Baahubali 2 created history. It became the first Indian movie to collect > 500 crore (almost $100 million) in 3 days!
But it was not just due to the high quality content of the movie.
S. S. Rajamouli’s (director of Baahubali) last movie ‘Eega’, even though highly appreciated for its content and visuals, had failed miserably at box office. One of the main reason was – marketing of the movie could not attract distributors and audience.
So he wanted to promote Baahubali 1 & 2 heavily. He wanted to make sure, that all the hard work is supported by equally huge and strategic marketing. The creative director wanted that the marketing should also be creative and effort should be to reach out to Indian Audience and not to just follow what other movies doing for marketing.
They used some really smart tactics
For Baahubali 1, a lot was spent on offline promotions. There were hoardings everywhere.
But the cost of Baahubali 2 was already very high. Almost 15 Cr was spent for the look of the lead actors only. So they wanted to spend smartly & focus on maximising the ROI on every penny spent.
Here are the tactics they used and the reasoning behind them:
Use PAPERCUPS to promote conversations about the movie
7 days before release, Baahubali 2 marketing team used Gingercup.com to spread Baahubali papercups in huge number of colleges, corporate offices, railways stations & airports. The campaign was done in many Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities across India. Idea was to get people to talk about Baahubali.
Coupons by PAYTM, BOOKMYSHOW helped even more in pre bookings.
This led to huge number of pre-bookings of tickets in those locations.
Every 100 cups (cost Rs. 150) in strategic locations with targeted audience resulted in 5X booking value.
Bus Branding – Same visibility as hoardings at 1/5th the cost
Bus branding is great for mass visibility. And it is a cost effective alternative to hoardings.
The cost of bus advertising is Rs. 7000 – 10000 per bus. This is approx. 1/5th the cost of hoardings. But gives the same amount of visibility.
Again, this was a very smart move by Baahubali Marketing team.
IPL : Turn problems into opportunities
Baahubali 2 was released mid way of IPL season (very popular cricket tournament in India). Because of IPL, no good movies were released in that period. Baahubali team used this opportunity to get more visibility.
They opted for huge WHOLE THEATRE HOARDINGS almost everywhere. Specially single screen theatres. Due to lack of any major release, they got about 2-3 weeks of continuous visibility outside theatres.
As you can see in above image, they had average 20 – 30 feet hoardings on top of theatres & at least 2 per theatre.
They had around 10000 hoardings in the country with an average visibility of 5000 per day.
In 20 days they must have got approx. 5000 X 10000 X 20 = 100 Cr Views!
Switch hoardings for maximum visibility in low cost
Baahubali team went for very creative rotational hoarding strategy. Promotions were run for 1 month in entire city with main hoardings with maximum impact and visibility time. But the hoardings were given just 5-7 days at each points and thus keeping the marketing budget in check.
To cover 70-80 hoardings in a city like Delhi NCR easily Rs. 85-90 lac is spent. But while the Baahubali team showcased the Hoardings only for Limited time and reduced the cost within 20 Lacs for all hoardings.
Engage the youth with a game
They created a game to capture the minds of millions of youth. Game was developed by Bengaluru based Moonfrog game studio. Mark Skaggs, the chief developer for the Baahubali game had also developed Farmville and Cityville in the past. Moonfrog was also the developer of Teen Patti – most downloaded Indian game app for a long time.
PRE BOOKINGS (Before the release)
Tie Ups with Bookmyshow.com, Ticketnew.com & PAYTM Movies were provided with special coupon codes for multiple bookings.
Charging Premium for Tickets to encash the Hype
Baahubali 2 ticket prices were sold at premium of 20-35% Premium across metros and about 50% higher rates in smaller towns.
So, average ticket costs in Delhi, is Rs. 300 and the same tickets of Baahubali were sold tickets at 425.
Free Publicity + Additional Revenue = Awesome!
Animation Series on Amazon Prime
Planning Animation Series on AMAZON Prime was one more masterstroke! Amazon prime was seemingly a new entrant in Apr –May 2017 but was sure to make it big in 2017. Baahubali makers tied up to create one more engaging revenue generating media.
A Book to start with was one of the great coordinated effort with the Writer – Anand Neelkantan
Planning a TV Series – just for royalty!
Understanding that Sony India secured TV rights, Baahubali makers planned a full fledged TV Series on the lines of MAHESHMATI and RISE OF SHIVAGAMI the book on Star Plus Hindi. This was one more money spinner for Baahubali team, however, not as prominent as other media but also keeping faith with Star Team.
Brand Endorsement and Sponsorships
Brand Associations with TV Ads : McD, Britannia, OPPO F3, Nestle Munch, Bajaj Almonds Hair Oil etc
** Each brand paid up about 1 -4 Cr depending on deliverables.
Merchandise for Baahubali 2
Globally, licensing and merchandising (L&M) of Sports Teams and Movies have been a huge hit for some of the franchisee. However Indian movies have failed so far in merchandising business, earning less than a percentage point of overall revenue.
Baahubali looks to breaks this trend and bring in a lot of cash for next couple of years through L&M. Baahubali brand utility products are now available in the range of Rs 199 to Rs 2,000.
Status Quo Brand took the rights for creative t shirt prints! Also launching official Baahubali merchandise on sale on – www.shop.Baahubali.com and www.paintcollar.com/baahubali
They also tied up with with Black White Orange for merchandise sales.
Engage on Social Media
Facebook, Twitter & Youtube were the mainstream media for their marketing. Facebook Page peaked @ 3.5 million likes and another 264k Followers on Twitter!
Youtube reached 60 million plus views before the release date of Baahubali 2 in Hindi Version. Another 40 Million views for Telugu, 17 million views for Tamil and 12 million views for Malyalam on Youtube. The unique reach of these views stood 20 Million plus viewers.
This was astonishing.
Combined Social media effort of actors Tamannah Bhatia, Rana Dugabatti, Prabhas, Anushka Shetty were strategically managed during the promotion. A massive force of digital Baahubali attack reached about 10 million followers before release.
Have you seen some other unique marketing strategies by other movies? Do share in comments below.
The article would not be complete without complementing the great work by Baahubali 2 marketing team and super creative Director and cast of BAAHUBALI 2 for creating a MUGHAL-E-AZAM of 2017 and an AVATAR of INDIA.
Sunil Chandra Saha
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