Siddhartha Mukherjee: Bollywood should use ‘kaabil’ PR machinery

02 Feb,2017

By Siddhartha Mukherjee


The recent faux pas at Vadodara Railway Station pertaining to a King Khan movie promotion stunt suggested, yet again that Bollywood should move out of the clutches of unprofessional, archaic, spin doctor PR Firms. It is time they start involving established and ‘kaabil’PR Consultancies and Event Management firms.  With Bollywood movie financing getting gradually corporatised, it is time that its marketing and related support systems also follow compliances andstructures.


From a per brand investment point of view, the marketing spends of each Bollywood movie property is same, if not more, as what we see within FMCG or other high spending categories. So, why can’t the custodians of Bollywood move out of the dark habits of spin doctor agencies and partner with established consultancies and event managers who handle far more complicated subjects within the corporate world?


By doing so, Bollywood will get a healthy exposure to the fact that the stakes involved in Earned or Free Media (public relations)is far, far higher than that involved with the Paid side.Also, if managed well, ROIs will be in multiples.


While the corporate sector has come a long way in understanding the specialised need of domain experts and executioners, unfortunately, our Bollywood industry still continues to follow archaic, unprofessional spin doctor techniques to ideate and execute brand building through PR. Sad that the SOPs followed by the Bollywood PR industry is still negatively impacting the overall imagery of the public relations profession in India.


Here are some simple thoughts Bollywood can consider:

  • Realisethat Brand Building is a specialisedmix of Art & ScienceBollywood movie brands, like any other corporate brand, will need the same seriousness, intellect and planning skills. Very high domain understanding is needed to understand the impact of the brand across the stakeholders. Psychology, Sociology, Economics and Marketing Study will only help in proactively identifying gaps and opportunities. Tacky news spins and stunts to get Page 3 or Supplement media attention is only pushing Bollywood PR back to the yellow days of yester years. 
  • Movies too needs Stakeholder ManagementIn today’s age, movie viewers is not the only core target audience that needs to be studied and managed. Government, Social Experts, Academia, Distributors, Government offices, Media and many other such corridors need parallel and equal attention. 
  • Execution of Launch & Sustenance Plan needs Meticulous PlanningIdeation of plan is one critical start. However, execution of that is equally touchy and carries huge potential to attract crisis. Depending on unprofessional and myopic spin doctor agencies ensures the crisis to be high! 
  • Bollywood can consider talking to PRCAI or Individual PR Consultancies for guidanceIn almost every Bollywood movie showcase, in the casting section, you will notice that the production banner has hired some of the top, most expensive paid media agencies to work on the movie’spaid media launch initiatives. However, when it comes to the PR or Event Management agency partner, you will, in all probability, need to Google its whereabouts. To avoid this permanently, the movie producers or the guild/s should, at least for once, try to get an orientation from the PR Industry. PRCAI, even better option. It will be a win-win for both.


For the organised Indian PR industry, Bollywood is a huge opportunity. The organised Indian advertising  industry has already captured the pie of the Bollywood’s overall marketing spends.


The recent movie promotion faux pas should act as a wakeup call to reach out to Bollywood and not only look at it as a business opportunity but also to save Bollywood from future crises.


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