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Brands like Parle Products and Tata Tea Gold tied up with OTT releases like Vidya Balan-starrer 'Shakuntala Devi: Human Computer' for wider outreach. (MINT_PRINT)
Brands like Parle Products and Tata Tea Gold tied up with OTT releases like Vidya Balan-starrer 'Shakuntala Devi: Human Computer' for wider outreach. (MINT_PRINT)

Brands latch on to Bollywood’s direct-to-digital releases

  • BRands have tied up with films like Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, the upcoming Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Shakuntala Devi: Human Computer and Gulabo Sitabo recently
  • The films were meant for theatrical release but are going digital because of unforeseen circumstances

NEW DELHI: Bollywood’s new trend of taking films directly to digital platforms amid the covid-19 pandemic is gaining some mainstream popularity with brands latching on for partnerships and associations.

Online cosmetics and beauty products retailer Nykaa has come on board for two Netflix films, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl and the upcoming Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare starring Bhumi Pednekar and Konkona Sen Sharma. Meanwhile, biographical drama Shakuntala Devi: Human Computer on Amazon Prime Video had tied up with biscuit and confectionery manufacturer Parle Products and Tata Tea Gold. Bollywood’s first high-profile direct-to-digital release, Gulabo Sitabo, on Amazon Prime had partnered with Godrej Security Solutions (GSS) in June.

While brands like Godrej Security Solutions had mostly kept it simple, companies are now stepping the game up. Nykaa has launched a campaign called ‘Beauty In Her Story’ to bring out stories of strong women as part of which it shot a behind-the-scenes short video with Gunjan Saxena lead Janhvi Kapoor besides launching an Instagram filter that allowed users to create content featuring them in various inspiring uniforms across professions.

Parle Products had brought out a co-branded video to be promoted on digital platforms. Featuring Balan, the video linked the brilliance of Shakuntala Devi, a mathematics genius, with Parle-G to emphasize how Parle-G has nurtured "Genius minds" for ages. Meanwhile, Tata Tea Gold had also featured Balan in a video to drive home the message of "Dil Ki Suno" given that the protagonist always followed her heart.

To be sure, brands have seen value in these films that were meant for theatrical release but are going digital because of unforeseen circumstances.

“There are new films getting released after a long time. Given that movie theatres have been shut for so long and people have been deprived of fresh content, viewership for them is likely to be high," Mayank Shah, senior category head, Parle Products said adding that the company is very selective about its associations but this (with Shakuntala Devi) seemed like a great fit.

Brands have been slow to take on the OTT medium because the content is differentiated, personal and not what you may want to watch with the family, Shah admitted.

“But the pandemic is not going to subside anytime soon and there is still some time before things go back to normal. Especially in big cities, people continue to work from home and have more time on hand so the consumption of media is likely to be high," Shah said adding that OTT will continue to be an important part of Parle’s advertising strategy.

At 75 lakh-1 crore, sponsorship fee for direct-to-digital movie associations are currently lower than what television and feature films would command under ordinary circumstances.

Kishankumar Shyamalan, vice-president at media agency Wavemaker India said OTT and e-commerce are two emerging trends and it is not surprising that they are coming together in such ways.

“A lot of clients are consciously looking at new platforms like OTT especially given that the services are exploring regional languages like Telugu or Bengali which the brands also want to leverage," Shyamalan said. As of now, premium and lifestyle brands are more geared towards OTT associations given that the films going to digital are also more middle-of-the-road and not typical blockbusters. However, Shyamalan doesn’t rule out more mass brands joining the bandwagon, depending on the film and the platform in question.

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