There are numerous things which decide how big a hit a movie can be. Gimmicks – Yes! Marketing and promotion gimmicks are one of the keys to a movie’s success.

Gone are the days when just a good story would have done it for the film. Nowadays, producers need to spend big on advertising and promotional campaigns in order to generate interest in the film. Most importantly, if the right words spread through the internet, then the film is almost guaranteed a huge opening day collection. To catch the audience by surprise, some movies have to change the way their promotional campaigns work. This results in a few out of the box ideas which really tickle the fancy of the audience.

Here are a few Bollywood movies which have generated interested through different promotional campaigns.

Ghajini (2008):
One of the many things that Aamir Khan did in order to get his iconic look for the movie was to get a complete buzz cut to suit the role of a mental patient. The look was perpetuated further when over 100 employees of Big Cinemas had shaved their head in the same manner on the day of the film’s release. Aamir Khan took one more step and decided that he’d give a few lucky fans the haircut himself. Van Heusen also partnered with the movie, and had a ramp walk in which many models had variations of Aamir’s look in the film.

3 Idiots (2009):
Another Aamir Khan superhit, ‘3 Idiots’, took a gamble with its promotional strategy. Since the main character of the film, Aamir’s “Rancho” goes missing for multiple years in the film, Aamir Khan decided to go missing as well. He announced to the public that he’d go missing for a few weeks and clues would be given out to the audience as to his whereabouts. Aamir, in disguise, visited multiple locations around the country in a span of 2 weeks in order to generate buzz. In fact, the first clue of his whereabouts was doled out to the audience by none other than Sachin Tendulkar.

Ra.One (2011):
Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Ra.One’ is known for spending a huge amount on its marketing campaign, which amounted up to 52 crore rupees. At the time, it was the highest ever amount spent on a marketing campaign. The team at ‘Ra.One’ paired with around 25 brands in order to promote the film. Moreover, a tie-in video game for the PlayStation3 was introduced as well.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011):
One of the biggest Bollywood hits of all time, this buddy road film had a unique promotional event in which the ensemble cast of Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin all went on road trips themselves. The media travelled with the actors as they started the trip from Mumbai and went to various locations nearby. The driving was done by the actors themselves.

Kahaani (2012):
Vidya Balan’s highly successful film, ‘Kahaani’ had a very direct approach to the marketing. Vidya actually seated herself on the ticket counter and gave the tickets to the moviegoers. Moreover, she dressed herself up in her character and went around Khar railway station, with a prosthetic belly. She had a sketch of her character’s husband and handed it out to the people, asking for his whereabouts. Vidya definitely merged reel and with real in this case.

Aashiqui 2 (2013):
One of the biggest romantic hits of the year, ‘Aashiqui 2’ had a particular scene in which the two leads were romancing under a jacket, taking shelter from the rain. The makers took cue from this and added mannequins in a few theatres around Mumbai, with the jacket covering the mannequins, which were in the same pose. The mannequins looked like a regular couple at the theatres romancing like the two leads. Even people watching ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ experienced and saw this in the theatres since ‘Aashiqui 2’ was slated for release a week later.

Dhoom 3 (2013):
Another Aamir Khan movie, ‘Dhoom 3’ took the unconventional route when it came to promoting the songs of the film. Yash Raj Films, the producer of the movie, decided to only release 30 second teasers of all the songs before the release of the film. All the songs were released only after the movie itself hit the big screen. Morever, Salman Khan also helped in the promotion by donning Aamir’s bowler hat in his show, Bigg Boss.

Bewakoofiyaan (2014):
The movie was produced by Yash Raj Films who decided to do something different for their promotional campaign. They started a contest called “Get a Job @ YRF”, which received numerous applicants from all over the country. The only twist here was that the final round of the contest was actually mediated by none other than the leads of the movie, Ayushmann Khurrana and Sonam Kapoor. The interest that this twist generated led to quite an opening day hit.

2 States (2014):
Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor starred in this romantic comedy film, which turned out to be quite a hit at the box office. For the promotional strategy, Alia tweeted a picture of a wedding card which, at first, made people think that she was announcing her engagement. In truth, the picture was actually an invitational poster of sorts which invited the fans to watch the ‘2 States’ trailer which was about to drop the next day. The tweet got many shares and retweets.

Happy New Year (2014):
This 2014 movie had an ensemble cast of Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani, Abhishek Bachchan, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff and Vivaan Shah. For the promotional campaign of the movie, the entire cast went to a world tour of cities such as Vancouver, London and Chicago. They gave live performances, in a tour known as “SLAM! The Tour”, and met various personalities such as the CEO of Google and Twitter. This entire campaign already raised around 200 crore rupees for the movie.

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Sanju (2018)
The marketing heads of ‘Sanju’ followed the fabled ‘Less is More’ approach. Little by little, they let out details of Sanjay Dutt’s life. The teaser for the film was released over two days, and played in the biggest channels around the Indian subcontinent. This created a lot of attention, and led to over 2 lakh hits for ‘Sanju’ in Google. TV appearances were stayed away from at all costs. Digital media platforms were used. They also brought in the #JaaduKiKhappi campaign, and got it to trend on Father’s Day. This was in relation to the story of the movie.
Sanju being a biopic, had a lot of real-life characters in it. The makers made sure to conceal who is playing whom. Thus, fans and media speculated various Jim Sarb playing Salman Khan in the movie, Boman Irani playing Sanjay Gupta, and Vicky Kaushal as Kumar Gaurav. This strategy worked wonders for the film, as people thronged the theatre to know what exactly transpired between Sanjay Dutt and the other A-listers of Bollywood.


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