MUMBAI: Actors using the cricket pitch to plug their films is a trend that is rapidly gaining momentum in the sports television space. In the last one month, two of the biggest players in the entertainment market, Amitabh Bachchan and now Salman Khan have used Neo Sports to market their respective films.
The trend was first started by P9 former CEO Integrated and now EMC joint managing director Maneesh Mathur. He remarked, “Our first tie up was with Sajid Nadiadwala’s Mujhse Shaadi Karoge. However one of the best was Salam-e-Ishq where John Abraham and Akshay Kumar plugged the sports channel, ESPN Star Sports for the upcoming English Premier League. Then there were other films like Phir Milenge and Heyy Baby.”
Elaborating further Mathur commented, “We invented a new way of marketing films because we managed to get promo spots for films during a live cricket match, something which the producer could not afford erstwhile. Now every movie does it because it works for both parties. For the producer, high TRP’s are recorded during match days and he can reach his target audience, while the channel gets the celebrities free of cost. It’s a win win situation for all.”
Bachchan took it a step further by coming to the cricket studio to discuss a live match in progress. And now following suit is Khan for the promotion of his forthcoming film, Veer. But ask Khan anything about cricket and he replies honestly, “I really don’t know much about cricket and nor do I have the patience to sit through a match.” But who is complaining? Salman had earlier been invited for an IPL match on Set Max and that was to promote his TV show, Dus ka Dum.
Today, any form of free marketing is acceptable as long as both parties are having the last laugh. And for the audience, an opportunity to see their favorite actors talk about their favorite sport.