Madhur Bhandarkar’s new film ‘Heroine’ is based on the life of a Bollywood actress and documents the trials and tribulations she endures in the film industry. With 'Fashion', 'Aisha', 'Dirty Picture' and 'Kahaani', among other recent mainstream releases, audiences and movie-makers now seem willing to put their money on seeing a woman in the lead role. We asked Shikha Kapur, executive director – marketing, studios, Disney UTV, about the marketing strategies behind such films.
Conventionally, Bollywood loves its male superstars. So in the absence of a male superstar, is it more challenging to promote/market women centric films in Bollywood?
Shikha Kapur (SK): It is not necessarily more difficult to market a woman-centric film, but it is a challenge to create an equivalent desirability and to bring a similar number of people into the theatres. However, the scale of women-centric films has grown considerably over the years – right from a Chandni Bar to Page 3 to Fashion to No One Killed Jessica and now Heroine. Heroine is going to reaffirm the audiences’ changing perception – the fact that they are appreciative of good performances and good story telling.
Previously, UTV had produced the successful film - Fashion, which also was centred on a lead female character. Could you comment on your learnings from that experience, from a marketing perspective?
SK: With Fashion, we had association with brands spelling style quotient such as Sunsilk, Kimaya and Vogue. There were outfits styled by designer Narendra Kumar for the On Screen Sunsilk fashion show. These were few of the promotions initiated then and created the right buzz for the film. From then to now withHeroine, marketing female oriented films has changed with multiple brands vying for attention and publicity for their products, which a film like Heroine makes easily accessible and worthy.
What initiatives have been undertaken for the promotion of 'Heroine'? Who would be the TG for this movie?
SK: The subject of the film itself has a universal appeal. Keeping in mind the content, the film has been targeted widely – across multiplex and single screen audiences, but more at the male dominated audience rather than a family. As part of the marketing strategy, we have used the idea of the ‘aspirational life of a heroine’ and the glamour quotient to engage the audiences. A 360-degree campaign across TV, print, outdoor, digital and activation has been put in place. A number of brands came on board, which has also added to the overall media spends to increase share of voice. We promoted the film widely with media alliances and television show integrations. Some of the events were the trailer launch at a multiplex in Mumbai with a massive media turnout, the music launch at the Siddhivinayak Temple, the song launch and Delhi city visits.
How are the brand tie ups decided for such movies - purely on the existing associations of the lead female actor, or are other brands considered too? Could you elaborate on the brand tie-ups for 'Heroine'?
SK: Product placement is integrated with a film's story line in a manner that is inherent to the film and accelerates the story. Brand marketers today are involved with the film at the preliminary stage of narration and work with the producers to seamlessly integrate the brand in the narrative of the film. The integration is further amplified through a media campaign before release. It plays an imperative role - not just as an additional revenue stream but also in creating a robust multi-media marketing platform to mount the film during release.
The brand association for Heroine are Lakme, Head and Shoulders, Cera, Rupa, Monarch Universal, Jealous 21, Cocoberry and Sugarfree. A designer range inspired by the film Heroine was launched by apparel brand Jealous 21 (Future Group). With Lakme, Heroine-branded products under the Absolute range endorsed by Kareena Kapoor will be available.
Which all television show properties has the movie 'Heroine' been promoted on?
SK: From photo shoots to the launch of an art gallery to attending a special screening, Kareena did everything that a Heroine is supposed to do. Heroine was present at different occasions on flagship fiction shows across Zee, SAB, and Sony television; Kareena appeared in her glamorous avatar on Punar Vivah, Tarak Mehta, and CID respectively. Heroine promotions on television shows kickstarted with the finale of Indian Idol. Other reality integrations include Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, India’s Got Talent, and the show she enjoyed the most Dance Ke Super Kids. This is the first time Kareena indulged in rampant television shows promotions, and this to herald a heroine led film.
The Brunch dialogue in association with Hindustan Times was conducted by the veteran journalist Vir Sanghvi discussing the changing face of the Indian heroine. This was in conversation with Kareena, Karishma, Sharmila, Siddharth Roy Kapur, RajKumar Gupta, and Madhur Bhandarkar. A special edition of Brunch magazine will be out on the release weekend. This print media event will translate into a one hour packaged episode on Star world.
How has the movie been promoted on social media? Has there been any digital initiative?
SK: A teaser campaign was launched prior to the release of the poster and trailer launch due to which Heroine and Kareena trended on Twitter for three consecutive days. The trailer and the songs of the film were uploaded on YouTube and the song 'Saaiyan' was one of the fastest growing songs on YouTube in terms of views. We are running a 'Get Glamorous' contest on Facebook where people can upload their most glamorous pictures and the best ones get to walk away with a designer dress from Heroine. We also ran contests enabling fans to meet Kareena.
Watch the song Saiyyan