The total co-branded marketing media spends for Hindi films have reached approximately Rs 100 crore a year, according to a report by Group M’s ESP Properties.

In the past 10 years, film-brand associations have steadily increased with the only dip coming in 2008 when the entire economy was hit by recession and there was a dip of around 2 per cent in co-branded marketing associations, as per the report titled Showbiz.

The report, prepared by ESP Properties, the sports and entertainment programming arm of media agency GroupM, stated that the year 2017 has seen a similar dip, perhaps due to various economic reforms in India and digital content increasing its share.

Hindi film’s most successful digital teams use analytic tools such as ‘Vidooly’ (for video intelligence), Lexalytics (for sentiment scores) and Buzz Engine for film promotions.

“Between 2014 to 2016, we saw a steep increase in associations in sync with the rise in number of films. In-film and co-branded marketing associations nearly doubled. In 2017, though, we saw it coming downwards. Like many high-value businesses, the co-marketing sphere too was impacted with the demonetisation that hit India in November 2016. The last quarter of the year was marked by a sudden decrease in advertising media spends and hence co-branded marketing associations dipped as well,” it said.

Source: ESP Properties

The report observed that over the years, more brands tied up with films through co-branded marketing associations than in-film associations. The former route allowed brands to replace their existing communication with a fresh one, directing the planned media spends towards the tie-up.

It pointed out that of all films released in India across languages, approximately a fifth of them are being used by brands for co-marketing.

The report noted that many youth-centric brands preferred Hollywood movies to connect to their target audience despite foreign films not giving them in-film integration options.

Almost 30 per cent of the total Hollywood releases in 2017 had brand associations, while Hindi films saw a decline in the number of brand associations from 2016 as the number of releases also declined drastically, it said.

Regional cinema too has seen a rise in brand association and in 2017, over 15 per cent of the films released in South India had brands associated with them, while Marathi films have seen a phenomenal growth in last three years and in 2017, almost 16 per cent films had brand associations.

FMCG, apparel and e-commerce are categories that are most active in in-film integrations and co-branded associations. Among these three, FMCG tops the brand integration charts.

“From 2015 to 2017, there was at least one co-branded campaign for FMCG every month. There have been around 13 brands active in this category across genres and films,” it said.

The report noted that brand categories or sectors that are warming up to film tie-ups go way beyond fashion and electronics. / PTI DS NSK

The phenomena of Co-branding has also come in handy as a win-win for small indie films as well as films with interesting subjects as it has proven to be an effective marketing tools for startups and up and coming brands too.

Take for example Toilet-Ek Prem Katha which had over 10 in-film and co-branded partners to promote the brand and films with bytes from the lead pair for most of them.

Startup founders are taking this up as a medium to use celebrities as their influencers to market relevant products.

Pee Safe a toilet hygiene brand that was a co-branded partner of the film. The Co-founder of the company behind the brand Vikas Bagaria confirms and says ‘the idea of hygiene was central to the film and it is in line with our brands products and it makes complete sense to get Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar to speak about our brand through their film, we would keep doing this with other films to keep the momentum going for Pee Safe that the film has built for us’.

Another Startup Mamaearth that partnered with an Indie film Ribbon which will be closing at 14th SAIFF starring Kalki Koechlin and saw Sumeet Vyas’s big screen debut as a lead. The plot of new age parents finding the idea of parenthood confusing and tiring saw an immediate brand connect with Varun Alagh, Co-Founder of the startup that has created Mamaearth and signed on to become a partner with the film.

For Varun, ‘Mamaearth’s mission is to make life of expecting parents and new parents as easy as it gets with the range of madesafe certified products. The brand takes pride in distressing parenthood and the film touches all the subjects we want to address with our products and thus it was a perfect partnership. We even did a similar project with Shitty Ideas Trending to address the same points and get as much attention as possible for the brand through both mediums. It’s not always that films with a subject relevant to us come through, but when they do, we’ll always want in.

It’s easy to say that co-branding in films has opened up a whole new area that big or small brands can exploit and explore.

Key learnings from the executive summary includes:

Brand Alliances:

·        Total co-marketing spends for Hindi films have reached approximately 100 crore around a year, with more co-branding than in-film

·        FMCG, Apparel and E-commerce are the types of categories that are most active in in-film integrations and co-branded associations.

Film Marketing:

·        Placement in terms of healthy media-mix accounts for 10-15% of the film’s marketing budget.

·        A well-defined promotion plan must be put into place for personifying the cast and then promoting the film.

·        Strategic PR and managing millions of media outlets is the backbone of a film’s success.

 Media Effectiveness:

·        On TV and digital, the song and dialog promotion dispersion is seen at 70:30. Assets related to music still form integral part of film promotion with 24×7 music channels assuming importance as vehicles of publicity.

·        The film’s promotion budget is higher on television (45-50%) and lower on print (10-15%). Digital is getting added (10-15%) and activation is steady (25-30%).


·        Brand chooses endorsers and influencers for multiple reasons- launch, sustenance and revival.

·        In a celebrity endorsement, the celebrity is the face of  a brand message. In influencer marketing, the influencer is perceived to be ‘creator’ of the entire message.

·        Woman power made it to the top 3 of brand endorser list for the first time in 2017.

·        Shah Rukh Khan and MS Dhoni have consistently been among top endorsers in the past.

Licensing the content:

·        Industry sources predict India’s licensing growth at 7.4% which is higher than the growth in USA, Canada and UK combined.

·        The top 150 global licensors reported total retail sales of INR 1,751,200 Cr worldwide in 2017. India’s share in the global licensing chart is 5-7%.

·        Start-up licensing agencies now eyeing the big millions with popularity of TV series such as Game Of Thrones, Indian characters such as Chhota Bheem and Japanese anime such as Doremon.

Digital Marketing & Strategy:

·        The total number of YouTube channels in India at the end of 2016 was 13,99,000+ the views clocking in a neat 22375 crore with subscribers at 4118.5 lakhs.

·        In a decade of 2007-2017 digital media strategy played a lead role in the industry making a departure from a ‘single-event’ launch or press interaction to an entire campaign spanning weeks or months.

·        Hindi film’s most successful digital teams use analytic tools such as ‘Vidooly’ (for video intelligence), Lexalytics (for sentiment scores) and Buzz Engine for film promotions.

·        The capabilities of command centres and content analytics will increase exponentially and thus content will be able to meet larger audiences.