MUMBAI: Picture this… in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya – The Royal Guard, Saif Ali Khan returns to hometown Rajasthan from London, flashing a British brand of glares. Jimmy Shergill watches the 1980s film Parinda in his palace on a hi-fi branded projector.
The scenarios may not be tough to conjure up, but could definitely dilute the essence of the film. Hence, although Eklavya is a contemporary story, it does not lend itself well to in-film brand placements.
Yet, brand tie-ups have played an integral role in promoting Eklavya – The Royal Guard. In a strategic move, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s office tied up with four brands for the film – Asian Paints, ING Vysya, JK Cement and Gitanjali Gold.
With each brand spending close to Rs 7 million (Rs 70 lakhs), the associations were channelised through various media to target desired audiences. “The association with Asian Paints was initiated because Saif Ali Khan is its brand ambassador. At a few multiplexes, an LCD screen has been placed by the brand, which keeps running the Eklavya promo,” says Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films’ business manager Thomas George. Eklavya is Asian Paints’ first foray into the in-film advertising arena.
In another TV campaign run by the brand, certain shots of the film become a frame hung on the wall which Khan is looking at, while a voiceover intones ‘some things in life deserve a Royale wall’. Again, since red is the theme colour of the film, a red wall/ frame has been placed at multiplexes, which reads ‘Asian Paints Royale’, including one at Fame Adlabs, a Shringar property. Shringar, incidentally, is the distributor of the film in the Bombay circuit.
Insurance company ING Vysya has incorporated clippings from the film which talk about ‘dharam, mariyada, kartavya’. The central message of the film is that your dharam (religious duty) is to listen to your intellect, soul and heart and do what you think is right and not follow dogma (kartavya). This incidentally, coincides with the brand message of ING Vysya and has been reinforced with a voiceover provided by Amitabh Bachchan.
JK Cement too has rolled out TV ads, which primarily target smaller centres. One particular campaign has incorporated the lines mouthed by Eklavya (Amitabh Bachchan), wherein he asserts that he is the royal guard of the fort and each breath of his life is akin to each brick in the wall of the fort.
Jewelry brand Gitanjali Gold too has collaborated with the film, not because the film has a heavy usage of jewelry, but because of its overall royal ambience.