Covert advertising in Bollywood movies

In the competitive world of the present, a variety of brands and their products are around us while each product tries their best to raise their head in the economy. Advertisers and marketers are using various methods and techniques to build their brand where advertising is a significant too for promotion or communication and creates effective marketing methods for the survival of the companies. In new forms of advertising, covert advertising refers to branding of different products placed in an entertainment or media. Covert advertising is that form where the advertiser communicates a silent message to the audience. Covert advertising is a technique that plays an important role in building product or brand recall and acknowledgement by consumers effectively.

Pepsi benefitted from placement in movies and also celebrity endorsement with actors like Shahrukh Khan. The biggest achievement of Pepsi in India resulted from their placement in the film, Kuch Kuch Hota Hae. The movie Dhoom and Dhoom II made space for covert advertising of motorbikes and raised their sales by almost 40%. Krrish, the movie made by Rakesh Roshan engaged the advertisement of Singapore Tourism Board besides brands like Sony, John Players, Bournvita, Tide, Hero Honda, Boro Plus, Lifebuoy, HP power and Lays Chips alongside others. Krrish highlighted 38 brands in the movie. Bam Bam Bole was a movie which centers around a small town boy and that boy's character turns around rules and gains success against the odds and this goes with the slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’ of Adidas. Zandu Balm is manufactured as a pain reliever rub and another antiseptic brand Boro-plus cream was placed in the movie Dabang. Thus covert advertising found its place in Bollywood movies. Covert advertising helps produces collect the money needed for production. The brand '3' tie dup with the famous song "Kola Vere Di".

Covert advertising in movies and television has helped brands gain greater credibility and recognition. The technological developments in terms of PVR, VOD will continue to influence covert advertising. In remote areas where televisions is not common but movie theaters are overcrowded, such product placement through covert advertising gives good exposure to the brands. Although covert advertising in positive for the brands usually, yet there are some disadvantages. For instance, there could be lack of control over the covert advertisement. One drawback is that the marketers will usually lack control over how brands are portrayed or placed into a scene of a movie or television program, the program broadcasted might not be successful and if the brand is associated with some negative character it might be harmful for the brand. Using covert advertising is therefore lacking in control over how the brands are shown in a scene of a movie or television program. Brands often end up being misused, ignored, criticized and linked with values which are questionable or used ethically. Usually the target audience tends to be influenced by the character’s nature as portrayed in the movie. Thus covert advertisements need to address these aspects sensitively to give maximum exposure to the brands.