On Novel Ways To Market Movies
PACHU MENON, MARGAO
So much has the ‘marketing mantra’ caught on with every aspect of commerce these days that it is difficult to perceive the success of any business venture without sales promotion playing a vital role in the whole gamut of proceedings. As an activity attempting to stimulate immediate product interest, sales promotions have been employed by various entrepreneurs to market their ‘merchandise.’ However, efforts to increase consumer perception and catalyze market demand have been trending for quite a while now. More so in the world of films where the ‘dream merchants’ are forever envisaging novel methods to sell their celluloid visions to the audience. From posters of the Friday-release being carried around the city on rickshaws, teasers, promos and trailers of the film came to dominate the publicity proceedings of a new release. Then came the age of the MBAs, who drastically altered the very meaning of campaigns and advertisements. The production houses too were keeping pace with the new trend. Roping in professionals renowned for their business administrative skills, they managed to tap into all available resources to publicize and hard-sell their films. Exploring the media avenues was the first option, followed by more daring steps. Ensuring the success of their films remained the sole motive of the producers. And so ‘creating hype’ around upcoming movies became the new concept capitalized upon by many movie moghuls. Enticing political parties or right-wing organisations to seek a ban on movies on some flimsy ground or the other even before they were released, the movie-makers were able to add that spice of uncertainty to their films compelling the public to rush to the theatres on their release, if only for the ‘curiosity factor.’ Initially it used to be the ‘religious sentiments’ that formed the crux of the agitation. But this time around, the decision to have theatres refusing to screen films with Pakistani actors preceding a prominent production house’s release, and the subsequent ‘appeasing’ of those calling for the ‘strict measures’ to facilitate the smooth opening in cinema houses, promises to expose the unholy nexus between film-makers and such organisations. Having managed to keep the whole country embroiled in a virtual war of words over the issue of Pakistani stars in Indian films, both the ‘aggrieved’ and the ‘protestors’ have laughed all their way to the bank.