Product Placement in Hindi Movies

Topics: Bollywood, Cinema of India, Om Shanti Om Pages: 12 (3610 words) Published: August 5, 2012
Product Placement in Bollywood Movies
Subhadip Roy
Asst. Professor, ICFAI Institute for Management Teachers, Hyderabad., Research Scholar ICFAI Institute for Management Teachers, Hyderabad.

Saurabh Bhattacharya

The term ‘Product Placement’ refers to the practice of including a brand name product, package, signage or other trademark merchandise within a motion picture, television show or music video (Steortz, 1987). One of the earliest instances of product placement in Bollywood or Hindi movies took place in the early 1970’s when the Rajdoot motorcycle brand was featured in the Raj Kapoor movie called Bobby. Since then till the time when the Maruti Suzuki Swift car was placed in the movie Bunty aur Babli (2005), Bollywood had not experienced a big amount of product placements in movies. However, of late the films are experiencing product placements and also indirect advertising of a product or service in a movie (such as a Air Hostess Training academy in the Movie Welcome). In such a scenario, the present study tries to analyze the level and types of product placements in Bollywood movies. From a sample of the top box office grosser, the study has used content analysis to identify the products/brands placed and the way they have been placed in the movie/s. The study is supposed to bring out the forms of product placement in Bollywood and encourage further research.

Products have become all the more important in the Hindi movie industry popularly known as Bollywood. Placement of products in movies was until recently a Hollywood concept only. Increasingly, the Indian film industry is using this tool for communicating and to earn revenue. Two specific reasons are attributable to such a change. Firstly, with increase in production cost and launch of big budget movies, such secondary sources of revenue act as a cushion to the financers as well as producers of a movie. Secondly, with the growing size of the young urban middle class in the Indian economy it becomes all the more important to satisfy the trends that this class follows. From the brand managers’ point of view using product placements as a tool in movies provides his product and or brand with a higher reach and penetration level. It is true for India that many villages don’t have electricity but they have cinema halls running on generator sets. Triandis (1995) opined that Indians have a collectivist culture. But Indians score high on Power distance also (Hofstede, 2001). Hence hierarchy and status are also important to Indians (Hofstede, 2001). Thus celebrities and cricket stars and movie


Institute of Public Enterprise

Product Placement in Bollywood Movies actors are looked up as successful people. This makes the use of product placement through celebrities as an ideal way to push them for use. From the perspective of a sponsor neither advertisement nor publicity provides the appropriate blend as the sponsor has control over the message and its content only but the audience decides its credibility. Hence according to Balasubramanian (1994) a different form of marketing communication tool is required. Product placement is a tool which can effectively combine both advertisement and publicity components. Again since placements are paid for they are sponsor controlled messages both in their format and content. movie actors (Schudson, 1984). Until the late 1970s product placement was not a paid for tool. Product sponsors used to loan the products to the filmmakers free of cost. Since early 1980s there was a significant change as this tool became paid for (Krasnoff 1986, Fleming 1990). Balasubramanian (1994) considered the success of product placement in a movie to be dependent on the relationship between a filmmaker, a specialized firm and a product sponsor. The filmmaker controls opportunities for product appearances in his movie while the sponsor seeks such value creating...
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