The Sultan of social media?


Abiding religiously by the annual ritual, Eid has strictly become the turf of Bollywood’s Bhaijaan. Thronging the theatres around to relish their idol on-screen, with these coming years Eid has turned synonymous to Salman Khan for movie fanatics.

Commencing his streak back in 2009 with Wanted, Khan has glued Eid release under his name followed by Dabangg, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Kick, Bajraangi Bhaijaan, and now Sultan in 2016.

Lights, camera, social media!

It’s all out in the open now, social media and films share an intimate relationship going beyond “just good friends,” with changing times and desires. Bollywood now rooted deep into our culture, cinema as an art has become more demanding and with the audience steering their direction towards social media, movie marketers are requisite to do the same.

Social media is a generous window which now is massively leveraged by movie marketers as all their audience is right there, thus laying a fertile land for promoters. No matter if you’re Salman Khan, social media needs to be ticked off your To Do List for a healthy box office result, and it was obvious that Sultan would set its foot on social media ever since Eid 2015 and how.

Sultan planned to bombard their fans from all sides as social media was not sufficient hence they came up with a game themed around the film.

The social media trail

Freezing their release date a year back, Sultan became the talk of the town a year before by releasing the first look which managed to garner a million views in just a week of its release while the teaser released in April received a million views in just 12 hours. The film teaser also cracked the record of being the most liked Bollywood teaser on YouTube.

Soon after their Facebook page was dedicated to share shots of Khan brushing up his wrestling skills with the trainer named Larnell Stovall. The page gave glimpses of rugged Anushka Sharma training in wrestling, which got us the information that the lead actress would also be seen tussling in the pit.

If there’s anything Bhai’s fans look forward to after his shirtless scenes of course, are his catchy, convincing dialogues which become the individuality of his films and Sultan followed the ceremony by posting a dialogue of the movie which says, “Wrestling is not a sport. It’s about fighting what lies within,” – the sneak peek took social media by storm.

The world is aware of the storyline behind this movie, just to get their audience intrigued deeper in the world of wrestling, their social media page laid down the raw local terms used for sport in our country.

Sultan’s Facebook page became an open diary for the fans to turn pages at any given point; the page even took up the responsibility to dust off the rumors of Kriti Sanon being their leading lady and eventually introduced Aarfa Khan aka Anushka Sharma opposite Khan.

To add on to that news, the page also clarified about how the 50-year-old actor refused to use a body-double for all the fighting stunts which are the core aspect of the film.

Commendable, the page, unlike most films, was not crowded only as the film neared but kept its audience on its toes by keeping the thrill alive and active.

Team Sultan socially celebrated birthdays of both the actors using hashtags relative to the movie, December 27 saw a contest on Twitter titled, #HappyBirthdaySultan where they called out fans to wish their idol in the unique manner and stand a chance to win. Next was the birthday of #SultanKiJaan, Aarfa Khan aka Anushka Sharma when the page released a trailer dedicated solely to her.

Following his birthday was Valentine’s Day when Team Sultan showed the love between the lead characters with creativity and quirk.

Call them alluring or annoying, GIFs currently grab the entire spotlight on social media in comparison to videos and pictures. Sultan, evidently impressed with GIFs incorporated plenty in their social sphere making their content look impish and beguiling.

Recently, Sultan shared the exciting reviews pouring from all ends post the release of the movie.

Behind the scene, on the screen 

The perks of being a part of social media is that viewers get behind the scene glances of the film, one of them being Khan gifting Sultan titled black hoodies to the entire crew.

Anushka Sharma attempting to be a trendsetter outside her Haryanvi role began sharing her gorgeous looks while out for shootings or promotions, which by the way did not twin her character in the film.

Firstly, the actress posted a picture of her in Budapest travelling in public transport which was her home till the shoot period and later posted a picture of her on the last day of the shoot. After wrapping up the shoot, the team shared a playful, extremely excited video through Facebook yet again.

There was more in the #BudapestDiaries, the page shared a short video of a goofy Sharma and a serious Khan riding in the tram of the city.

Parallel with the page, the stars took to their personal accounts to promote bits and pieces of the movie.

#SultanTrivia became a part of the page where they posted few facts about the film, one of them being Salman Khan took a month and half to grow his moustache.

Hashtags, contests, and more

Apart from celebrating the birthdays with hashtags, the trailer launch on Sony channel had #SULTANTrailerOnSony tagged along with a short video of Khan.

As clichéd as they could get, one of their contests was taking a selfie while watching the trailer and the winner stood a chance to meet the stars. The trailer launch offline was shared through their Facebook page as short clips and photos of the event which itself garnered over 5.8k reactions.

As the release date came closer, there was no stopping with the hashtags. #BabyKoBassPasandHai their first song was released on May 30th using their title as the hashtag along with #SultanMusicOutNow, which did not need any interpretation and lacked wordplay.

The music release was tailed by a sassy contest which asked viewers ‘Apke baby ko kya pasand hai?’ keeping the contest the viewers thoroughly engaged and intrigued.

#NextSultanSong which was #JagGhoomeya yet again was released using a hashtag on June 7th. Keeping this romantic song in mind, the contest around it was also similar where netizens were asked to share their love stories like Sultan and Aafra.

The name of the third song was released with an awfully dazzling GIF that had a countdown. Keeping the engagement factor high, the release of the third song was pursued by another contest #440Volt which attempted to bring back the vanished charm of Dubsmash by asking users to post their lip-synched videos to the song, which somewhere was an outdated move.

Flooded by contests, #FightLikeSultan was one of the contests where viewers were asked to share their life challenges they battled.

Sultan coupled with brands to collaborate for a win-win situation where Timex India was one of the brands which commenced #SultanIsIRONMAN campaign; other brands to follow were Relispray, Paras, and Videocon.

Rio Olympics 2016

It’s no surprise that every Eid release of Khan somehow manages to make massive noise in the country, and keeping in mind his recognition, favoritism, and storyline of the movie in mind, Salman Khan was named goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Though this decision was met with both pessimistic and exciting approaches, Sultan’s Facebook page did not leave any stone unturned to promote the Olympics, more over the representatives of the country.

Let’s cheer for Manish S. Rawat #RioOlympics2016 #MakeIndiaProud

A photo posted by Salman Khan (@beingsalmankhan) on

Let’s cheer for Laxmirani Majhi #RioOlympics2016 #MakeIndiaProud

A photo posted by Salman Khan (@beingsalmankhan) on

Let’s cheer for Dattu Bhokanal #RioOlympics2016 #MakeIndiaProud

A photo posted by Salman Khan (@beingsalmankhan) on

Timely, the page took up the responsibility to introduce all the Indian participants in different fields and noticeably showing support towards them.

Subtle promotions

With everything happening on the face, Salman Khan also took up indirect passive means to promote his movies and stay on our screens.

The long-stretched controversy of the rape comment by Khan was also opinionated to be as a cheap promotional gimmick for the film.

The youngest member of the Khan family helped his uncle grab some spotlight. Recently Arpita Khan shared a video of Salman sharing an adorable moment with his nephew Ahil Sharma where he was seen playfully singing Sultan songs to his nephew.

To sum it up, movie marketing has become a piece of art which is an imperative aspect of any film, higher the engagement the better it reflects on the box office.

Only time will tell if Salman works his magic with his amazing Haryanvi accent or jaw-dropping abs in Sultan at the theatres. But for social media, it has managed to increase the shelf life of the movie drastically.


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