August 15, 2012. Yashraj Films will release their first-ever Salman Khan starrer Ek Tha Tiger. The teaser is already out. In the next ten weeks, we know what to expect. High decibel marketing, backed by aggressive music promotion and PR. All leading upto an obviously record-breaking opening day and weekend (in all its variants, like three-day, five-day, etc.)
But imagine a scenario. What if YRF were to decide not to promote Ek Tha Tiger at all. By “at all”, I really mean “at all”. No promos, no posters, no music release, no song videos, no stills, no stories, nothing. What if they had sent out just one message to the media just one time: That Ek Tha Tiger, starring Salman Khan, is releasing on August 15, 2012. Just the lead star name and the release data information. Nothing else.
Now, can we even begin to think how this will pan out? On last count, there are around 43 national channels that thrive on mainstream Bollywood for their content. No prizes for guessing what these channels will do. They will go out of the way to get their scoops. What is Salman’s look in the film? What is the story about? Where was the film shot? Why are the makers not marketing the film? Can you visualize the airtime this will generate? If I were a Hindi news channel editor, I’d see this as a mouth-watering prospect.
Then there is the Internet. The medium that knows no bounds. The medium that’s the second biggest driver of a film’s campaign appeal today (Source: Ormax Media Effectiveness Research for Hindi Films). The release date will viral across of course. As will the concept of not promoting the film at all. Before you know it, we will have fan posters doing the rounds on facebook and twitter, and fan trailers on YouTube. Without as much as spending a rupee, YRF may end up with the most innovative online film campaign you will ever hope to see.
And how can we forget the tabloids! They will write out of vengeance. The vengeance of being deprived of juicy stories because of the no-marketing policy. They will write what they want to. They anyway do that most of the times.
But all this to what effect? Can a film that’s targeting a day 1 business of at least 27-28cr be able to achieve the same with this strategy? Perhaps not. But it won’t fall way short either. I’d guess that such a strategy will still give it a day 1 of 20cr+. If the content is good (an underlying assumption of any no-marketing gamble), the number will multiply as the “secrets” will begin to get revealed with each show, each day. Imagine, you will have to go to the theatre to see how Salman looks in the film. Unless you want to rely on grainy, pirated pics.
Repeat business will grow manifold. People will go again to see the songs. The music will not be available anywhere else. There will be no option but to consume everything on Ek Tha Tiger at only one destination – the big screen. Over its lifetime, this will definitely result in a higher revenue figure than a conventional campaign may have. Not to talk about saving the marketing dollar.
I know I’m writing this more for fun. The teaser and the poster are out, and YRF has no intention of doing anything but the most aggressive marketing job on the film.
I wish a film tries this some day. But unfortunately, only a Salman Khan film is in the position today to achieve this. And unlike Dabangg 2, where the intrigue is limited given that the film is a sequel, Ek Tha Tiger would have been a golden opportunity.
End of fantasy. Now bring out the promos, the songs, the PR, the works.