Bollywood film promotions in the Covid times: Innovation is the key, feel experts
The entertainment industry is slowly trying to recover from the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis and two films, Sooryavanshi and ’83, have already announced their theatrical release dates. But with social distancing and restrictions still in place, what happens to the grand promotional activities that involve huge crowds at malls and colleges, which form a very crucial aspect of a film’s release?
“Marketing will change majorly and we’ll no longer see those big events and press meets. The last few films that I worked on — Street Dancer 3D, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and Pati Patni Aur Woh (2019) — we had a lot of on-ground activities. Now nothing of that sort will be possible. I am now working on Laxmmi Bomb which is releasing digitally,” says Varun Gupta, founder director of MAX Marketing, adding strategies for theatrical films and OTT films will also differ.+ +
Siddharth Kadam, head of marketing at Dharma Productions, feels it is now a game of waiting and watching how things pan out in the next few months. “A couple of projects have been announced for Diwali and Christmas, we don’t know what happens next as the number of cases are going up. But yes, large-scale promotional activities are no longer possible. Health and safety are priorities,” he says.
While physical multi-city promotional tours seem a distant dream as of now, digital seems to be the way forward. “I won’t be surprised if we have a virtual meet-and-greet, that will be interesting. We will have to be very particular and won’t be able to go all out. The studio partners and marketers will have to sit down and figure out smart and innovative means of promotion,” says Jay Gotecha, who looks after marketing at Emmay Entertainment.
Another important aspect that film promotions will have to focus on is messaging, which will involve making the announcement that the film industry is back with a bang, to get audiences back to the theatres.
“If I am working on my trailer, of course we will speak about the film but we will also have to tell people that ‘Entertainment is back and come join us’. That is something all of us have missed and it is important to weave that into our communication,” Gotecha adds.+ +
Another key aspect would be activities linked to the film, feels Gupta. While he admits that the movement of actors will get severely restricted, there will definitely be activities around a film which will help to promote it in different cities. “We will do a lot of things for Coolie No 1. While I might not take Varun Dhawan to Nagpur, for example, but I will still do something in the city which will move each and every person enough to go and watch the film in theatres,” he says, adding that it will be challenging yet exciting.