Just watched another program bashing up Ra.One marketing campaign and how the film has been a dud till now despite a very well planned campaign. Well, first of all I have not watched the movie till now, so I wont be the right person to comment on the actual content of the movie. I’m aware of the basic theme, the marketing campaigns, supposedly the superior effects, technological edge, the characters and songs of the movie. But beyond that no comments on whether it’s good or bad.
Possibly one of the longest marketing campaigns in the history of Indian movie marketing spanning over a period of approx 10 months & with a lavish budget of Rs. 40 crores, Ra.One had indeed one of the most discussed maniac marketing campaigns ever. From global tours, to graphic novels, to digital marketing, to brand alliances, to presence on reality shows, to innovative merchandises, to physical toys, to digital games for ipods / ipads, to youtube channel, to google plus pages… phew and yes, before I forget, to even have Akon for Chammak Challo and Lady Gaga for the premier… I mean you name it and the movie had got it. Yes, I agree the marketing campaign for Ra.One was nothing less than an attack on your senses! Words like overdrive or aggressive promotion would be understatement for a campaign of that magnitude.
But I still do not understand why link up a promotion campaign with the average or failed performance of the movie. Since when a good marketing has actually made a bad product successful in the market? Can’t recall even one case study where a crap product has been a hit because of strong marketing. Despite, all the criticism on the marketing strategies and the need for it, I for one at least think that a movie like Ra.One needed the promotion push in the market. Here’s why:
Content: The movie tries to venture into a different zone, the sci-fi genre that is still primarily untouched by many in Indian film industry. A third of the film’s budget has gone into special effects and Ra.One boasts of some 3,500 VFX shots in the entire movie. Considering the digital bang and effort which has gone into creating this kind of content, it does make sense to me to back it up with relevant marketing and engagement tools like digital games, innovative merchandises and graphic novels etc. Two of my movie buff friends actually commented – “when it comes to special effects, the movie has been made marvelously well. Whatever said and done, the movie has set up a benchmark and standard for others to match up to in Indian Film Industry.”
Character: It’s not a general Bollywood flick with a pre-decided story line. This movie is all about an Indian super hero and that too a new brand. More than the movie, a character G.One had to be introduced, defined and established in the minds of the TG. A brand different from legendaries like Spiderman or Superman of this world. Now whenever there has been a need of such introduction, promotion has to be done. Take the case of any famous Hollywood flick and you’ll see a trend.
Target Audience: Apart from regular SRK fan base, the movie was also targeted towards kids and anything around kids these days has to be marketed with that special imagery or the zing factor to grab their attention. In fact if we speak of the TG, it was sort of a shift from that typical SRK imagery where instead of wooing the women audience or presenting a family melodrama, it was the first time when he has tried to entertain kids primarily. And trust me I have met three kids in last one week who actually liked the movie, loved the character of G.One and merchandises of Ra.One.
Considering the attempt at a different kind of content, need to establish a brand in form of a character and an attempt to target a completely different set of audience, I think this movie needed the marketing buzz for sure. Now, whether a budget as huge as this was needed or promotion as aggressive as this was required is something really debatable. In my views, its yet another classical case of “how much is too much” and “create the hype only if you have the potential to sustain it” with which the campaign needs to be reviewed or evaluated and not with a direct correlation or one-to-one relationship solely between marketing efforts and product performance.
P.S: Despite all the criticism, I think I do want to catch up on this movie sometime for sure and if at all my views change after watching this movie, I will update the post again.