OPINION: Ajay Devgn’s Raid Opens Well At Box Office Despite Low Promotions; An Eye Opener For The Industry?

Ajay Devgn ’s Raid was off to a reasonable start at the Box-Office as the film raked in Rs 10.04 crore on its opening day. The collections have surpassed the trade expectation in general, who expected the film to open in the range of Rs 8 crore. The respectable start has come despite there been no major promotional gimmicks prior to the film release. Shouldn’t this be an eye opener for the industry, where producers and stars believe that promoting a film ensures better Box-Office prospects?

In case of Raid, it is just the trailer, which was well received, backed up with Ajay Devgn’s presence that ensured a respectable start at the Box-Office. With positive word of mouth, the collections of Raid are just expected to escalate over the weekend. This should indeed raise a lot of question about the perception that lies in the industry surrounding the importance film promotions.

Ajay Devgn’s Raid
OPINION: Ajay Devgn’s Raid Opens Well At Box Office Despite Low Promotions; An Eye Opener For The Industry?

In Bollywood, the term promotions have been misconstrued by the people within the industry, wherein carpet bombing is considered to be the most effective manner to promote the film. Ahead of their film release, we do not only see stars making an appearance on every television show but also making city tours, giving interviews, and attend several events for cross promotions. Over the years, the definition of promotions has changed.

Going by what is means, promotions is essentially an attempt made to inform or persuade target audience about the arrival of the product. The aim of promotion is often to increase the demand and create interest. While we are indeed creating awareness around the product by carpet bombing, we seldom get the return from theatrical sources. A lot of amount and time is invested to design and execute the marketing campaign for the film, but if we introspect the actual impact of the campaign, the results would be shocking.

There are several films, which have been massively promoted, but failed to even take a respectable opening at the Box-Office. The history is full of examples, but the opening of Baar Baar Dekho and Ittefaq is one of the recent incident which would help us conclude the above statement. While Baar Baar Dekho was promoted a lot more than Ittefaq, the opening day numbers of both the films were on similar lines. Why did this happen? The answer is very simple. The audience had made up their mind to not watch the film once the theatrical trailer was out, and irrespective of the city tours and series of interviews by the stars, they didn’t venture the theatre as the trailer didn’t excite them.

Marketing Mix is all about product, place and price. While we often concentrate on the product and place, we tend to ignore the price involved in promoting the product at that place. The amount invested in publicity campaign of a film varies from Rs 8 crore to Rs 10 crore, which can stretch upto Rs 20 crore and just to recover the promotional expense, the film would need to earn Rs 16 to 20 crore or even more in India to break even. The thing which has an ever-lasting impact in the mind of the viewers is the theatrical trailer. If a good theatrical trailer is backed up with a couple of good songs, nothing can stop the film from opening well at the ticket window. On the flip side, if a bad theatrical trailer, backed up with bad songs, no amount of promotional gimmicks will change the fate of the film.

A cost-effective way of film promotion would be to make sure that the theatrical trailer is screened at major cinema halls and TV channels across the country. That apart, a good deal with the music and radio channels to broadcast the songs will just increase the awareness. As you read this, question yourself. Would you as a viewer plan to watch a film just because a star visited your city? Or would you as a viewer plan to watch a film because the theatrical trailer was exciting for you? Isn’t it way more cost effective as well as impactful to promote a film using the conventional mode of film promotions like theatrical trailer, TV Slots for songs and trailers? Yes, appearances on television shows like Bigg Boss, Dance India Dance and a few more does create the additional awareness and there is no harm to opt for promotions on reality shows. But what’s the point to promote the film on every possible television show?

Over the years, several Hollywood films have taken a flying start at the Box-Office in India without a single promotional event, or other gimmicks. The examples of recent Hollywood openers include Jungle Book, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Jurassic World, The Fast and Furious Franchise and even origin films like Black Panther, Deadpool to name a few.

One might say the above-mentioned films are backed either by a banner like Marvel or command a strong recall value in India. However, I strongly believe that Bollywood stars like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor to name a few, are way more popular than the Hollywood franchise and their mere presence in the film is enough to get the audience in cinema hall. A Salman Khan or a Shah Rukh Khan or an Aamir Khan film can open to HUGE numbers at the Box-Office with the right trailer, irrespective of the promotional campaign around the film. Promotions are essential, but its about time we opt for smart and cost-effective promotion. Here hoping that, someone gives this a try. The author believes, the following is the most effective way of film promotion:

1. Theatrical Trailer Should Be Screened in Major Cinema Halls, Two Weeks Prior To The Film Release

2. Placement of Film Posters at the Right Places

3. Get Good Slots on TV Channels for Screening the Theatrical Trailer and Video Songs

4. Get Good Slots on Radio Channels to Play the Music

5. Appearance on Three to Four Best Rated Reality Shows

6. A Few Media Interactions to Make the Audience Aware About the Content That Film Has to Offer