Brand associations with movies have been on an upward trend for a while but they made a gala comeback in 2022. Thanks to theaters finally opening up and brands getting back in the game of top of funnel marketing, overall brand associations with movies saw a 2.8 times ad volume growth in the year gone by as compared to 2021. According to TAM, a total of sixty plus movies partnered with brands across sectors in 2022. In fact, the number of movies opting co-branding ads for promotion during the year grew three times over 2021.
“Brand collaborations indeed became increasingly popular as the year witnessed a comeback of theatrical movie releases after two long years. Another factor that gave rise is the fact that brands were looking for many different and innovative ways of collaboration and this year has been a testimony to evolution and innovations from various platforms,” says Rajni Daswani, Director - Digital Marketing, SoCheers.
“Industry-wise we see FMCG, consumer durables and nondurables top the chart in terms of integrations since they always have a mass appeal,” Daswani adds.
Talking of personalization and innovation Daswani picks up the example of Kama Ayurveda being an in-film sponsor in Darlings.
He says, “It’s a niche luxury brand and generally doesn’t do mass advertising campaigns. I feel it was probably a good integration because the audience Netflix offers would be a match for Kama Ayurveda. Also, Shell Lubricants made its debut in the in-film advertising category with Yash Raj Films, underscoring its ‘Partners in Progress’ philosophy, and promoting the spirit of building and growing community partnerships with their loyal trade partners.
Brands that led the lot
As per TAM, Sting Energy Drink from PepsiCo was on the top of the list of brands that did maximum collaborations. Others in the list included the likes of Muthoot Fincorp Loan Against Gold, Sunfeast Dark Fantasy Choco Fills, Astral Pipes, Baidyanath Amla Juice, Dish TV HD, Wonder Cement. Some brands also partnered with multiple movies. Punjabishaadi and Telugushaadi, for instance, worked with multiple regional films to reach out to their TG.
However, brand collaborations in movies are not something new. But what's new is the level of personalization as the industry evolves. Typically, the brands that have a mass appeal partner with movies because of the scale movies provide.
Experts say with digital-only films coming into the picture, there will only be many more niche brands getting on to the in-film promotion bandwagon.
Partnering with films has its own economic benefits given the exposure and access. “Such partnerships are an opportunity for brands to work with top celebrities on big platforms and at a lower cost which otherwise would have been way more expensive if they opted for the conventional shoot or taken the brand ambassadors route,” says Umang Srivastava, the co-Founder and CEO of video content agency Momo Media.
The best part, according to Srivastava, is that there will be more unique ways of collaborating with technology playing a major role now. “It won't be surprising if switchable brand integrations start happening in films, where based on the demographics different brand integrations will be shown in the same film on digital platforms,” he adds.
The automobile sector will be the next in line for mastering partnerships with films in 2023 and beyond. The sector has been a master of brand collaborations in movies for quite some time. Aston Martins in James Bond or the Audi R8 in Iron Man are some of the iconic product placements examples over the years.
As per domain experts, with the advent of EVs in India, a bunch of automobile brands will be looking to place their latest EV as the protagonist’s favorite car to drive.
Rammohan Sundaram, Country Head & Managing Partner – Integrated Media, DDB Mudra Group says there have been three types of placement up until now - implicit, imperative, or co-present. And this trend will continue.
“With rising affluence, association and saliency, branded and high-end luxury categories will also shape the trends in 2023.High end luxury categories in addition to the above will shape up the trends in 2023 as well,” he says.
According to Sundaram, original content films on OTT will also see a rise as more people move towards single-window convenience viewing. In addition to the above, categories like kitchen, cookware, auto, travel, service apps are to be expected to take up marketing through films.
There’d be more. We have seen a bunch of brand-integrated long-form content on the internet, TVF started this trend back in 2015 with Pitchers, Permanent Roommates, Tripling, etc. A bunch of these brands were internet-first brands. Usually, brand collaborations in movies have been dominated by offline businesses and brands.
Srivastava says, “With the boundaries fading between offline and online business, we’ll see a bunch of internet-first brands also investing in brand collaborations in movies. We might see some of the bigger D2C brands and fintech brands taking this route soon.”