Baahubali, the movie, has been the talk of the town for the past few years. Self-proclaimed as the largest Indian movie, it has been successful in breaking the boundaries of being a regional and south Indian film – a stint rarely that very few movies could achieve. Right from the scale and the budget, the film has been a bundle of wonders so huge that a cliffhanger that it left 2 years ago remained alive until the release of next part. Now that the second part is also out and creating records and wonders at the box-office, we would like to do an analysis of the most important part of the movie – the Story? No. the actors? No. IT’S THE MARKETING! It is no exaggeration that Baahubali has used marketing as the major weapon – both online & offline. It has used a marketing route different and quite longer than any other movie that the world has seen recently. A few dozen movies have hit the screen during the past decade with a similar story and similarly huge star cast (infact, the star cast wasn’t really popular outside the telugu and tamil regions before the movie). It was first the technical strength and then the marketing that made Baahubali a case study for both the VFX students and marketing minds. Here is our analysis of how Baahubali succeeded in marketing the movie quite in style in every step!
The Initial Marketing
After the huge success of Eega (aka Eecha, Naan Ee), Rajamouli proclaimed about him beginning his ‘dream project’. For his already established fans, that news was itself worked as a marketing plan. Eega itself being a movie with great technical values stood as a promo for what Rajamouli would show in his ‘dream project’, because ‘Brand Rajamouli’ was already a well-established brand. This helped in creating an initial branding and market for Baahubali in the telugu-speaking states.
The Casting & Guest Casting:
It was quite an intelligent step of Rajamouli to choose majority of cast from actors and actresses with popularity in multiple states. Unlike his previous films wherein he preferred sticking to telugu actors, unless necessary, he took actors like Nassar and Satyaraj who had more prominence in Tamil industry also. Also, Sudeep’s cameo added great brand value to the movie in the Karnataka regions. Although not with a ‘star’ tag, actors like Rana & Tamanna weren’t totally fresh faces in the northern part of the country helping the movie create a brand familiarity!
The Making Videos:
Watch them here:
Once the cast is declared and the shooting starts, most movies stay silent till the actual date of release comes nearby. But Baahubali as a movie never stayed silent inspite of the long shooting period. The Making videos released during the bdays of the artists, the funny videos about exam preparation / about HudHud done from the shooting spots kept the crowd always close to the history that was awaiting them. The ‘making’ videos gave a glimpse of the movie characters & sets and created great excitement among the audience.
The National Collaborations:
This is a point that took the brand to the whole next level. Collaborating with B-Town biggie Karan Johar helped Baahubali attract Northern eyes well. Inspite of the fact that Rajamouli’s earlier film ‘Eega’ was also a movie with great story and technical brilliance, the reason why it could never make big in bollywood is the not-so-good collaborations. Ofcourse the scale was way higher here.
The tweets and testimonials from Karan Johar, Bacchans etc before the first part brought the much needed limelight to this movie. Ofcourse, after the first part there wasn’t more publicity required in the entire nation.
The New ‘sub-title’:
Till Baahubali, even the best of Southern movies had a tag-line as a regional movie while going big. The concept of Indian movie wasn’t really known and to most of the people outside the country the category represents ‘Bollywood’ movies. But Baahubali broke all such barriers by calling itself “The biggest Indian Movie Ever”. Calling itself an ‘Indian Movie’ was one step and calling itself the biggest was another marketing leap, reflecting its grandeour though.
This also shows the impact a perfect tagline can have on a brand’s imagery.
Branding is a half-baked cake without proper PR. Baahubali never missed this point. With talks about the budget, sets, artists and teasers the team ensured to stay in news always. It’s surprising that inspite of so much PR the secret behind #WKKB never got leaked. But Baahubali needs definete appreciation for PR done right!
Social Media Management:
Social Media, in today’s world, is the best way to reach the audience. The way Baahubali has made use of social media to keep itself alive for a period of five long years is a worthy lesson for all digital marketeers. From live videos, competitions, testimonials, brand related stuff to local festival wishes, the official pages of Baahubali never missed out an occassion to stay in touch with the audience. The replies that the brand page gave to various Baahubali trolls and spoofs set a bench mark example for all other movie pages in the past and future. Even the artists of the movie were active in passing out a word about Baahubali and promoting it every now and then!
There never really was a great representation of Indian cinema in Comic Cons. Never really till Baahubali took the seat. The cast were well represented at all Indian Comic Cons where the actors spoke about the movie and also promoted the merchandise. Merchandise was also being sold on the official website of Baahubali and also on a few resource channels. The Baahubali Vinayaka that came out on one of the Ganesh Chaturdasis represents the hype that the movie has achieved.
The release of the back-story of Sivagami as a triology written by Anand Neelakantan, the release of Baahubali comics, the game app of Baahubali, Brand Baahubali has touched every possible market and proved itself flawlessly.
From BBC interviews to China Film Festival screening, the movie did go international and was screened at various important events of various countries. The best part was that everything was also ‘shown’ to the world well – Be it through great press releases or through FB live videos. Nothing is loved more in a country than something with the same roots that gets internation reputation in such a grand way.
Unlike some movies that get all required coverage through controversies, Baahubali never needed controversies for itself. But few things are unescapable. From police case regarding the name to negativity regarding ill-depiction of actress in part-1 to Satyaraj’s case, there were numerous contrversies that the movie saw during the pre and post release of the movie. The way the movie team reacted to these controversies (with silence mostly) is applaud-worthy.
While we, with all open heart, agree that the movie is a result of technical brilliance combined with a strong story (yet subtle), it is hard to not admit that the brand strategy is the ultimate winner of the day in making the brand Baahubali bigger than just-another movie!