Product Placement in Bollywood

There are number of ways to advertise your product, to lure your prospective customers into buying your product,  such as use of social platforms, t-v commercials, hoardings, print media and a lot more but only a few attract the audience in a manner as is done by product placement.

Product placement is an advertising strategy to subtly place your product in a movie or other media and to promote it with the help of verbal references, application or recommendations. The concept of product placement is already an established one in Hollywood but it still has a long way to go in Bollywood Cinema. The first instance of product placement in Hindi Cinema goes way back to 1955, where in the Shre.420, Coca-Cola who is always ahead in the game advertises its product as we see a big banner of Coca-Cola when the protagonist enters the city of dreams Mumbai, other instances include the use of Rajdoot Motorcycles in the movie Bobby,1975. However, the strategy got its real essence with the movie Taal, 1999 where the main characters of the movie are seen extensively using coke in their conversations apart from drinking the product. The soft-drink giant is said to have reportedly paid INR 200,000 for the deal.

To get the maximum benefit out of it, the product should be placed subtly and should not disrupt the flow of the movie. The product placement should not seem to be as an out and out advertisement. In the recent years, Bollywood has a seen some really good and careful instances of product placement. Linking with the flow of the movie was good to see in Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, in Don 2 we see Shahrukh Khan using Tag Huer watches, Castrol in Tara rum pum, Syska in Piku tells how it helps to make life easy with the help of its power bank and Bluetooth devices in a subtle way, use of Cannon cameras by Anushka Sharma in Jab tak hai jaan, Bournvita and Avon Cycles in Koi Mil Gaya and many more. Sunsilk in the movie 2 States show a good example of passive product placement where the product is integrated in the background.

There have been instances where the product is intergral to the storyline, such as the Maruti Ertiga in Mere dad ki Maruti. There has been a trend in Bollywood movies to get the brand ambassador using (referring to) the product in the movie. Shahrukh Khan who was also the brand ambassador of NOKIA, talked about the features of NOKIA LUMIA for a minute or two in his movie Chennai Express, Hero Honda bikes were used by Hrithik Roshan in Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham.

The product placements are very expensive, therefore a company should evaluate the effectiveness of the platform before making a deal as the outcome of the advertisement depends both on how the placement is done and whether the movie is a hit among the audience or not. The movie Krrish 3 had a number of scenes where the set seemed to be cluttered with too many brands at once and Bang-Bang saw an overdose of Pizza hut advertisement.

An evident advantage of the product placement strategy is that it does not allow the audience to skip the advertisement or switch the platform to internet which can be done with t-v commercials. However, the disadvantage that it carries with it, is that the visibility of product to the audience is heavily dependent on the movie’s success.

As pointed out earlier, Bollywood has a long way to go when it comes to product placement but being the world’s largest film making industry it does provide an able platform to provide enough opportunities to garner success if the product placement is well thought out.