Innovative marketing took centre stage in Tamil cinema (2013 In Retrospect)

(Attn Editors: This is the third in a series of yearenders by IANS, covering a range of events in fields such as economy, politics, entertainment, diplomacy and sports in 2013)

By Haricharan Pudipeddi

Chennai, Dec 18: From unveiling a film’s audio at bus-stops to touring in promotional auto-rickshaws, Tamil filmmakers took to experimenting in and innovativing marketing techniques to flaunt the content of their movies before the audiences cohesively. The year saw some tactics in tune with the films’ theme, while several others attempted out-of-the box gimmicks.

The Tamil film industry recorded nearly 200 releases.

First-time director Kinslin used auto-rickshaws to promote thriller “Vathikuchi” because its story revolved around an auto driver, played by actor Dhileban. Autos decorated with the posters of the film were stationed near major multiplexes a few days before the film’s release, and it generated ample buzz.

“We used approximately 100 autos across different cities for promotional purposes,” Kinslin told IANS. “Vathikuchi” was not a box-office winner, but its efforts at marketing didn’t go waste as the film registered a decent opening.

The promotions for “Raja Rani”, which turned out to be a superhit, were memorable. In fact, filmmakers should take a leaf out of its promotional book as its makers hit the nail on the head and literally drew audiences to the cinemas.

The “Raja Rani” makers cashed in on the successful on-screen pair of Arya and Nayanthara, who had previously teamed up for superhit “Boss Enga Bhaskaran”. Weeks after the film was announced, the makers circulated an invitation for the wedding of the lead pair in the film.

This invitation not only generated enough buzz but was also misunderstood for the real-life wedding invite of Arya and Nayanthara.

“Since Arya and Nayanthara were to get married in the film, we decided to go ahead with the wedding invitation idea. It worked in our favour and created maximum buzz for the film. I believe that because they were always considered as a couple even in real life, the idea clicked big time,” the film’s director, Atlee Kumar, told IANS.

In real life, Arya and Nayanthara are good friends.

Another Tamil film which garnered attention for its creative promotional strategy was Vijay Sethupathi-starrer “Pannaiyarum Padminiyum”, the story of a landlord and his vintage car.

“The Premier Padmini car plays an important role in the film. Therefore, we toured to places such as Nagercoil and Coimbatore from Chennai in two Padmini cars,” said the film’s director Arun Kumar, who also launched a video campaign called ‘Why we love Padmini’ to spread the word for the film.

“Many of us still own the Padmini car because it’s priceless and we would never trade it. Our video was aimed at capturing stories that reveal the craze for the car by their owners. We came to learn that many still own this vintage car and are not ready to replace it,” he added.

Recently released Tamil romantic-drama “Jannal Oram”, which unfolds in a bus, resorted to a unique strategy too – its audio was unveiled at several busy bus-stops.

The idea was to promote the story, not the film, said the film’s director Karu Pazhaniappan.

“We realized that the bus is the most recurring character in the film; so we decided to launch the audio of our film at several bus stands,” he said.

The social networking route is one of the most used platforms for promotions, and debutant R.S. Prasanna’s Tamil romantic-drama “Kalyana Samayal Saadham” made the best use of it.

The film revolves round a big South Indian wedding, and so the movie’s team replaced their profile pictures on Facebook with their wedding pictures. The creative initiative was received well, as were many which increased the audience’s involvement and interest in the projects, thereby giving a fillip to their box office collections.

In a nutshell:

- For Vathikuchi”, first-time director Kinslin used auto-rickshaws to promote the film.

- “Pannaiyarum Padminiyum”, a landlord and his vintage car, used Premier Padmini cars for its promotions.

- The audio of “Jannal Oram” was innovatively launched at busy bus-stops.

- The marketing initiative for “Raja Rani” involved a virtual wedding invite of its actors Arya and Nayanthara.

- The social networking route was not missed – “Kalyana Samayal Saadham” made an interesting use of it.

(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at haricharanpudipeddi@gmail.com)

IANS