Monday, October 31, 2011

Ra.One, Marketing and Madness

Is Shahrukh Khan (SRK) the greatest marketer in the film industry?
The air you've taken in you lungs before the release of the movie contains particles of Ra.One. Ra.One is on news channels, game shows, TV serials, bus hoardings, newspapers, and on top of it you have all shows at major theatres simply screening Ra.One. With the power of money, a promotional budget of 50 Crores, collusion with others in the industry, Ra.One has managed to create a madness - a monopoly. I also have a feeling that even the critics have been bought to put good reviews.
People don't have a choice. Is this what artists are meant to do? Is Shahrukh Khan the greatest artist we would like to remember? Or the greatest dictator of art Or the greatest monopolist of art Or simply a money making machine ? Is he the one promoting art or is he the one monopolizing art?
Businesses would like to remember Ra.One as the greatest promotional campaign in the history of movies. It spend a lot of money to make more (made profit after 3 days of release). It exploited the festive season, colluded with others in the entertainment industry and made people sing the tune of Ra.One. 
Ra.One has been promoted using what I'd like to call - Carpet Bombing. Carpet bombing is not effective. World War II was characterized by destruction of entire cities by the Allied and Axis forces by bombing them to ground. The problem is that it definitely killed the enemies (victory) but it also killed civilians who had nothing to do with the great war. Carpet Bombing promotional strategy used by team SRK in promoting Ra.One has also created a lot of anti-feeling against the movie. Subcultures of consumption are created by branding practices followed by companies. Intrusiveness is one aspect that simply puts off a lot of people. As a result there is a lot of anti-activity against the movie. By monopolizing the market Ra.One has taken away a lot of power i.e. power of choice from people. Powerless consumer will retaliate by boycotting. Ra.One's promotional strategy has created a hysteria about the movie - Simple Madness. Taking lines from Dark Knight - "madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push" . Dark Knight created a text book marketing campaign, which we study in our marketing courses.  A completely integrated marketing campaign but it did not rely on carpet bombing. Even Amir Khan movies, which I personally consider closer to a work of art than pure commercial ventures indulge in decent (not insane) promotional practices. They are something we can digest. 
On the contrary carpet bombing strategy used by SRK has resulted in the creation of a subculture that is boycotting the movie. Their word-of-mouth is expanding the number of people in this subculture and creating opposition brand loyalty against Brand SRK. In the long run this can be detrimental for the movie, brand SRK and propagation of art in particular.
Ra.One Marketing