His forthcoming film "Fashion" has got an 'A' certificate that may limit his audience size, but director-producer Madhur Bhandarkar has some reason to smile - of the Rs.220 million investment in the movie, it has already earned as much as Rs.85 million (Rs.8.5 crores) from in-film advertisement alone.
A co-production of UTV Motion Pictures and Bhandarkar Entertainment, "Fashion" has six prestigious brand placements - clothing brands Kimaya and Reebok, Lenovo laptop, Sunsilk shampoo, Cellucom and LG Electronics.
"The brands have been chosen carefully so they are relevant to the scenes where they will be displayed, without causing a jarring note," said a UTV marketing executive.
"Fashion", which stars Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, Mugdha Godse and Arjan Bajwa, is set to release Oct 29.
In-film advertising has been gaining momentum in Bollywood. The sole reason is that while the products get visibility at a premium price, serving the purpose of their advertisers, filmmakers also earn handsome revenues by letting the brands get screen space in movies.
According to reports, film placements are currently raking in anything between Rs.500,000 to Rs.50 million for the producers.
"The advertising agencies have of late realised that product placements in movies starring Bollywood's top stars bring the brands instant visibility and it is much cheaper than hiring individual stars to endorse them," producer Vashu Bhagnani told IANS.
But Prasoon Joshi, ad guru, lyricist and screenplay writer, says that in-film advertising will not affect the trend of stars endorsing brands.
"In-film advertising, of course, is not going to do away with brand endorsements by stars. The strategy of placing some select brands in movies is to give them an additional marketing push, even though the stars featuring them may not be directly endorsing these brands," Prasoon told IANS.
Some well-known advertising agencies have recently set up separate units to handle on-screen advertising in movies and television programmes.
While Mudra Max and Madison Mates, for example, have just forayed into on-screen advertising full time, Leo Entertainment is already earning profits this way.
It earned rich dividends from films such as "Kaante", "Raju Chacha" and "Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai" where it leveraged brands such as Coca-Cola, Thums Up, Maaza, Provogue, Castrol, Tata Tea and Blowplast.
Earlier, UB Group was associated with films like Raveena Tandon-starrer "Stumped". Similarly, Vivek Oberoi-Diya Mirza's "Dum" featured McDowell's Bagpiper, and the group's strong beer, Zingaro, appeared in Pooja Bhatt's "Jism".
Brands like mouth freshener Paas Paas and Coca-Cola were noticed in Subhash Ghai's "Yaadein" and Nerolac paint and Western Union Money Transfer in Mahesh Manjrekar's Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt starrer "Viruddh". Eros Jewellery, Nerolac Paints, Taj Mahal Tea, Seagrams and the Audi A6 luxury sedan were seen in Ravi Chopra's "Baabul".
On an average, 25 percent of Bollywood movies employ branded entertainment, according to Sanjay Bhutiani, business head of B.R. Films.
Prasoon, however, added that there is a difference between on-screen brand placement and brand integration.
"Displaying a brand in the manner of a backdrop of a scene is passé. The brand has to get integrated into the script, so that it becomes a part of a scene and is not seen as an intruder," the ad man said.
Indo-Asian News Service