Animation films join the co-branding rush
Priyanka Joshi / Mumbai August 16, 2010, 0:21 IST

In-product placements and co-branding in films or television serials have just entered a new pitch, with animation films joining the game.

Balla Bowl, an animation film on Cartoon Network with cricket as it main theme, will have Center Fruit, Perfetti’s flagship candy brand, sponsoring a championship trophy – the main theme of the 90-minute long animation film. The match, co-produced by Turner International and Animasia, begins on August 29.

“We knew the film presented us the scope to integrate a brand and Perfetti seemed eager to partner with us,” says Rohit Sarma, executive director (Network Ad Sales), Turner International India.

It was not the studio executives at Turner who clinched the deal with Perfetti. The writers and producers felt the need to involve a brand that could make a cricket match championship look real.

While Perfetti gets to show the Center Fruit brand as in-stadia advertisement, the players’ uniforms in Balla Bowl will also sport the logo. Sarma, however, did not disclose the brand integration costs but claims that a quarter of Cartoon Network’s revenue now comes from product placements. This includes live action shows and now animated content too.”

The move makes ample sense. According to a research paper presented at an IIM-Ahmedabad conference on Marketing Paradigms for Emerging Economies, 85 per cent of consumers understood product placement as a way to generate revenue for the film maker and don’t mind it.

Bollywood has been doing this for ages, but the association is getting more innovative. Most recently, PVR Films joined hands with brands like L’Oreal, Portico and Christian Dior to integrate the products with the script. This helped the producers keep the film’s publicity budgets on a tight leash. While films like Kites and 3 Idiots reportedly spent Rs 15-20 crore on publicity alone, Aisha spent just Rs 7 crore.

Brand partners like L’Oreal, which chose to associate with the film while still in pre-production stage, invested around Rs 1.5 crore and later co-promoted its Aisha line of products through TVCs and print media. “Brand partners like Bru Coffee, Christian Dior, Videocon, Zee TV, Bookmyshow, Fortis, Prestige group among others did their own co-branded publicity and below the line promotions for Aisha that eventually created a huge buzz among the audiences,” says Kamal Gianchandani, president, PVR Films.

Co-branded promotions too have helped PVR cut its marketing costs. The film producers tied up for content integration with Star TV for its shows like Chote Ustaad that gave Aisha TV promotions worth Rs 1.2 crore before its theatrical release.

In-film-branding is mainly introduced to supplement publicity budgets and has emerged as a main source of revenue for film producers, covering around 15-20 per cent of film marketing budgets.

Maneesh Mathur, joint MD of EMC Solutions Worldwide that facilitates branded entertainment in films, says a film is now treated as a brand and this in turn is leveraged by advertisers to bundle their products to audiences.

Mathur, who is handling the film marketing of upcoming film Anjaana Anjaani starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, says that co-branded promotion and in-film placements are getting a strong resonance from big advertisers.