The Promo Factor – An Open Challenge

Once in a while, you hit a roadblock. That awkward moment when you know theย exact problem, but you just can’t put your finger on the solution. That’s when you go to the Internet for help!

Described below is a unique research issue we have been facing in our Bollywood work. To be honest, we have (almost) given up. If any of you can offer a solution that works, we’ll be thrilled to bits. We would also like to offer a worthy reward, along with some genuine appreciation to the most effective solution. So, put on your thinking hats and dig into your Bollywood understanding gathered over years. It’s an open challenge!

Here goes:

In our work, we have clearly and firmly established that there are four things that make any film’s campaign effective or ineffective (something we call ‘Appeal’). That is, there are four factors that dictate the Appeal of a film’s campaign. The Appeal, along with Buzz, plays a decisive role in deciding the opening weekend of any film. Hence, measuring and understanding Appeal is of prime importance in our work.

Three of these Appeal drivers are fairly straightforward and easy to measure. Starcast is the first one, which is already being measured by us through Stars India Loves. Music/ Songs is the second one, which is measured through our song popularity charts product Heartbeats. The third one is the Genre, e.g. comedy, action, romance, etc. We conduct an annual Genre Preference Survey to understand the popularity of various genres, and how this varies across markets and target segments. No issues here either.

This challenge is about the fourth driver – what everyone calls the ‘Promo’. Needless to say, the promo has a role to play in driving Appeal. With the same starcast, same music and same genre, you can make great promos or horrible promos. And the Appeal can vary significantly. There may be two slapstick comedies, but promos for one of them can be outright hilarious, while those of the other can end up being singularly unfunny. It becomes very important to measure how much the promo itself has been liked.

But here’s the problem. We have tried asking the promo question to movie-goers in various ways. The issue we face is that when they answer anything about the promo, the starcast and the genre colours their response significantly. Hence, a promo of Housefull 2 will score higher on likeability than a promo of Agent Vinod or Kahaani, simply because the former is a comedy and stars Akshay Kumar.

We have tried many different questions. But nothing manages to give us a response to the promo in isolation, independent of the starcast, genre and music. The question we seek to get the answer to is: Forgetting the starcast, music and genre of this film, how much did you like the promo itself per se?

The consumers don’t understand “forgetting” or “per se”. They judge things in their totality. Hence, the question asked has to be something they can relate to, something that’s “natural”, the way it’s framed.

So, can you come up with the solution? How do we ask them to rate a promo’s creative purely on its content, without the starcast or genre coming in the way of their judgment?

PS: It may not be the wisest thing for a research company to admit it has not been able to find a solution such as this, but the quest for knowledge far outweighs that concern.

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About Shailesh Kapoor

Founder & CEO - Ormax Media. Film Lover. Media Insights Detective. Budding Author. Lifelong Student.
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49 Responses to The Promo Factor – An Open Challenge

  1. Shailesh says:

    Try to divide promo likability factor by its star-cast value & genre.

  2. Abhisek says:

    I don’t think promo should be one of the drivers for Appeal. A promo includes the other 3 drivers: star cast, genre & music in most cases. So, it cannot be separated from the other drivers. Also, the number of times a promo is shown will also make a difference. If the promo is good but not promoted, many people will not know. Dont know what the drivers for buzz are but i think Promo helps in creating both the appeal and buzz for the movie.

    • Good action scenes, good dialogues, good moments etc. all make a good promo. None of these are about starcast, genre or music. This part is what we are seeking to capture. The content of the promo, not its faces or type. Yes, promos drive Buzz too, but the focus of the problem posed in the post here is purely Appeal.

  3. Saket Pathak says:

    These questions might work:-
    Q1. Going by the promo,Would you like to watch the movie if it had equally efficient newcomers?
    Q2. What do you extract about the story from the promo and how woud you rate it out of 10.
    Q3. From the teaser preview you got,rate following things out of 10-
    a.-Cinematography
    b.-Locations
    c.-Dialogue delivery
    d.-Choreography(if involves songs)
    e.-Hint of Screenplay
    f.-Background score
    g.-X-Factor
    Q4. Did your expectations rise or fall after watching the promo?
    Q5.-Would you watch the film if there’s no video for any of the songs and are chopped away from the movie?

    • Phew! Well tried. My response:
      Q1: The problem is, consumers mostly can’t “imagine” a situation. “Equally efficient newcomers” is a hypothetical situation. Doesn’t work. If this worked, we may as have asked them to ignore the starcast and the genre. Also, this approach only handles starcast, not the genre.
      Q2: Problem here is every promo may not have “story”. For example, a comedy may have a really funny promo, an action movie may have a purely action-packed promo etc. Both may not give the “story” out in any way.
      Q3. This approach is better. The problem is – how to combine all these 6-7 factors and arrive at one score. Also, all promos won’t involve all factors. New factors may come in, e.g. action scenes, suspense, etc. If the entire impact can’t be captured as a single number, it is of very limited use.
      Q4. This is Appeal. This involves starcast and genre. Because for a lot of people, a promo is the first exposure to the starcast and genre itself. This question will work only for a subsequent promo. But in the real world, people often take a decision basis one promo creative. So we need a solution that works for any promo.
      Q5. Now you are really trying too hard :))

      Thanks for the attempts. Interesting. Hope you come up with more!

  4. Saket Pathak says:

    Also these-
    Q1.Did the promo had any magical or so-called wow moment which completely captivated you?
    Q2.Did you wanted to watch the movie before watching the promo?
    Q3.How would you rate the promo-
    a.-Innovative
    b.-Fresh
    c.-Old Wine,New Bottle
    d.The same old Bollywood tested formula?
    e.Has your desire to know more about the movie increased after watching the promo?

  5. Q1: This is a yes/ not kind of question. Doesn’t deliver anything useful.
    Q2: Same issue as Q4 in the previous comment.
    Q3: Not sure what the output interpretation is. For example, “same old Bollywood tested formula” may be a positive for someone. It is not right to assume that everyone likes innovative and fresh stuff. People may like the same thing again and again, as long as it is given to them the way they want is, e.g. slapstick comedy.

  6. Saket Pathak says:

    My Final Attempt-
    Q1.Was the promo such that you waited even at the billing block wanting for more?
    Q2.What do you think about the promo?
    a.-They have given out some key portions,shots,part of the song increasing the expectations but,total judgement cant be done.
    b.-It seems they have shown all the juicy stuff and the rest might be just O.K types or residual.
    c.-The promo gives has feel-good touch such that the pace,scenes will be of top notch like the promo
    d.-The promo looks badly crafted further confusing about the movie.

    Q3.If the promo is divide into 3 parts-Introduction,Ellaboration,Dramatic end involving a signature music,Which Part would you give thumbs up and thumbs down an explain briefly

    Q4.Do you want to give a few points about factors like realistic touch,the contribution of extras,the effect of combination of the shots and BG score,the transitions used in the promo?

    I hope these might help.

  7. Amit Singh says:

    Could you have made a better promo than this, given all the resources ?

    This question will eliminate or could potentially eliminate the intrinsic bias of genres/starcast.

    • Nice try. The only problem, as with many other questions, is that consumers can’t “imagine” so easily. They will have to build a situation in their heads here, which doesn’t work. Second issue is the response many will give: “We don’t know how to make a promo”. Seriously.

  8. Nakhrewali says:

    Quite the challenge. I appreciate your comments to everyone’s attempts – it helps us better understand how hard it is to formulate a question such that we can be sure the response is about only what is being asked and not influenced by other factors that are being counted elsewhere.

    Here’s my go at it:

    #1 How would you rate the promo? (Choose one from the options below):
    A. Well put together B. So so C. Uninteresting

    The idea being that providing people options gives them a clue about how we want them to think about the promo as a stand-alone thing that needs to be judged on its own merit. I realise the response options I’ve provided aren’t very polished though!

    #2 What vibe do you get from the promo? (Choose one from the options below):
    A. The movie will surpass expectations
    B. The movie will meet expectations
    C. One shouldn’t expect much from the movie

    The idea being that ultimately we want to know whether the promo did its job and increased or decreased the movie’s appeal for people.

    #3. What words would you use to describe the promo? (Choose up to 5 from the options below):
    – Slick
    – Attention grabbing
    – Intriguing
    – Incoherent
    – Dated
    – Boring

    The idea being that we get people to use adjectives about the promo (not the movie) and the adjectives themselves eliminate the influence of music, starcast and genre. After all comedy can not be your thing but you can still find the promo intriguing, or you may love a star but still find the promo for their movie dated.

    On another note, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog.

    • Well attempted. Feedback:

      #1.This has already been attempted by us long back. Asking it this way gives the Appeal, not the promo likeability. The starcast/ genre impact doesn’t go away by asking it like this.

      #2. Same issue. The answer will be influenced (and heavily so) by the starcast.

      #3. This is more interesting. But not sure how to make it actionable. Eventually, we need one score for the promo likeability, e.g. 49% liked the promo. So we need to see which options should be given and which of them should be counted as a positive response. There is a germ of an idea here. We’ll build on it further. See if you can too ๐Ÿ™‚

      And thanks a lot for the appreciation of the blog.

      • Nakhrewali says:

        #3. What words would you use to describe the promo? (Choose up to [insert number here] from the options below):
        #3. This is more interesting. But not sure how to make it actionable. Eventually, we need one score for the promo likeability, e.g. 49% liked the promo. So we need to see which options should be given and which of them should be counted as a positive response. There is a germ of an idea here. Weโ€™ll build on it further. See if you can too
        Yeah multiple response questions would definitely be harder to score. If we went with this idea several things would need to be resolved:
        – how do we decide what the valid options are? The adjectives chosen would need to broadly reflect possible positive and negative responses to a promo. The adjectives would need to be clearly distinct from one other (so particular care about not using synonyms). Any adjectives that lean towards a genre will have to be avoided (ie. you don’t want people to have options like “funny” “romantic” “sweet” “fast-paced” “witty” as not all movies/promos would have those elements). I guess the options need to evoke judement on the skillfulness rather than the content of the promo.
        – once we have the options do we assign weightings to them or not? My initial feeling is no: while we can with some validity (for e.g. via an initial qualitative study on promos*) decide how to describe promos that are well-constructed or otherwise, any judgement over the merit of one quality/characteristic over another would be extremely difficult to make and end up being arbitrary.
        – how do we handle the multiple responses themselves? We’d need to handle the degree of positivity or negativity a promo generates. I guess what we are getting is nominal data…
        So you’d end up with something like 50/100 thought the promo was attention grabbing, 20/100 though the promo was incoherent, 60/100 thought the promo had high production values/looked stylish. …which I suppose wouldn’t produce the desired single score we are after.
        But can the same data not be treated in an ordinal manner if we score people’s response to a promo on, for example a scale of -5 to 5 (for example if we had 5 positive & 5 negative adjectives). Then you’d have values like 30/100 rated the promo badly (below 0), 60/100 rated it well and 10 didn’t rate it at all. Would that be useful stats to work with?

        Do forgive me if I got the statistical side of things wrong, I work in a statistical organisation but don’t deal with statistics ha. Excuses, yes.

        Anyway, I’m finding this quite a fun challenge to mull over. I hope if/when you guys do end up finding a solution that works for you that you’ll let us know ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Nakhrewali says:

        via an initial qualitative study on promos
        Ah to rewind back 1.5 years and do my Masters research on this instead ๐Ÿ˜€
        This would be such a fun student project.

  9. Shashi says:

    For indian audience if you want to judge the effect of promos only.. i have an idea.
    but it will only work if there are two promos released for the same film
    you can ask them which of them they find better.(the older promo or the newer one)
    for example agent vinod first promo was disliked by many but the next trailer was cracker.
    so what was the difference same starcast,same music ,same film but people liked the new trailer because it was nicely edited.i hope you got ur answer.

    • Constraint is that everyone has not seen all the promos. This can work only when we test promos (by showing them). And we use this method then already. But when I’m asking someone how much he liked the promos of a movie XYZ, he is giving me an answer basis the collective impact of all the promos he has seen. Which is where the problem is.

  10. faisal says:

    Do u love the promo or u will watch it for star cast?

  11. faisal says:

    Describe the promo in just one word.

  12. faisal says:

    Does the promo leaves u wanting for more?

  13. faisal says:

    Describe the promo as overall package?

  14. faisal says:

    One thing more i must add is as an audience point of view is that everyone describe promo on everything be it the star cast,music,opening scene or a punch dailouge or a nice comedy scene ,these all are a inseperable part of a promo we cnt put them all a side to judge a promo coz everything depend on a smashing promo here in India a film cnt work in the name of a Director ,to make a good film u need at least a known name for eg If their was No Irfan khan Pst may not have worked instead of tremendous aprctn

  15. faisal says:

    i gonna try till i got d answer ,i will be back with a solution.

  16. faisal says:

    And one thing i must say u have a got a fan of urs in me Shailesh Sir love d way u captivate us with ur Researchs and writing and i m a learner .

  17. Vishek Chauhan says:

    I don’t think anyone of us can frame a question that can isolate the promo from the trappings of Genre, Music and Starcast. As the promo is the summation of all 3. How can I isolate Akki from Housefull 2, or the songs or the Genre…Sir, it is impossible, the reason I like or dislike any promo is because of the above 3.
    I am an exhibitor and I think the only way you can gauge the effectiveness of a promo, teaser or trailer is by an expert…A good promo as per me is one that gives out a gist of the film and promises that lots more is in store… In short seduces the viewer….Sir, you have to define ur own standards wrt to the Genre, Starcast and Music and do it urself and leave the other 3 on d paying public. Ideally score a promo on a scale of 100…say like effectiveness and factor it in with the other 3 parameters.

  18. Hema says:

    Hey Shailesh,

    Just a couple of thought; not solutions really. What if you use some sort of qualitative test – say like, visual comprehension? You ask your survey group to answer a set of questions based on the content of the promos they have seen and gauge how much they liked the promo based on their recall. Say, like, ‘What does Ali Zafar say to Aditi Rao when they are lying down on the grass?’, ‘What is her response?’ ‘What is the prop that both Karenna and Imran are wearing as they walk together in the fun fair?’ ‘What is Kareena’s profession in the movie?’ ‘What does the official ask when they go to get their marriage annulled’. May be even stuff like, ‘What are the primary colours in the frames, what are the backdrops, what were the characters wearing…’ not the best of questions I guess, but you get my drift. Things that will test recall value. Could even be, ‘Write a four line summary of the movie based on the promo you saw’. Could also be multiple choice Qs. Though you won’t get definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, I guess with a lot of fine tuning (and some sort of mechanism to assign scores to the responses), it should be possible to judge the audience’s impressions based on the answers. Good recall = effective promo. Luke warm recall = not so great promo. So on…

    For instance, I know that I recall the Pyar Ka Punchnama promo way more than I can recall Housefull. (May also be because it had gone viral on the net….) Or that in recent times, I recall London Paris New York better than I recall Ek Main Aur Ek Tu… (But I guess I must mention here that I love promos “per se” and I can “forget” about the star cast. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The other thing I thought of is a more elaborate long-termish solution and it’s the kind of thing media companies would do. Don’t know if it would be the forte of research companies. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Creating a ‘Rate Your Promos’ type community/ website using a mixture of Facebook, Youtube et al. and gradually seeding the idea that ‘we want you to rate the promo without letting the star cast, music and genre influence you’. It might take a while, but once the idea becomes a product, I think it’ll catch on. And considering you’ve had some difficulty with this problem, it might be worth exploring, though it doesn’t strictly fall under the methods used by research companies. You might have to use some sort of ‘front’ to do this though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Hema

      Thanks for the interesting perspectives!

      The first one – quali visual comprehension feedback: We already do this when we test promos. It’s called Execution Cut Through (ECT) in research terms. Unfortunately, you can’t put a number to it without making a set of assumptions. And hence, it has limited usage. Also, what we are seeking (through this post) is something we hope to use across promos, not just in the promos we test. For example, I should be able to ask you the relevant question for any movie whose (any) promo you have seen, and you should be able to tell me how much you liked the promo per se.

      Thank you for the online idea. It can be explored. But the IQ on the Internet is often lower than the real world ๐Ÿ˜‰ And with all the fans and fan groups, it will be difficult to believe the results. So I guess you are talking more of a “panel”, where a group of pre-selected people give their answers? Can be explored, but it is still restrictive. Ideally, a question that can be asked over telephone is what we are keen on!

      But thanks for the pointers. Very articulately put. Cheers!

  19. Arpan says:

    i feel questions like these can help:
    1. did you find any thing new n interesting in the promo with respect to previous films of same genre (examples of some good films of the same genre can be given by the person who is asking the question)?
    2. did you start visualizing/imagining the kind of role lead actors are playing in the movie by just watching its promo. i mean did they start thinking and guessing about the roles of the leads in the movie.
    3. same as 2, but this time its about story of the movie. did you start thinking about the possible story of the movie, may be climax or the flow in general.
    4. did they spent some time thinking about point 2 & 3? or did they discuss it with friends/family? (considering the fact that people wont usually waste there time on the things they din’t like much)
    5. do u think any other actor could have suited the lead role more? (if answer is “yae, any/many actor would have”, then that means that person liked the trailer irrespective of starcast and genre)
    6. not sure abt this point but it can actually help some times: what if you had all the necessary looks and talent to do this movie, would you like to REALLY do it? (chances are, if one likes the trailer irrespective of its genre, stars, music then only he will say yes to it)

    thats what i can think for time being, would post more if i get any vodafone (idea) ๐Ÿ˜›
    ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 1. Can’t rely on people’s memory of old promos.
      2. Making them think/ guess may not be the intention of the promo, especially in comedies, for example
      3. Same as 2 above
      4. Discussion with friends and family, or for that matter trying to guess story itself, will also be a function of the starcast. People are more likely to think about / discuss a Salman Khan film more than other star’s films
      5. Weird-ish question. How will they know? And the answer will vary drastically based on starcast. So, for an average promo of an Aamir Khan film, I may say he suits it well, but for a great promo of a Kunal Khemu film, I may say that the actor could have been someone else.
      6. Hahaha! I imagine people will find it more “aspirational” to do big star films than good promo wali films ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Great effort!

      • Anonymous says:

        sir ji, you seem to be ready for not accepting any of our views ๐Ÿ˜›
        i think you should try these questions (the ones suggested by others too) and depending on the response you should decide whether its working or not ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Arpan says:

        sir ji, you seem to be ready for not accepting any of our views
        i think you should try these questions (the ones suggested by others too) and depending on the response you should decide whether its working or not

  20. Hema says:

    Turns out my second idea, online promo rating, isn’t unique at all. Of the lot I saw, I sort of like this one as it is for a selective group and is by invitation only. http://ratemovietrailers.com/index.html
    And IQ on the net magically seems to go up when some gratification/ prizes are involved… ๐Ÿ™‚ But yes, a screened group is restrictive.

    Your question is obviously way more difficult than it seems! ๐Ÿ™‚ Drawing a blank now, but will ping you if I think of something else. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. RamanaK says:

    Commenting before reading the other comments:
    The solution has to be two-pronged. A long term approach is to better understand how promos drive initial buzz (or day 1/day 2 collections) for movies in general and the short term approach is to simply co-relate the movie buzz with the openings for whatever is running these days.
    My point: Consider running the research on older (preferably obscure) movies by self-cutting promos of different kinds for a bunch of movies.
    e.g. You could cut the promo of a Striker (low-budget, small starcast, drama), a Tango Charlie (big names, different locations, action sequences, even semi-nudity :P), 99 (small-budget fast-paced comedy with a lot of real life references alongwith involving Cricket) etc. The idea behind choosing obscure movies is to not let the research audience’ experience of watching the movie cloud the judgement (with the fair assumption that most wouldn’t have seen/heard/remember the aforementioned movies). Say, 4-5 promos should be cut for each movie in different styles and with questions being designed around the qualitative result on those promos, it would give you some indicators on factors/parameters making one promo look better than the other given the same content/movie.
    Too much effort?
    and, now that I have written what was there in my mind, let me go check the other ideas suggested.

    • RamanaK says:

      Addendum after reading the comments and the replies:
      I think one needs to first understand the objective of the promos first. It, I think, cannot be genre independent because typically the maker of a slapstick comedy wants the viewers to think the movie would be a funny film based on the promo.
      Solution: Each promo, based on the genre & storyline, can have a few keywords attached. e.g. Agent Vinod could have style, thriller, action and the viewers of the promo could rate on each of these parameters as being extremely (or shoddily) stylish, okayish (or Hollywood-level or sub-standard) action etc. A Houseful 2 could have ratings asked on whether the viewer thinks the movie would be funny or not, based on the promo.
      I understand you’d want a standard set of questions, but I think the promo is basically there to position the movie in the mind of the viewer the way an ad does for a brand. There is an intended positioning (the makers of Houseful2 believing that it is supposed to be funny, entertaining etc.) and the idea is to match if the intended positioning was successfully achieved (by getting a rating on the parameters behind the intended positioning).
      Actual action plan: If it is a client, you can, of course, get a gist on the intended positioning but if it is a generalised model that you want to build to be able to rate promos for any movie, you’d want to use a focus group discussion to understand what the intended positioning might be and then, based on that, get the sample set of audience reaction on those parameters.
      Hope this is of some help ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. This may seem like a counter-intuitive response (and may, for that reason, not be what you are looking for). Suppose you ask people how much they enjoyed the promo, stressing that you do NOT want to know whether it made them want to go to the movie? Maybe asking if they would want friends to see the promo (as opposed to seeing the movie)? Or want to see the promo again?
    The decision about actually shelling out for a ticket is heavily based on all of the drivers you talk about. But the quality of the promo itself determines how much the promo gets pushed by people. For example, I thought the Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap promos (especially the short spots like the man praying) were hilarious–I showed them to a number of people who were unlikely to be interested in the movie. Presumably, how much a promo gets pushed by people has some effect on the Buzz that a movie generates.
    I’m not sure you can completely separate out your other drivers, because they are part of most promos. I watch, rewatch, and force other people in my family to watch the Ekla Cholo Re promo for Kaahani, because of the music and star appeal of Amitabh–but the visuals are what make me want to see the movie, and made my son, who does not recognize Vidya Balan say, “That looks like a really good movie.”

    • Tricky one. I know what you are suggesting, but in reality, many (or most) people tend to like starcast promos more, because they can’t seem to separate starcast from the promo. In fact, that’s where the crux of the entire research problem raised here is!

  23. I respectfully submit to you the possibility that you are not considering the issue correctly. For a given movie, given fixed stars, music and genre, there could be effective or ineffective promos. The effectiveness of the promo is therefore an independent driver, and I can see that you want to get an independent reading of it. A lousy promo of a star-studded movie with great music would be a waste of money and could adversely effect the success of the movie.
    But let’s say that for a given movie, let’s say, Aarakshan, people tell you that they prefer the promos showing Amitabh to the ones showing Saif (or vice versa). That’s probably a star-based decision, but it’s still a decision about the promo. Or, they like the promos that feature the romance elements of the story over the political elements. Maybe that’s a genre decision, but as long as they are reacting to the genre of the promo rather than the genre of the movie, then I think you’re measuring what you want to be measuring, despite the fact that genre, or music, or star appeal come into the measurement, giving you a doubled effect for that driver.
    Probably there actually is a multiplier effect going on here: If the music is spectacular, that makes the promos more effective as well. If the stars are beloved, that makes the promos more likely to be effective. Isn’t that logically as well as mathematically likely, since promos are in effect miniature movies?
    Of course, those directors who can produce effective promos without the use of stars or music, and independent of genre are the ones to watch out for–but would you encourage them to tie their hands behind their backs and NOT use whatever star power they have in a given movie? I think that would be absurd, given the realities of the Indian situation.

    • Hi! Thanks for the very articulate expression of your thought. Our need to measure these four things (genre, starcast, music, promo) is more at a campaign level, not at an individual promo level. In fact, a lot of responses here are suggesting showing a promo and asking questions about it. Maybe I’ve gone wrong in trying to define the problem clearly.

      What we need is to understand how to get a single score for a campaign on the fourth parameter. For example, for Bodyguard, starcast score is 90%, genre is 70%, music is 80% and promo is (say) 40%. For Kahaani, starcast is 30%, genre is 50%, music is 10% and promo is (say) 70%. Right now, we have data to get the first three numbers, but not the fourth. No matter how we ask the fourth one, we still get a heavily star-influenced score. So, that’s the exact nature of the issue.

  24. Shreyash says:

    In my opinion, this particular problem has no definite solution. In a country, where stars are worshipped it is difficult to be oblivious to their presence in a particular promo. The promo being the first look of the film arouses the curiosity of the movie-goer and the star value attached to it, plays a significant role in doing the same.
    As a result, the responses generated are biased to an extent. As far as the visualization part goes, in my opinion, it is always a difficult thing to minus a Salman Khan from a Bodyguard promo and think otherwise. Thus, this particular option is not relevant.
    However, in case of relatively unknown films, such as Pyaar Ka Punchnama or Bittoo Boss, it was witnessed that the promo was appreciated unanimously. The appeal created by the above promos was devoid of star value, music, genre. Such promos typically act as benchmarks in this particular case study.
    One of the ways that can be used would be to assess the likeability factor of the content of the movie on the basis of the promo. A simple question ” Iss promo ko dekh kar aapko film ki kahaani ke baare main kya lagta hai ? Kya yeh film paisa vasool hogi et all “. The rationale behind this is when an individual is asked about the content of the film/promo there might be a possibility that he might sideline the star value associated with it for a brief moment. In the case of Pyaar ka Punchnama also, what struck a chord with the promo was the content of the film that was revealed.
    However, I still am in my nascent stages in the research industry but just thought of voicing my opinion.
    Thank You for this wonderful opportunity. It really made me do something interesting and thoughtful on a rather boring Saturday midnight.

  25. Shreyash says:

    Also I tried mapping the promo likeability factor with that of television promos and to my surprise, the content of the promo (the story that it reveales about the show) aroused my curiosity and developed engagement levels with the show and the promo. In my opinion, it was a perfect example of a promo doing the talking minus the star value, genre or music associated with it. Similarly, if a research design can be drawn focusing on how much does a promo reveal about the film content and the role it plays in influencing your opinion towards watching the content of the film, the problem can be answered.

    Regards,
    Shreyash Sampat
    K.J.Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research
    M.M.S. – 2011-2013
    shreyashsampat@gmail.com

  26. Apan Singhal says:

    Guess am responding a bit too late but since I had some thoughts regarding this even if they do not exactly solve the task on hand. When we talk about appeal for a film, it is certainly because of many factors of which the four you mentioned, i.e. Starcast, genre, music and promos are most important. However even these factors among themselves are heavily inter-dependent. For eg. The value a star brings to a film depends on the genre in which the star is strong(Akshay-comedy, SRK-romance, Salman-action as indicated by a blog of yours Stars & Genres: Finding The Fit), pairing of the star(SRK-Kajol, Akshay- Katrina), in many cases where the filmmaker is well known the star-filmmaker association(eg. SRK-Karan Johar, Hrithik-Rakesh Roshan). Also the most important component of franchisee films is the lead star playing the same character or acting in same genre with the same filmmaker, as the value the star brings to it is much more compared to a non franchisee film. In a way franchisee films works like star-filmmaker-genre combo(SRK-Karan Johar/Yashraj-Romance/family) where audience knows what to expect irrespective of the promos.

    My point is that when we ask people if they would like to see a particular star’s film while sparing them other details, association of certain genres along with filmmakers they normally work with, sub-consciously come in their mind depending on the star’s recent successful/much-publicised films. Also the fact that the most successful stars have identified the genres/filmmakers/co-actors where they can maximize their star potential. While in othe genres they dont bring that much star value like Salman Khan in a film like Yuvvraaj(drama), Akshay Kumar in a film like Tasveer(thriller), SRK in a film like Swades(social drama) or Chak De India(which did not immediately get a great opening). Therefore even a film like Bodyguard which was primarily a romantic drama was publicised as action-comedy as Salman is best associated with that genre.

    Coming to the genre, its the same thing, people associate genres with the most successful films of the genre they have recently seen which maybe of a particular star, sub-genre or by a particular filmmaker. Therefore in 90s a comedy film meant a David Dhawan-Govinda comedy, after that it was a Priyadarshan comedy, then Akshay Kumar comedy so even in case of genres its not the actual genre but what people associate with that particular genre is what they respond to. In terms of music it isn’t just a coincidence that music of big star’s films tend to become more popular atleast initially.

    Coming to the problem you raised about promos’ effectiveness in driving the appeal, lets forget about general audience, let us do this exercise with ourselves that how much did I like a promo. Its almost impossible to imagine a promo we have already seen without the starcast(or even a non-starcast) it features. Promos are snapshots of actual product i.e. the film. The same components which affect the appeal of a film are what makes the promo likeable/unlikeable. Now suppose a highly popular star, works in a highly preferred genre with highly popular music but if the star is not associated with that genre(Imagine Hrithik in a slapstick comedy), what people like in a particular genre does not come across in the promo(boring jokes in a comedy, lack of freshness in romance) and despite popular music, if it doesn’t feature in the promos(Subah Hone na de song became a huge sensation much after the release but its video wasn’t much publicised before the release which could have changed the fete of Desi Boyz), then the promo doesn’t work in any case. So the promos function is to effectively convey the other three factors. What people respond to when they are asked about their preference for star, genre and whether they like the music is different from the star value as it comes across in the promo, genre’s effectiveness in the film and the association of music with the film both of which too comes across in the promo.

    Recently you gave a hypothetic example of what if Ek Tha Tiger wasn’t promoted at all. Conversely what if, in the promos Salman Khan doesn’t look how his audience would expect of him. The action, dialogues and use of music are not good enough. It will only take away the appeal of the film in comparison to without any promos.

    So the films’ promos in that way are not a separate factor but a driver to effectively convey the other factors namely genre, star, music and interplay among them. So for a star driven film the promo’s effectiveness would be how effectively the star has been used. For a non-starcast film, it will be how effectively the strength of that genre comes across in the promo. For a comedy film, are the scenes being shown funny, for an action film, the quality of action and one liners. Even music, how well it has been picturised and comes across in the promos.

    Hope I made some sense. Do let me know if it was helpful or any feedback regarding this.

    • Thanks a lot. Some interesting points to chew upon. I guess what you are saying and what Shreyash says in an earlier reply to this post collectively suggest that ‘Genre’ and ‘Promo’ can be kinda combined into one factor that can be called ‘Story/ Theme’. We are working on some pilot data collection on this premise to see where we head on it. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

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