A Marketing Mind Behind Bollywood Promotions

Bollywood for Indians is ‘Eternal love’, a conditional affection which people have towards movies and their favorite superstars. For everyone alike, Bollywood stands for ‘entertainment’ – a world of fascination, an alternate world, which people can experience on a 70mm screen and enjoy with their near and dear ones. Little do they know about the world that exists behind the screen, working tirelessly round the year for bringing that entertainment to everyone’s life.

Bollywood, from a commercial perspective, may not seem to come across as a conventional ‘business’. Some may even think that it draws most of its fate from the intuitive decisions made by the creative intelligentsia, aloof from statistical analysis and hardcore number-crunching that otherwise govern the every-day actions of modern businesses. But at the end of the day, when the screens are drawn, what remains is the mark that the movie would have made at the box-office. Bollywood is, thus, a number-oriented business after all

A movie can be either critically creative or a commercial success nevertheless a good experience is what people look for in it. In today’s world with the advent of social media, the word of a good/bad movie spreads faster than forest fire. Hence it is important as a smart marketer to sell the movie before delivering the product.

From traditional posters, trailers, teasers, sneak peaks, commercials, customer engagements and to even building websites and games – they have done it all. Gone are those days when marketing was associated with painting hoardings. Today marketing budgets are as heavy as their production costs (Around 30-50%). But down the line, a smart MBA chap sitting in a production house stumbled upon digital marketing. Thus evolved a cost effective yet impactful method to promote movies.

If you think this article is for Bollywood, it’s not, they are not going to read it because they ll be busy obsessing with new scripts and stories. This is for you to take a step back and observe with unbiased evidence that digital marketing can work.

A marketing technique works best when people do not realise they are being influenced and holds a unique position in their mind. Classic examples of these are trailers and songs that are released on YouTube. It gives them an idea of the movie but doesn’t give away any of it. This creates curiosity in the minds of the viewer. Releasing this on the digital platform, provides better reach and also good word of mouth.

Currently Trending – Raabta –  Raabta Trailer & Raabta Title Song featuring Deepika Padukone

The title song was released 5 days ago. It currently holds around 15 million views while the trailer hold around 28 million views released 2 weeks ago. Is this the power of stardom or smart marketing? A combination of both perhaps. They continuously kept marketing the song on their Twitter page.

But there are other marketing techniques as well that were built and integrated across all platforms digitally (360 degrees).

Lets take an example of the Ghajini movie. The movie’s production cost was 500 million however, it raked 2 billion in the first two weeks. This movie created history in movie marketing and is still the most talked about case.

The launch of the look of Aamir Khan in this movie was done across multiple platforms including his blog, webpages and articles. These webpages were specifically created for Ghajini to release sneak peaks and first looks. Within a few weeks of the launch, the Ghajini hairstyle was trending across India.

Further, they introduced websites such as wallofsuspects and findghajini which revolved around the plot of the movie.

But they dint stop there, on the day of the release of the movie, the first ever 3D PC Game was launched in India. They earned 40 million for gaming rights and inspired other movies such as RaOne also to launch such games.


Another beautiful example of Integrated marketing campaign was Shahrukh Khan’s movie Fan. To start with, they started with the first look trailers of the movie launched on YouTube which was an instant hit. They then launched a series of fan videos titled ‘Tu Nahin Samjega’ which was about the die hard Shahrukh Khan fans.

Soon enough they launched a teaser of the movie with Gaurav (SRK’s fan in the movie), which created enormous buzz and fans following suit, started uploading videos of their own.

They also launched a contest along with Yepme with the twitter handle of #iamfan, where fans would get a chance to feature in Yepme’s logo, SRK Trivias and countdowns before the movie was launched. These campaigns created a sense of belonging and association with the movie, before the release. The movie spent around 200 million in marketing alone (Total of 850 million production costs) and collected 1.4 billion worldwide.

Some other notable mentions were:

Drishyam which carried out a campaign which encouraged users to solve the plot of the movie. They released the following clip which put the question on the viewers mind and aroused curiosity




Following all this came Bahubali – the conclusion. Its suspense of Why Kattapa killed Bahubali was the most searched on google. So as a movie, it had created a compelling curiosity in the minds of the viewers, but they dint stop there. They went on to launch the first look, trailer and subsequent posters of the movie with counting of the days before release on twitter and their facebook pages.


But are movies the only one doing marketing? What about serials?

Sarabhai Versus Sarabhai – This was the most loved comedy show for ages and people have a nostalgic sentiment about it. It could air on TV again and people would sit glued to it, but its making a comeback as a web series. Did this make you think why?

Hotstar has two types of content – free and premium (currently priced at 199 per month)

Now if Sarabhai were to be launched on premium, people are not going to think twice about Rs 199 and buy it, while Hotstar has more subscribers it also makes subscription revenue.
But they are not only being smart on this front, theyre being smart marketeers and coming up with quirky ways to grab your attention with minimal spend through digital marketing and customer engagement.

They created an Episode trailer which would remind you of all the characters and at the same time engage you in suggesting the name for the relaunch

They then came out with a set of posters which were again nostalgic yet new jokes creating more curiosity and the feeling of “I-can’t-wait-for-it”.

Bollywood is an emotion in India. A famous saying goes “ During recession there are three things that would always strive in India – Politics, Marriages and Movies”. And till it strives the scope for marketing in movies will strive and digital marketing is the way to go about it.


Currently pursuing MBA at SPJIMR, Mumbai. Previously worked at LatentView Analytics. Passionate about marketing, movies and music.

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14 thoughts on “A Marketing Mind Behind Bollywood Promotions

  1. Very well written Vidhya. Fantastic piece of information on how Bollywood is marketed. Keep it up

    1. I guess people who had least interest in bollywood n movies n no time for drama are overwhelmed by the way its actually written..but honestly it’s a well thought n perfectly sculpted piece of information to a novice ..beautifully presented!! Vidhya gud job..keep up the gud work..

  2. Great article. Touches the right notes and gives a lot of insights on how promotions in the world of cinema actually stacks up.

  3. A thorough analysis of what goes behind the success of Bollywood (or for that sake , any successful venture)
    Yes, catching the eye balls is the most innovative way of digital marketing.
    Good insight

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