch water in a vast barren stretch & another video a city based aged
parsi couple is seen  struggling to get
water from ground floor. 1,800 theatres across Gujarat, Kerala, Tamilnadu and
Maharashtra were selected to target. The innovative practice adopted was by
developing an ad reviving the lost charm of a short film format, the ad
portrayed “slice of life advertising strategy” theme being water shortage faced
by rural and urban Indians. Water
is a highly emotional topic for Indians, there is an erratic importance of it
in Indian society.


Timex has associated itself with “Sultan” through both in-film
placement and outside integration releasing a video that showcases Salman
khan’s journey as an actor to the sultan of Bollywood.This association is a
perfect fit provided the connect between Timex’s focus on fitness and Sultan’s
spirit. Also the character of Sultan helps justify this
association better, since he is extremely focused towards an active life, like
Timex. As a part of this association through
the video, the director of the film is seen talking about the actor’s intense
training with Timex Ironman sleek 150 hepled Salman Khan get the Ironman
wrestling avatar with its features like stopwatch
with 150 Lap Memory, Interval Timer, Target Pacer and Hydration Alerts .He
further adds that Timex Ironman Sleek 150 is an user-friendly sports watch and
is a must have for all the fitness enthusiasts. The IRONMAN series is one of
the most successful fitness tracker presented by Timex  and thus the campaign wants to educate the
audience to use it for an active and fit life. TIMEX as a brand has always
focused on improving lifestyle of people through its technologically advanced
products. The marketers has tried every bit to make the brand’s message congruent
with the plot of the film & in conjunction with world-renowned athletes.

Force Motors

The movie plot has a lot of
wrestling events and thus Force motor is implicitly integrated in those events
as the sponsors of the events. The brand has been weaved into the story plot to
highlight the message –’The Force That Drives Sultan’.


The pain-relieving spray brand
“Relispray” from MidasCare Pharmaceuticals Pvt.Ltd.  has been finely integrated in the movie
scenes wherein the protagonist after his wrestling match is in pain and applies
Relispray. This is one good example of the association fit. It has also tied
itself with film as an out-side placement by running an ad campaign in
association with the movie.

Astral Pipes

A brand will be well accepted by
an 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 is
an important market for them. The storyline of Sultan takes shape in
Haryana(North India) and also the brand positioning “Strong Nahin, Astral
Strong” connects very finely with the spirit of the film which reflects the
grit, endurance & strength of Sultan .Salman Khan is also the brand
ambassador and thus according to the trade gurus it is a perfect connotation
for integration. Apart from placement, the brand is also one of the many
sponsors of the film.

Paras Ghee

Paras Ghee was used to decipher
the consumption habit of North Indian culture of consuming ghee. Ghee- a
byproduct is considered as an important ingredient in each and every aspect of
life of Indians especially the North Indians, the placement was finely
integrated in the film. The protagonist is shown fighting in a wrestling match
sponsored by Paras Ghee and winning the same. Beyond that, in order to push its
product, a contest was run by the brand giving the winner an opportunity to
meet “Sultan”.

Videocon D2h

Videocon D2h tied up with “Sultan” to take the brand to the rural
vicinity of India as an extension to its latest campaign “Khusiyon ki Chatri”.
To strengthen the association Videocon D2h even carried a 360 degree campaign
with an objective to create an impact for impending DAS-IV digitalization
towns, areas highly influenced by Hindi cinema. 
It is considered to be the most prominent and repetitive placement tied
in an innovative way as the actor is shown playing the franchisee owner in the
movie and seen carrying the brand on the vehicle and many more scenes.

Escorts Tractor

The essence of the brand “Escorts Tractor” to provide agricultural solutions
has been weaved in the storyline of the film wherein the integration talks
about the credibility, strength and mileage of the product thus resonating with
that of the wrestler in action “Sultan”. 


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