Home » I wish Bollywood was a little more fearless in implementing higher risk campaign strategies: Zee Studios’ Neeraj Joshi

I wish Bollywood was a little more fearless in implementing higher risk campaign strategies: Zee Studios’ Neeraj Joshi

by Joe Bourn

When it comes to generating interest around a film release among the India-loving audience, the trick has been to connect the audience’s love for the celebrity starring in the film. Bollywood’s recent marketing script has also seen the films through music and Instagram reels.

Check out Bollywood movies like “Zara Hatke Zara Bachke”. Instead of talking about the subject matter explored in the film, the buzz was created purely through its trendy songs which eventually became hard to miss.

Marketing Head, Zee Studios, Neeraj Joshi believes it is effective in promoting attendance. However, he points out that the problem with Bollywood when it comes to movie marketing is that they tend to assume that presence and buzz create demand and appeal.

“Wheels are important, but I would say it’s a means of support, it’s a means of reminder. They are seen as an activity you have to do. I would see it as a good activity.”

Movie Marketing ft. Zee Studios

Zee Studios has a film list that brings together regions, languages ​​and genres with films like Raazi, Manikarnika, The Kashmir Files and regional language films like Jersey and others.

The production house’s latest release, Gadar 2, was released for the mass audience, selling Tara Singh and Sakina’s characters as relatable and rootable.

Highlighting the ‘grass’ of the characters came about through on-the-ground actions worldwide, where actors Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel visited cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Indore, Ahmedabad, Dubai and more for events, interviews and fan meetings.

They also hosted a music concert for the film in Delhi, created murals of the characters and created several challenges for the audience, including the ‘Hand Pump Challenge’ by installing a real pump in malls for viewers to unleash their inner Tara Singh .

They also remastered and re-released the first movie ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ in 4k and added a post credit scene to tease the sequel. As of today, the film has amassed a box office collection of Rs. 482.45 crores.

The secret recipe of the film was that its marketing was not based on the media. Joshi mentions that they took a regional approach and marketed the film as an “election campaign” because of the love of South films and the audience for them.

“More than 70% of the marketing budget went to on-site activations, followed by social and then display. We used lesser number of mediums compared to any other general Bollywood film. Whatever happened socially after that, we wanted to keep it organic.”

Their field commitments for different territories came from a cross-pollination of the Telugu, Tamil and Punjabi film industries and unlearned everything they knew about marketing in Bollywood, Joshi continues.

He further comments that this is a lesson they have learned from the southern marketing book, which is not based on influencer marketing but rather on the interactions of stars and characters with fans.

Learning from Hollywood Marketing Strategy

Joshi notes that Hollywood films have a clear communication strategy across regions and territories when it comes to marketing. On the other hand, Bollywood’s concern is that they have started taking the easy way out for film marketing campaigns, be it communications, creatives or mediums where films cannot be connected.

Media awareness is there, but implementation matters. In terms of application, it states how the message should be the medium instead of the medium being the medium. This is something Bollywood needs to learn.

“I wish Bollywood was a little more fearless in implementing higher risk media approaches or campaign strategies. It’s possible to fail, but it’s also possible to win a lot.”

This is clearly seen with the success of Hollywood movies like ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ and even series like ‘Wednesday’ and ‘Stranger Things’ as they have shown the world the impact that marketing can have.

The extensive marketing plan, which includes brand partnerships, organic traction created for Barbenheimer through friendly competition, and a focus on characters taking center stage, resulted in a box office haul of over $2 billion worldwide.

India as a country is good at scaling up and making its presence known. However, as communication becomes easier through various accessible mediums, Joshi closes the conversation by saying that the danger is not being able to communicate properly and this is something that Bollywood needs to learn.

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