Why brands are making a beeline for ‘Rock On 2’

‘Rock On 2’ pulls in Rs 8-10 crore from brand partners in terms of association fees and media spend commitments, according to advertising industry estimates


Farhan Akhtar (right) and Shraddha Kapoor in a still from ‘Rock On 2’.
Farhan Akhtar (right) and Shraddha Kapoor in a still from ‘Rock On 2’.

Mumbai: With less than two weeks to release, Farhan Akhtar-starrer musical drama Rock On 2 has signed up 10 brand associations. A sequel to the popular 2008 film, Rock On!!, along with Akhtar, it also features Shraddha Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Prachi Desai and Shashank Arora and revolves around the evolution of rock band Magik which comes together again.

The film is shot largely in Shillong, considered to be the rock capital of India and has signed up big brands such as Hexa from Tata Motors, Amul, Boat speakers, Regal shoes, Amway’s Nutrilite brand of vitamins and dietary supplements, Vodafone, Spunk apparel, Croma, Hike messenger and Zippo, a brand of lighters, among others.

According to advertising industry estimates, the film has already pulled in approximately Rs 8-10 crore from brand partners in terms of association fees and media spend commitments. People familiar with the deals said that for each in-film placement, brands such as Tata Hexa, Boat speakers, Amul, Regal shoe and Nutrilite are paying between Rs20 lakh and Rs35 lakh, with a commitment that they will spend approximately Rs1-2 crore on media to advertise the association.

Other brands such as Vodafone, Zippo and Hike messenger, among others have come on board as out-of-film partners. Vodafone, for instance, is the main sponsor for three of the live Rock On 2 concerts.

The concerts, which are an innovative way to promote the film, feature actor Akhtar and Kapoor performing live, with other musicians.

Vodafone is using the association to promote its recently launched segmented youth proposition —Vodafone U. “For the Indian youth, we find music to be a key passion point. With this context in mind, we are delighted to partner with Rock On 2, a movie which pays tribute to music and has a strong pull for the youth. The way in which Vodafone is building this partnership differently is by co-creating three ‘Rock On With U’ concerts in Bengaluru, Pune and Delhi and using the scale of our Vodafone U youth base and their friends to come join in for unique, money-can’t-buy-experiences which keep the ‘Fun Always On,’” said Siddharth Banerjee, national head of brand at Vodafone India.

The filmmakers are also depending heavily on digital innovations, one of which uses augmented reality to have live-sized guitars popping up across the mall, to cut across the clutter and reach out to their core audiences.

For a film of this size, it has managed to pull in a fair amount of brand support, according to Navin Shah, joint managing director of EMC Solutions Worldwide Pvt. Ltd, a branded entertainment solutions firm, explaining that the film’s timing around the festive season and the success of its original franchise Rock On, make it a good choice for some brands.

Tata Motors, for instance, struck the in-film placement deal with Rock On 2 a year ago. The film will amplify the recent launch of its car Hexa. “Rock On is a successful and iconic franchise which portrays the power of music and also how it connects with people across generations and geographies by breaking all barriers. The movie finds relevance with audiences of all age groups. Given its versatility, the Tata Hexa will connect with diverse audiences who have an active and dynamic lifestyle. Also, considering that we have spent 1000+ hours of engineering to refine the in-cabin acoustics of the Hexa with Harman™, our infotainment partners, exemplifies the fact that we are passionate about music, much like Rock On 2,” said Vivek Srivatsa, head of marketing at the passenger vehicle business.

Such brand tie-ups are increasingly common. Advertising industry estimates peg the branding co-promotions market in India at Rs200 crore a year. Indian films typically account for 75% of that amount, while Hollywood films account for 25%. While a majority of the co-promotion deals in India are purely in the form of media barters where the brands associating with the movie spend on buying media time or space in exchange for using icons, clips and images from the film in their brand promotions, most of the associations with this movie, are paid for, with an obligation to spend a certain amount of money on buying media.

While the film is undoubtedly aimed at the youth, the production house Excel Entertainment is tweaking its marketing plan to appeal to a much wider audience. “We’ve got our target audience, the youth, covered with promotions in the form of live concerts and digital innovations. But we’re also reaching out to a wider set of audiences by getting onto reality TV shows such as Big Boss, among others (to promote the film),” said Vishal Ramchandani, head of marketing, Excel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

Experts say that the film has a lot going for it. “Rock On 2 comes back after eight years which is a long break for a sequel as compared to other franchises these days. This increases the curiosity and excitement for the film. Along with big actors of the original Rock On !!band, the addition of Shraddha Kapoor brings freshness to the film,” said Aastha Jain, senior business director, ESP properties, a GroupM company.

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