When Nokia India Pvt Ltd invited viewers to shoot a music video for rock band Pentagram’s song Voice, it never expected the kind of response that it got.
There were close to a thousand video entries from all over India, including small cities such as Kanpur, Jamshedpur, Gwalior and Lucknow. The contest ran on Vh1, the international music and lifestyle channel from MTV Networks India Pvt Ltd, early this year.
Aired across music channels, “Nokia Vh1 Shot-By-You”, the music video is just one of the many instances where companies have used music videos to promote their brand. It reinforced the mobile handset company’s brand with its target audience, who had to log onto the Nokia India website to download the song.
Consumer products giant Hindustan Unilever Ltd, recently commissioned a sound track titled Friday Night Fever to Viacom Brand Solutions, an arm of MTV Networks that specializes in innovative marketing solutions.
The peppy dance track, composed by Pritam, ends with each of the dancing beauties morphing into a bottle of Lux Bodywash.
“Lux Bodywash is targeted towards a younger audience that patronize music channels in a big way. So, music videos are one way of engaging them,” says Ashok Venkatramani, vice president-skin care, Hindustan Unilever. This isn’t the first time HUL has used this medium. In 2005, it introduced a music video on Ponds during the Ponds Femina Miss India Contest.
Pegged at Rs10 crore, the branded music industry is likely to grow to Rs80 crore within the next three years, says Navin Shah, chief operating officer of P9 Integrated Pvt Ltd. He believes this growth is likely to be fuelled by increasing ad-avoidance, on traditional media such as television and print, and the growing fragmentation of audience.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of companies are toying with the idea of using music videos to reach their target audience. Starting with promos for the third season of Kaun Banega Crorepati, which saw the host, Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan shaking his leg in a music video titled Kar Le Tu Ek Sawal to Radio City 91.1FM’s new ad campaign titled Whatte Fun. The campaign was steered by a fun music video featuring actor Vinay Pathak as a sailor stranded on an not-so-deserted island.
Shot by director Rohan Sippy in Bangkok, the music video was played out on all major music channels.
“The music video was so popular that over 40% of our mobile user base accessed the ‘Bolo Whatte Fun!’ song on the website through their mobile phones. Considering that only GSM-enabled phones can access the Internet, it is a significant number,” says Rana Barua, national head - marketing, Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd that runs Radio City 91.1FM. Both KBC and Radio City subsequently launched music albums, featuring a compilation of songs led by the original branded track.
While a good quality music video can cost anything between Rs5 lakh and Rs25 lakh, most of the innovative marketing ventures have been in association with a music channel, where both the partners benefit from the association.
“It only makes sense for us to do something like this, if it’s a brand fit. In which case, not only can we run the music video on the channel, but also work on ancillary programming such as running a contest to involve the audience, get our VJs to talk about it, take it online, and even do a behind-the-scenes take, which is very popular with viewers, ” says Aditya Swamy, vice president - marketing, MTV Networks.
The channel worked on the music videos for HUL, Nokia India and even created branded content in the form of ring tones for Cadbury Bytes, a snack from Cadbury India Ltd.
The Nokia video too did not cost much as it was shot by the contestants. In fact, the company’s investment was tiny, in comparison to what the company would have spent on a slick 30-second commercial, says Devinder Kishore, head marketing, Nokia India. The return on investment has been phenomenal both in terms of quantity as well as quality.
Nokia India plans to continue using music as a key platform for communication.
Indeed, music videos are more cost-effective when they are compared with other advertiser-funded programming. And, they can also be exploited further.
“Unlike a static 30-second commercial, a music property can be leveraged across different formats such as ground events, merchandising and even live shows,” says Shah of P9 Integrated. Also with the company owning the intellectual property right, the music property could also be used to rake in additional income through merchandise such as music albums, and even ring tones.