One thing India loves more than its hero’s is its villains. From the stand alone icons like Praan, Ranjit and AmrishPuri to the more recent outings of main stream actors like Rishi Kapoor and Sonu Sood in negative roles. Everybody loves to hate a villain. And why shouldn’t they? They are badass. They get the best dialogues and a lot of screen time.
Bollywood today realizes the importance of its anti-heroes and uses them to the fullest. At the end of the day it is the star cast that makes the news. The star cast is a huge selling point for movies, based on which audiences create an impression about the movie.
One of the movies banking on its unusual star cast to make noise for itself is Ek Villain, which is an action romance film produced by Balaji Motion Pictures and directed by Mohit Suri. After the success of Aashiqui 2, audiences were waiting for the next blockbuster from Mohit Suri.
The campaign was launched in April 2014 & the movie released on 27th June, 2014 with an objective of making Ek Villain the most talked about movie on social networks and ensure that the audiences are itching to know who the real villain is.
Another objective of the campaign was to create a buzz about the music of the film and ensure that there was enough talk about the unusual star cast across various social networks.
The campaign was launched and executed through Facebook, Twitter and a stand-alone website.
The campaign was launched on Facebook with this post:
Launching the trailer on the very next day to a great response from the followers:
Creating a buzz around the star cast and director to engage with audiences to share their opinions:
Continuously engaging with the audiences and giving them different inside looks of the movie:
Banking on the music of the movie, the songs were launched one by one and given individual importance:
Teasing the audiences and building a hype around the villain:
Bringing Twitter in the action:
Using YouTube as a secondary medium to give audiences a behind the scenes view of the movie to tickle their curiosity buds:
Naming the movie followers as Twillians, the campaign than moved to launching Twitter contests:
Using the smiley mnemonic which was associated with the movie, they built the ‘Villaintines Day’ app where fans could customize their profile pictures (for Facebook & Twitter). This added immensely to the amount of user generated content floating on the social networks.
During the release week, a micro site was launched with the aim to make it viral across networks & reinforce the release dates. It’s a simple three page site which acts as if the Villain has hacked into your machine and is deleting all your data.
Leveraging User Generated Content
Content has become the new currency of the digital world. Content is gold. However, creating content is time-consuming and often very expensive. UGC is a way to kill two birds with one stone. Get users to create the content for you, thereby saving you the expense and it grows your audiences and strengthens follower relationships.
The marketing campaign created multiple opportunities for users to create and publish their own content which helped the movie spread word about itself to their follower networks. People may ignore marketing content but tend to pay close attention to content their friends post.
Online Offline Integration
As much as online media is driving audiences to theaters, offline movie marketing is equally important to reach out to the population which is not yet connected to the internet. Ek Villain had multiple offline activities to promote the movie in different ways and the integration between the online and offline campaign has been really good.
Utilizing all the content generated due to offline promotions on their social pages and spreading word about these promotions to motivate customers to become a part of the promotion has been phenomenal.
Simple Yet Effective Website
On reaching 1 million fans, the campaign launched the website during the release week (as an incentive for the fans because of the love they showed for the movie) asking the fans to visit the site and find out the real villain thereby further leveraging curiosity about the film and building maximum interaction during release. That particular week heightened the interactions on Facebook and Twitter which led to revealing #EkVillain. The hashtag trended at number one on Twitter for more than 8 hours.
The site itself is straightforward to execute but does a great job at building the experience for the followers which is an extension of experience they had built on the various social networks.
Scope for Improvement
Gone are the days that Indian audiences no longer pay attention to design. Design is becoming a key part of campaigns and it often brings in the additional X factor needed to make a good campaign a great campaign.
The imagery, typography and colors used throughout the campaign don’t seem to follow any specific “design language”. The design gives the feeling that it’s been done in a hurried manner without much attention to detail.
Too Much Marketing?
Even though this is a highly debatable topic and everyone will have their opinions on it, I believe that the campaign ran for far too long. Starting promotions for a movie in early April that is set to be released end of June gives you 3 full months to market the movie. The audiences at the same time tend to get bored of the promotions. Unless you have an exceptionally well planned campaign and enough content to last that long, you should refrain from such lengthy marketing timelines.
Even after receiving mixed reviews, the movie has managed to cross the 100 crore mark. The music has received a lot of love from the audiences and has managed to become an exceptional hit. Receiving around 1.2 million likes on Facebook is a mammoth task for any campaign which was a result of going all out and using every weapon in its arsenal.
The movie was able to make multiple hash-tags trend on twitter across the campaign ensured high visibility for the movie and make being a villain sound cool.