Bollywood & jewelry brands dazzle together

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MUMBAI: Talk about glamour and either Bollywood or stunning jewelry comes to mind. And everyone wants to be associated with them. Understanding this aspirational psyche, India’s jewelry brands are joining hands with the latest Bollywood blockbusters, the latest one being Tanishq’s association with Jodhaa Akbar.

Over the last few years, a number of films have opted to draw on the talent and designs of jewelry brands for their movies’ and stars’ jewelry requirements. Be it an Om Shanti Om, Hanuman or the most recent Jodhaa Akbar, many movies these days integrate big jewelry brands to brighten up their stars.

Gold jewelry brands like Asmi, D’Damas, Tanishq, and imitation jewelry brands like Sia have been at the forefront of such associations. It is the aspirations of the target audiences that drive these associations. As jewelry brand conglomerate Gitanjali head of corporate communications Tasneem Gandhi puts it, “In India, three things set trends – fashion, cricket and Bollywood.”

Brands approach movies to either showcase a new collection or to promote existing designs. Their primary target is today’s youth that is ready to spend and that wants to reflect the style of their favorite stars. The star could then belong to the television screen or to the big screen. “Our jewelry acts like a bridge between the customer and the star,” adds Sia Imitation Jewelry marketing manager Rolly Malhotra. Sia not only creates jewelry for movies, but has also associated with TV shows like Nach Baliye and Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. Continued… < Page Break >

One might think it is simple for any jewelry brand to be associated with a movie, thanks to the common glitz factor that binds them together. But Tanishq, which has associated with Paheli and Jodhaa Akbar has a slightly different spin on their brand association with Bollywood. Jewelry needs to play a significant role with enough visibility in a movie for Tanishq to even consider associating with the project.

Then again, for Sia, a fit between the movie and brand is a must. For others, prestige and brand value is more important, a project under a good banner, which provides credibility is more appreciated than the returns offered.

When it comes to movie deals, barters are considered fair. But terms are discussed on a project basis. For Sia, Om Shanti Om was an opportunity to get noticed, so they paid the makers Rs 30 lakhs to create jewelry for the stars. As Malhotra puts it, “We wanted recognition, so Om Shanti Om was a paid deal. The jewelry line worked extremely well, in fact it was a complete sell-out. Plus, we also got lifetime rights to use the jewelry and to market it online for NRIs.”

For Tanishq, celebrity visits and credits do the trick. Says Tanishq marketing manager Anchal Jain, “We usually get the credits in the movie and we then get the stars to pay three to four visits to our stores at which time we call the media. This way, more people show up at the stores. This translates into sales for us.”

Believing that Bollywood is the place to be, Gitanjali had a budget of almost Rs 100 million (Rs 10 crores) in 2007 solely for films and in-film branding. Such is the power of our film stars. Tanishq’s Jain also agrees that investments run quite high when it comes to movies, “The cost of materials involved is relatively high. The semi-precious stones normally used in period films are expensive and we use the best so as not to let the pieces look shoddy,” Jain says. Continued… < Page Break >

Jewelry brands like D’Damas ensure that the movie looks spruced up with all the glitter in place. But how does the in-film branding help these brands? According to Gitanjali’s Gandhi, “It increases footfalls in our stores.” The aspirational quality of these movies tends to influence the target audience for jewelry brands. Moreover, who would not want the earrings that Deepika Padukone wore on her debut launch in Om Shanti Om?

For Sia, it increases sales as well. Malhotra says, “The jewelry showcased in the movies acts as a hook for people and once they come to our store they see our entire collection and invariably end up buying more than just what Aishwarya wore in Devdas.”

Gitanjali, which houses many sub-brands, believes that their most popular Bollywood jewelry comes from D’Damas and Asmi. “We wouldn’t even get noticed if we went promoting our sub-brand like Sangini or Desire. But when the name reads D’Damas, it acts like a reassurance. People then want to get associated with a name like that,” says Gandhi.

All said and done, movies seem to be doing quite a bit for jewelry brands. Sales figures are higher, profits are increasing but brands are unaware what share of this pie can be solely attributed to Bollywood. Gitanjali’s Gandhi says, “It’s difficult to say what role Bollywood has played in increasing our profits as we use so many more modes of promotion. Tying up with movies helps but I’m not sure to what extent.”

At the moment no new projects are lined up for any of these brands, but they are all positive that the coming year will bring by more opportunities for them to shine in Bollywood.