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Sony Max reaps benefits from strategic digital marketing

Its Facebook and Twitter pages have seen tremendous growth in two years thanks to differentiated movie and IPL promotions, and a three-part TVC campaign made by JWT

Sony Max reaps benefits from strategic digital marketing

The movie channel’s page on Facebook and Twitter have seen tremendous growth in two years thanks to differentiated movie and IPL promotions, and a three-part TVC campaign made by JWT

Sohini Sen | Mumbai | October 22, 2013

At a time when every company is slowly but surely waking up to the boon that is digital marketing, Sony Max has had tremendous success in the field in the last two years. Max has seen a humongous jump in the number of followers and fans on the two most popular digital platforms – Facebook and Twitter. While in 2011 its Facebook fans were 15,000, it quickly jumped to 5,50,000 in 2012. Twitter followers went from 995 to 3,400.

The reason behind this success is a simple shift in strategy. Max decided that it was time it changed its focus from just focusing on movies to actually being the 'hub' for everything related to Bollywood.

Vaishali Sharma

"Digital is a very important part of our strategy. It is a way to communicate with our audience and connect with them in a unique way. It is an interactive tool, modified to suit the marketing needs," said Vaishali Sharma, Vice-President, Marketing, Max.

Max promoted movie festivals heavily during the first year. For the Rajnikanth and James Bond movies, a series of animated videos were made and put on YouTube. Movie premieres of Aarakshan, Paan Singh Tomar and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan were big properties for the channel and they used digital media to create contests and engage with the audience.

"Max has a three-point strategy. First was to strengthen the brand 'Max Deewana bana de'. Second was to drive people to the channel; and third, to be seen as an important harbour for all things Bollywood. Through these steps we managed to get there," added Sharma.

Max also created special items after reading into the nature and scope of films. November 2012 saw their social media sites inviting more likes and comments, thereby increasing engagement.

IPL 2012 was heavily promoted on the digital platform. Movies were not ignored as premieres for Ek Tha Tiger and Rowdy Rathore went side by side with Twitter contests.

However, the highest jump came in the November 2012 to September 2013 period. The Twitter number increased phenomenally to 1,17,314 followers and Facebook fans stood at 12,38,521 people.

2013 was the year when Max decided to extend the brand logic of 'Deewana bana de'. The channel launched a campaign named ‘Jahaan Dekho…Wahaan Deewana’. The campaign comprised three TVCs conceptualised by JWT which show the movie buff in each of us. The 'deewangi' or 'madness' factor is shown through the humourous TVCs. While the first one shows a daughter hoping for a filmy response from her parents on confessing her love for a boy from a different religion, the second TVC is about a young boy full of energy who wants to avenge his father's death and is not ready to believe that his father died from a heart attack. The third TVC shows a police inspector thinking about movies even during a serious crime investigation.

The commercials were released online on the same day as on television and went on to become viral in a sense.

"We as a country are so much into Hindi films that they are very much a part of our DNA. The brief was to integrate that with the brand thought of 'Deewaana bana de'. But unlike earlier versions, this year we took it to the next step by moving into the consumer's life. The audience here is expressing their deewangi themselves," Sharma pointed out.

To amplify Max's reach, the 'Sirf dekhne ka nai' campaign was launched online. There were special dance routines choreographed and uploaded on YouTube. IPL around the season was well promoted, thereby helping to organically build a huge fan base. Max Facebook fans crossed the 1 million mark around this time. Live tweets during Extraaa Innings, special hashtags created like #EIT20 all helped in this regard. Movie promotions did not take a backseat as Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Talaash and Aashiqui 2 were all promoted through different quizzes, tweets and engagements.

Max has used social media to its advantage and reaped the benefits. Whether it has an impact on the actual viewership of the channel is now to be seen.

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