Connect with us

Featured Articles

Sparkles of Profit – The Silver Screen



In-film product or brand placement is popular across product categories, and particularly in luxuries, because films offer a powerful and non-intrusive medium of communication. Renowned jewellers have now gotten into the act, and the industry has seen a handful of high-profile jeweller–producer associations. Rima Das asks the notable players what it takes to succeed with the superstars.

Jewellers know how well in-film product placement works — better, in fact, than any other medium of advertising. And now they are learning to harness the power of the movie industry.
It is common knowledge, for instance, that Tanishq’s association with Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar in 2008 is what created the mass market for heritage designs in kundan, polki and jadau jewellery. Cut to 2017, and there are several such associations, including that of PNG Jewellers with Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and Tanishq with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat.

“Films are an effective platform to bring desired change in consumers’ attitudes or overall evaluations of the brand,” writes Bimaldeep Kaur, assistant professor, Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, University of Delhi, in a recent research paper. “There is an instant recognition of the product/brand in the media vehicle and at the point of purchase. [Product placement] is able to bring out a favourable change in the audiences’ purchase behaviours. The cost is quite low as compared to the above-the-line methods of advertising or endorsement.” How do such associations come about, and how can jewellers maximise their benefits from the medium?

Making a match
Jewellers who have walked this path successfully say that they do not pay for particular channels which mediate between jewellers and Bollywood’s leading producers or production houses. The selection often happens in the opposite direction, as a film’s producers typically shortlist jewellery brands for in-film placement based on the brands’ design portfolio. Popularity and brand recall also play a role.

“Opportunities to associate with large-scale projects like Jodhaa Akbar and Padmavat came to Tanishq because of the brand’s market reputation. The production houses already had an idea of the kind of jewellery we make,” says Sandeep Kulhalli, senior vice president–marketing and retail, Jewellery Division, Titan Company Ltd.
He adds a caveat: “To get a good return on investment, you must tie up with acclaimed production houses. If the movie tanks, there’s a strong probability that people will not remember the jewellery either.”

From the jewellery brand’s perspective, however, a popular banner, enormous budget and stellar cast are not sufficient reasons to do a product-placement deal. The key point is relevance — of the film as well as the potential audience. The brand’s positioning should not conflict with the jewellery it is asked to make for the film.

“As a conscious decision,” says Kulhalli, “Tanishq takes part in movies where jewellery has an integral part in the story and has an equal role to play as the characters.”

PNG Jewellers, based in Pune, won headlines when they designed sets of bold, chunky and royal jewellery for Sooraj R Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015). The association was notable for the way in which the brand was integrated into the film’s storyline. One sequence shows the people welcoming their modern maharaja. In it, clearly seen is a grand banner, suspended from a decorated balcony, bearing the brand name of the jeweller. The scene did not look forced, and did not interrupt the storyline. As far as the tale was concerned, this was a prominent local jeweller — of the fictional place within the film, of course — performing a gesture of allegiance to the king.

Do factors other than brand image play a role in the matching of brand to film? Yes, says Ishu Datwani, owner, Anmol Jewellers. Familiarity with film industry people also helps. “I have a lot of actor friends from Bollywood for whom I have designed bridal jewellery and regular-wear jewellery,” he says. “People in the industry are aware of our work, and that’s how my association with various films happened.”

Having a brand ambassador from Bollywood is another factor that helps a jewellery brand. Among the various positives, a jeweller can make in-film placement proposals for films that star its brand ambassadors.

“For some of our winning ventures, we preferred associating with movies only when our brand ambassador Vidya Balan was a part of the venture,” says Suvankar Sen, Managing Director, Senco Gold & Diamonds, a major retail chain based in Kolkata. “Our target audience connects Vidya with our brand name. Associating with her ventures increased our acceptability to her fans.” Senco has tied up with two of Vidya Balan’s movies this year, the Srijit Mukherji–directed Begumjaan and the Suresh Triveni–directed Tumhari Sulu.
From a production house’s perspective also it is a very straightforward alliance. “As Salman is the face of the brand it was very natural for Rajshri Production to approach us. On our part, it was easy to build on the movie alliance by arranging special events to create the added buzz before the launch,” says Saurabh Gadgil, Chairman and Managing Director, PNG Jewellers. ‘It gave us a head start right before the wedding season as the movie was releasing pre-diwali,’ he emphasizes.

Sen stressed the importance of filtering out all but the best in-film opportunities, and participating only in meaningful deals. “We keep getting approached for movies, but the worst thing I could possibly do for my brand is a forced liaison. That kind of association actually does more harm than good to a brand image. In films like Belaseshe, where the storyline is beautifully woven around jewellery-gifting that rekindles familial bonds, our brand was highlighted in just the right light.” Belaseshe is a Bengali-language family drama released in 2015.

Vinay Gupta, owner, Shri Hari Diagems, Delhi, designed jewellery for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani (2015). “We are widely known for creating jewellery that is a modern adaptation of traditional forms,” he said. “Bajirao Mastani was the right platform to showcase our karigari. The movie strengthened our brand positioning.”

The role of design
Now to the jewellery that actually is used in a film project with which a jeweller is associated. Each character in the film has a look-book, the cumulative result of a process involving several professionals including the director, stylist and apparel designer. Naturally, a participating jeweller will also experience several rounds of discussion before a piece of jewellery is finalised for a sequence. Arriving at the final design can be tedious.

“If a project involves people like Ashutosh Gowarikar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali,” says Kulhalli, “you have to be prepared for a lot of reworking. Given how particular they are about their work, these directors themselves get involved in design selection. The collection that you see for Padmavat took two years to design, so you can well imagine the kind of involvement and dedication it required to come up with such a vivid range.”

It is not always this long-drawn-out. “Often it so happens that the brief we get from the production team, we have stock of similar inventory,” says Sen of Senco Gold & Diamonds. “If that happens, we propose the use of ready inventory for the movie. The director and stylists take a keen look at the ready designs and then give their go-ahead. For other sequences, we start the design process from scratch.”

Broadly, two kinds of film require serious jewellery, in Bollywood. One is the period film, which is likely to use jewellery extensively in every shot. The other kind of film is set in a contemporary environment, requiring jewellery for sequences featuring a wedding or social occasion. Naturally, the scale of investment in each case differs.
For period films where the jewellery is central, not incidental, the manufactured pieces are given to the production house for the duration of the shoot. Often, multiple copies of each piece are made so as to avoid delays due to loss or theft.

In films like Rockstar (2011), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Wazir (both 2016), heavy jewellery was used, but only for certain sequences. The jewellery was real, and it was heavily guarded on the sets. Every project, in other words, is different and particular.

Maximum returns
When entering into these brand-building associations with film projects, jewellers must negotiate every possible visibility. Unfortunately, very few movie plots can accommodate brand appearances for the jewellery in an organic way. Once in a while, however, a film does come along that has a plot where the jewellery attains the importance almost of a character. Then the jeweller can innovate ways to promote the association intensively.

Consider the case of TBZ–The Original. The brand joined hands with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment for Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017). The plot centred on a lost diamond ring. And this ring was designed by TBZ–The Original.

To build on this association, TBZ organised a contest called #SeekTheRing in the run-up to the release of Jab Harry Met Sejal. Customers who visited a TBZ store and identified the exact ring design used in the movie were eligible for a lucky draw. Winners got the chance to meet the stars of the movie: Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma.

This smart approach allowed TBZ–The Original to begin its visibility exercise early, to benefit from the pre-release buzz of this potential blockbuster. With a star vehicle like this film, the buzz can be tremendous. Joining in the pre-release promotions opened up immense opportunities for the jeweller.

Apart from such plug-ins, and mention in the credits at the end of the film, a variety of innovative publicity opportunities are open to retailers. However, the retailer must ensure that he has ‘the right to promote branded creatives online and offline’.

Tanishq, for instance, generated a tide of social media buzz by releasing well-made videos that gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Padmavat jewellery.“The presence of our jewellery in the movies [with which we associate] is so strong,” says Kulhalli, “that our collections become immensely popular.” Tanishq launched its Padmavat collection and supported it with large-scale BTL (below-the-line) activities for one-to-one outreach to potential customers, just before the auspicious shopping occasions of Dhanteras, Navratri and Diwali.

Datwani of Anmol Jewellers told the Retail Jeweller about his brand’s journey into film association. One of Anmol’s first such projects was for the lavishly promoted Rockstar. Datwani’s company designed an exclusive Kashmiri wedding set for the female lead, Nargis Fakhri. Beyond this, the jeweller says, “We really did not do much in terms of promoting the association.”

That has changed since. Anmol Jewellers’ most recent association was with the big-banner Dharma Productions for the multi-starrer Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The brand spared no effort to get its designs noticed, and to turn the association into a mega-promotional opportunity. Jewellery was specially designed for two distinct looks of the female lead, Anushka Sharma: a heavy, wedding look, and a sangeet look.

The stellar cast of Aishwarya Rai, Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor, among others, and Dharma Productions’ high-intensity publicity already had made Ae Dil Hai Mushkil a talking point on the media circuit. This encouraged Anmol Jewellers to launch an extensive social media campaign of its own. A video of Anushka Sharma was being shared widely, a short clip in which she talked about her wedding look in the film and how much she loved it. In tandem, the brand used all its social media platforms to publicise the fact that the jewellery that Anushka loved was designed by Anmol.

To maximise returns on its investment, a jeweller can either pay the film production house an association fee or strike a deal in which the jeweller itself promotes its brand association with the film, while promoting the film as well.

Senco chose the second kind of deal for its Bollywood ventures, Begumjaan and Tumhari Sulu. The jeweller’s movie-linked collections were unveiled and launched by Vidya Balan, the star of both movies. She is also Senco’s brand ambassador. The vivid Begumjaan collection and the chunky everyday-wear line, Tumhare Diamonds, got ample attention from the media. This publicity contributed to the film’s own pre-release buzz.

Movie merchandising can guarantee a brand wider reach and recall within its desired target group of consumers. Other kinds of returns from jeweller–film associations, however, are not easily quantifiable, and they tend to accrue over the longer term.

After the launch
“It was the first time we had gotten into movie merchandising and to be honest we were really apprehensive,” confesses Gupta of Shri Hari Diagems. “But Bajirao Mastani was a grand success and our designs became a rage overnight. It actually gave us a reach wider than we had imagined. Long after the release we were getting calls from customers for those designs. Deepika Padukone wearing our designs actually inspired many brides-to-be to look for similar jewellery. More than two years have passed and I still see print articles and digital coverage of Bajirao Mastani jewellery. It makes me proud.”

“For Piku [2015] we designed very minimalistic pieces, but what settled in the audience’s mind was the pretty chaandbali,” says Sen. “The trend of chandbaali was reinvigorated by Piku, and in the subsequent wedding season we sold around 100 pieces.”

In India, films can and do set off trends in fashion and lifestyle. Bollywood’s reach is truly enormous; unquestionably greater than that of any jewellery brand. And jewellery, for its part, is one of the most emotive and aspirational consumer categories for Indians. Tying up with a production house can keep a jewellery brand in the news and talked-about, for all the right reasons.
In-film placement for their pieces allows some of the most creative and responsive jewellers to achieve the kind of recognition that transcends geographies. At the same time, well-chosen jewellery bestows on a film a powerful, added dose of attraction, a sense of permanence. The jewellery brand earns precious mindspace among many potential customers with one glamorous dose.

Rahul Krishna Ahuja, Founder, Counted One, who has helped many brands with in-film placements, says, “For a jeweller who wants to step into movie merchandising, the best bet is to join hands with specialized agencies which have prior experience in the subject.” Most of the times when brands directly get in touch with production houses the deals cost more. ‘With mediators like us, we are able to bring down the cost considerably.’ The agency recently cracked a deal for a child care product firm for the film Ribbon starring Kalki Koechlin and Sumit Vyas. The brand bagged the deal for Rs. 5 lakh. ‘Had it directly approached Eros, the production house of the film, it would have increased the cost by 8-10 times,” says Ahuja.

“To form such liaisons”, he adds, “We charge 15-20% of the total deal value”. He reasons, ‘Bigger brands have their own marketing teams evaluate a deal in terms of celebrity value, endorsement value etc. But those jewellers who do not have the bandwidth will benefit more if they join hands with agencies such as ours. We can help them identify deals which will are commercially viable and will benefit the brand.”

While talking about how to get into the world of movie merchandising, he says, ‘The jewellers can initially collaborate with small budget movies and regional movies. One can also look at web series which are a rage among millennials.’ Take for example, the web series called Permanent Roommates on TVF. CommonFloor.com, a real-estate portal has partnered with which is endorsed by Common Floor. ‘The best part of the association is that the brand is well-integrated into the movie plot.’ Five years down the line, Ahuja predicts, storyline of films will be written keeping probable brand endorsements in mind.

Commenting on movie merchandising associations in 2018, Ahuja says, “2018 will offer lucrative in-film placement opportunities in some exciting new movies including Happy Bhag Jayegi, Chanda Mama Door Ke, Pari, Veere Di wedding, Hichki and Sanjay Dutt’s biopic.

Continue Reading

Latest News