In Film Branding

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In Film Branding. Imagine advertisements with their overt tags and symbols of Brand value and you can get a clue of what overt forms of media advertising looks like; mostly in-your-face types. Comparatively, In Film Branding possesses a subtlety of an unconscious variety; an unconscious evocation of Brand value. For example, a character in a film drinks Nescafe’s coffee in the morning as he read the newspaper which horrifies him. Or a particular example, of Hrithik Roshan earnestly asking Preity Zinta’s family to have Bournvita every day in the movie ‘Koi Mil Gaya’.(Too obvious though!). A film ‘Ra One’ by Shah Rukh Khan had around 25 product placements in its many scenes.

But the examples of today’s In Film Branding are not new. In the days, when black & white cinema existed, In Film Branding came into practice in the Hollywood industry. The trend was set by Buster Keaton’s short film (although inadvertently, if we go by a news article criticizing this, which may be unintentionally placed.) Later, we find the rise of film studios and their domination of the cinema business which was once a refuge of individualist film directors. Earlier, cinematic considerations didn’t factor Branding into account but with money poured in huge quantities by corporate interests, it became a new form of advertising tool, albeit to call it a tool would be missing the point. It is less of the film as an advertising tool and more about a mnemonic reminder. Filmic scenes, if they promote a brand, will become advertising caricatures like those posters stuck in walls, something which has to be avoided from a creative perspective. In Film Branding functions more as a subconscious Brand recall value rather than pure advertising which introduces a product.  Unlike in the past when Brands would associate with films in the last moment, today the In Film Branding happens during the scripting stage itself. In Film Branding now forms part of corporate budgets these days and the trend keeps growing every year. Amir Khan’s PK had around 15-20 Brand placements.

Meanwhile, in the US, Brands are taking matters into their own hands. Brands have now started making films. For example, we have JetBlue’s short Brand film HumanKinda. Then, we also have Marriot Hotel’s own studio M Live who have recently released a hit short film The Two Bellmen, a successful TV show The Navigator Live and they have also made VR videos for Oculus Rift. This is a new shift in content production. Instead of slipping in advertisements, Brands are consulting production houses to make content around their Brand.

The future holds exciting possibilities in this direction.

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