Indian cinema was much less enamoured by brand placements in 2018 than a year ago.
In Bollywood, this practice dipped by 17% from 111 in 2017 to 93 in 2018, according to research by ESP Properties, a part of marketing services conglomerate GroupM.
Almost every other English- and regional-language movie industry also saw co-branding deals, where a movie’s imagery and star power combines with a brand’s reach and distribution, plummet.
Bengali surfaced as the sole regional language industry that displayed a rise in brand associations, boasting a mammoth 800% increase.
Yet, three out of every four brand collaborations for the year were with Hindi movies. The overall dip in Bollywood numbers may be attributed to fewer films being released in the language in 2018—118 versus 134 in 2017.
For Bengali movies, the opposite did the trick. Tollywood releases surged a whopping 240% from 32 in 2017 to 109 in 2018.
When it comes to promotions, audiences and makers are getting more sensitive to abrupt placements.
Veere Di Wedding, for instance, “came out as a rather aggressive specimen, having partnered with over a dozen brands including Amul, HSBC, Air India, Bharat Matrimony, Symbiosis, Lux, Uber, Apple, Tata Tigor, Bikaji Namkeen, Tumi, Mydala, and Videocon,” the report noted.
When it released in June 2018, social media was abuzz with criticism about its brand placement-to-content ratio.
As proof of advertisers’ wariness of irking viewers, both the screen time of brand placements and funding by campaigners per movie fell significantly between 2017 and 2018.