Thappad Movie Marketing: A campaign-oriented strategy

Thappad Movie Marketing

Thappad brings forth a gripping tale in an era where domestic violence on screen is trivialized. How’s the movie marketing done on a sensitive yet powerful topic? Here we go.

The movie marks the second collaboration of Taapsee Pannu & director Anubhav Sinha, this time, bringing the issue of domestic violence to the fore. At a time when such situations are trivialized on-screen, Thappad is a powerful take in the direction.

With a sensitive topic, movie marketers leveraged social media tactically and laid down an array of campaigns.

Decoding Thappad Movie Marketing

With contests and song challenges usually doing rounds, Thappad has gone out and about to do simple campaigns to create an impact upon an issue that is usually normalized in India.

The social media partner for the movie is TheSmallBigIdea (TSBI) agency.

Here’s tracing the movie marketing for the film.

Meet Amrita Pritam

The lead actress introduced her character on her Instagram handle prior to the trailer launch.

Aisa Hua Kyu?

Thappad movie marketing strategy revolved entirely around creating conversations. The marketers emphasized the fact that it is more important to ask the right questions and create awareness.

Taapsee Pannu went on record to say that 3 out of 5 women in India go through domestic violence but think it is a part and parcel of a relationship. The first step towards tackling domestic violence is to pose the right question – Why did it happen? a.k.a ‘Aisa Hua Kyu’ asked by the protagonist, Amrita’s father himself. 

Likewise, the agency released a set of posts or dialogue snippets as a point of view from every character regarding Thappad.

Pre-buzzing the Trailer

In an initiative to engage with the audience, the social media team executed a ‘Thappad Vox Pop’ just prior to the trailer launched. They asked people how is it to be slapped in a relationship. The activity garnered mixed responses stirring conversations leading to the trailer launch.

Trailer Launch

Trailer #2

Just post the trailer release, the marketers launched the Thappad trailer #2. The setup to the trailer remained the same but with a twist in the end. Here, the viewers witnessed Taapsee urging people to ‘Report the Trailer’ as a piece of violent content, a stand against the cause depicted in the movie by not consuming content that portrays domestic violence.

While the strategy revolved around making the trailer the most reported video on YouTube, this also implied the trailer views increasing with each report.

Thappad Trailer received about 1.2 million views in two days. It was reported that Trailer #2 had to be taken down in 24 hours due to the audience response.

Thappad pe Disclaimer

There are disclaimers in movies for smoking, alcohol, and even animal abuse but not anything against domestic abuse. Executed by Dentsu Webchutney, ‘Thappad pe Disclaimer’ campaign urged viewers to sign a petition to change this aspect and called upon the audience to declare that domestic abuse is not ok and deserves a disclaimer as a strict ‘no’ to such an action.

The primary media vehicle used for the initiative was YouTube – with Taapsee’s voice on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter being used to amplify the idea further.

Aalap Desai, Executive Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney said, “Two in every four women are subjected to some form of domestic abuse, whether it is mental or physical. Yet, in Bollywood movies, which condition and shape our worldview and behavior, we have such scenes that the audience watches without batting an eyelid. We wanted to change that.”

Hence, the objective of the campaign, Desai explained, was to sensitize the society about domestic abuse, whether it’s emotional or physical leveraging Bollywood influencer via a campaign.

Another part of the strategy behind the initiative was to bring about people’s participation. “Through this campaign and the petition, we wanted to give people a platform – Change.org, to bring the change they wanted in the Bollywood landscape”, highlighted Desai.

But do such cause-based advertising initiatives bring any impact? The agency states that such campaigns are effective not by numbers but as the conversation-starters, to begin with. 

“The beauty, of Domestic Abuse Disclaimer for Thappad, is not about changing things overnight but beginning a process of change.”, Desai said. 

Dentsu Webchutney reported Video Views received for the campaign to be 276,896 and Petition Signatures garnered – 155,203 that is expected to rise with the movie release.

Also read: Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan Movie Marketing: a ‘Zyada’ message to remember?

Thodi Thodi Galti Sabki hai

The movie marketing strategy revolved around not just the issue of domestic violence but the mindset of the society behind it.

Valentine’s or Violentine’s?

Conceptualized by TSBI and Trigger Happy, a parody video starring Taapsee Pannu was quintessential to being like a satire on arranged marriage meetings highlighting the core message of the movie during Valentine’s day.

21 Thappado ki Salami

A week prior to the release, Taapsee Pannu shared Ikkis Thappado ki Salami – a strong speech on the unfair gender bias and against all the potential set of discriminatory remarks women face in a relationship.

Ek Tukda Dhoop Song Release

Dialogue Snippets

As hard-hitting as the theme of the story are the dialogue promo posts to keep the buzz alive.

Nahi Maar Sakta

S*** Happens

Brand partnerships:

1. Snap Me with Taapsee Pannu

Taapsee Pannu made her debut on Snapchat in a candid one-on-one conversation with ‘Snap Me’, answering all the queries of her fans.

2. Pee Safe

Pee Safe, a personal hygiene and wellness brand in India, collaborated with the movie. A video featuring Taapsee went live ahead of International Women’s Day 2020 that trended on various social media platforms as #BeSafewithPeeSafe 

3. Prega News

Actor Taapsee Pannu joined the brand’s campaign #ImWithYellow by saying, “Because yellow as a color stands for the health of the baby and not its gender’”, in-line with the thought of gender-discrimination in the film.

Content Partnerships

1.Radio Mirchi Punjabi

2. iDiva

Be like Amrita

Critics response

Support for Thappad

As the Thappad hashtag trended on twitter today with the movie release, it garnered support from across celebrities and organizations standing up against domestic abuse.


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