Piku – Another addition to Bollywood ‘brand-wagon’

Amitabh Bachchan, Pikua-padukone/' title='Deepika Padukone' class='article_display_tag' data-id='deepika-padukone' id='article_tag_data_deepika-padukone' style='display: inline-block;'>Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan starrer ‘Piku’ has become Bollywood’s latest ‘brand-wagon’. In the movie, Bachchan’s character is shown as an irritable person who can think of nothing but his tummy and motion problems. The film comes with a tagline ‘motion se hi emotion’, and taking advantage of this slogan, a popular laxative brand has tied up with the film’s producers for brand placement.

Sheth Brothers’ brand ‘Kayam Churn’ entered into a pact with the film’s producers for promoting their product after watching a trailer of the movie. Interestingly, Bachchan had earlier also endorsed a multiplicity of brands – Ford Ikon, ICICI bank and Tata Tea in B R Chopra’s ‘Baghban’.  Another Bachchan starrer film ‘Viruddh’ also promoted Asian Paints and Calcium Sandoz tablets.

Even before the film’s release, ‘Piku’ joined hands with Broke Bond’s ‘Red Label Tea’ and Priyagold’s chocolate wafer ‘Snakker. ‘Piku’, with its characters did two commercials for each of the product to promote itself as well as the brand.

This trend of brand association with Bollywood movies can be traced back to the 1967 movie, ‘An Evening in Paris’ where actress Sharmila Tagore was seen sipping from a bottle of Coke, ensuring the logo was visible. Madhuri Dixit appeared in an entire sequence inside the famous Benzer stores of Bombay in the 1992 movie, ‘Prem Diwane’, and several characters unrelated to the movie were also shown flaunting Benzer bags. A variety of brands ranging from automobiles, pharmaceuticals, apparel to food and drinks, have piggybacked on Bollywood for their promotion.  

Speaking of automobiles, the Rajdoot motorbike from Enfield Motors was launched in the Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia starrer ‘Bobby’ in 1973. A similar strategy was applied by Maruti Suzuki which launched its ‘Swift’ model in the Abhishek Bachchan starrer ‘Bunty Aur Bubbli’. Actor John Abraham too promoted Suzuki in a scene in ‘Dhoom’. ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ kept on display a Karizma bike as the prize in a basket ball match, while Tussar Kapoor in ‘Gayaab’ used Kinetic Honda’s Laser model.

Over three decades later, Coke again promoted itself through Subhas Ghai’s ‘Taal’ and also in ‘Yaadein’. In ‘Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge’, its lead actor Shahrukh Khan promoted Stroh’s Beer by uttering its name in a fifteen-second sequence. Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai endorsed Coca-Cola in their film ‘Kuch Na Kaho’. Mc Donald’s India placed itself in the product promotion front through the movie ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’ where the hero strategically holds a ball with its logo. A direct reference of the name occurs in ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’, the debut film of Hritik Roshan and Amisha Patel.  

After ‘Baghban’ it was the turn of King Khan starrer ‘Chalte Chalte’ for multi-brand promotion, which endorsed Castrol engine oil, apparel brand Versache, and a Santro car. Saif Ali Khan played the role of a cartoonist working for The Times of India in his film ‘Hum Tum’, and in return the national daily took care of the film’s promotion by carrying a cartoon strip of the film’s characters. Saif’s sister Soha Ali associated herself as the brand ambassador of Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training after her character in ‘Dil Mange More’ joined the institute.

More recently, Zandu Balm became a part of the superhit song ‘Munni Badnam Hui’ of Dabangg while the movie’s sequel promoted Favicol through another hit number. Zandu Balm again found mention in ‘Baby Doll’, the hit song of Ragini MMS 2.

There are many more instances of such kind of advertisement which, in marketing jargon, is called ‘product placement in motion pictures’. Adlabs Films, Yash Raj Films, UTV, and Pritish Nandy Communications are some of the conglomerates which have led to vertical integration across the value chain among film producers, distributors, exhibitors, broadcasters and music companies.