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Here's A Radical Marketing Strategy Inspired By The Otherwise Insipid 'Ki & Ka'

06/04/2016 8:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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This is not a review of the movie. If it was a review, I would probably harp about how heavy-handed it was; something not expected from R. Balki of Cheeni Kum and Paa fame. I would probably also complain about the innumerable and unsubtle product placements. However, I think this movie is on to something, even though it failed to make the final leap.

Here is the radical idea--What if viewers were given some benefits (monetary or in kind) for watching a film containing product placements? I don't mean this as a "this movie was so bad, they should have paid me to watch it" jibe. I think that compensating viewers for watching advertisements in movies is not only a feasible proposition but, in fact, makes great business sense.

Product placement in movies is an age-old marketing trick. Filmmakers use it mostly to recover some of the production costs. Online video makers like AIB, TVF etc. finance themselves almost entirely through this. More recently, brands jointly promote films which feature them, creating an advertising loop of sorts. Viewers generally do not mind this, as they expect higher production values as a result.

Here is the radical idea--What if viewers were given some benefits (monetary or in kind) for watching a film containing product placements?

However, watching Ki & Ka, I realized that the production costs of the movie did not merit the amount of product placement that went in. As a viewer, I was forced to gulp down advertisements which did not necessarily fit the narrative of the story, and sometimes even influenced the story for no apparent reason. However, it didn't help improve the movie's quality in any way. Still, I paid the same money to watch Ki & Ka, as I did to watch the far more subtle and engaging Kapoor & Sons which was made on a similar budget (₹35 crore as opposed to ₹30 crore for Ki & Ka).

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Now, I might be proven wrong, but I am willing to stick my neck out and say Kapoor & Sons will be seen by many more people, and a greater number of times than Ki & Ka. However, if Ki & Ka shared some of the benefits it got from product placements with paying customers, the opposite could have held true. It would have also meant greater viewership for the product placements in the movie, a perfect win-win situation. The viewer must be compensated for the discomfort of watching advertisements by either increasing the production value of the movie, or by simply passing on some benefits to the customer.

As a company advertising its product and services, this creates a golden opportunity to engage with customers, in addition to creating greater exposure for advertisements. Marketing teams and consultants are smart enough to find the right incentives and benefits for viewers so that these fit the company's marketing goals.

The viewer must be compensated for the discomfort of watching advertisements by either increasing the production value of the movie, or by simply giving some benefits...

If this idea seems like 'pie-in-the-sky' to you, just take a look at the new marketing plan for Pepsi. Instead of having big stars endorse their brand and bombarding the TV with advertisements, they chose to instead pass on the benefit to the customer by giving them PayTM credits (with the contribution of PayTM, I imagine) and other prizes. TVFPlay also used a similar strategy by offering cashback and Uber vouchers for their paying subscribers. This led to a seemingly bizarre scenario where a subscriber was effectively being offered the content for free.

As moviegoers, we need to demand more from the industry. They've had a good run springing lazy product placements on hapless and unsuspecting customers who go to cinema to watch a movie and end up watching advertisements instead! If nothing, at the very least, give us some freebies of the things you are advertising!

Before you type away in the comments section, no, I did not receive any money from any brand mentioned in this post, and hence will not be able to pass on the benefits to you.

This post was first published on Idea Bhandaar.

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