Ra.One: The Campaign That Counts
Seven months is a long time. Even more so if that’s the period of a film’s campaign. It was no surprise that when Shahrukh Khan launched the promotions of his latest labour of love, Ra.One, in the World Cup, many eyebrows were raised within the industry and outside.
Media managers handling some of the top brands of the country must be envying the Khan. They agonize for days before deciding whether to buy ten spots on a premium priced event like the World Cup. And here comes a film campaign, with no immediate call-to-action, and runs almost 100 spots, using a cricket platform so freely, as if it was a music channel airing promos.
There is no apparent logic. There can’t be. Even the biggest film needs not more than eight weeks to do its marketing job, and do it well. The decision to go mass media has to be then attributed to the power games in the industry, and to that alone.
SRK has, by his own high standards, had a lean patch over the last few years. He has seen his contemporaries Aamir and Salman deliver their biggest hits in the last 16 months, even as his own ‘magnum opus’ My Name Is Khan had to rely heavily on the overseas market to make an impact. Evidently, SRK realizes it’s time to announce that he is still playing this World Cup of the Khans, lest anyone should think otherwise. Both his fans and critics know that Ra.One will decisively impact his future as an actor. It is, indeed, a watershed film. And it seems Khan doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.
The promo itself got mixed response. SRK would have factored comparisons to Krrish and the more recent Robot. However, in an industry where Akshay Kumar has replicated the same formula film after film for almost a decade now, and with immaculate success till recently, SRK would know that some of these comparisons to other sci-fi, special-effects films can actually work to his advantage.
The buzz for the film expectedly increased with the campaign. The Unaided Awareness on Cinematix jumped from 8% before the campaign started, to 17% at the end of the World Cup. The Total Awareness increased from 34% to 50%. However, males, the core cricket audience, drove most of this increase.
What should worry the makers of Ra.One is that the Appeal for the film, an indicative of the persuasive ability of the promos, did not show an increase at all, inching from 51% to 53% only. In simple words, it means that the promo did not create a ‘Wow, must watch this film’ feeling across the audience it reached out to.
There is still a long time to go before Ra.One hits the theatres. It is fairly evident that the buzz factor will ensure a strong opening, arguably one of the best ever in Hindi cinema history. However, what happens after the Sunday will be the key. And that reality does not shape up over seven months. It shapes over the seven hours of the first two shows on Friday. A Friday, that’s still a distant Diwali away.
Till then, bring on the IPL, the new Ra.One promotional platform.
Shailesh Kapoor is the Co-founder & CEO of Ormax Media, a media research firm specializing in film research
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