30 January, 2011

Movie mania-merchandising tie ups between movies and apparel brands

Movies and Bollywood rule the hearts of majority of Indian population. Clothes worn by Hindi film stars have always been a rage with the masses. The outfits worn by your favourite stars are no longer out of your reach. Thanks to movie merchandising, they are available at a store near you. Veer Zaara salwar suits, Bunty Aur Babli dresses, Parineeta Bengali sarees and blouses and Hum Tum stunning sarees became popular among the fashion conscious in the past. At present consumers are coveting clothing styles worn by the stars in Dostana, 3 Idiots, Kites etc. Movies are a trend setter and a catalyst for booming Indian retail trade sector as they help to push apparel sales with each popular film release.

Many movies tie up with selected brands or retail stores to launch a certain clothes line, wherein they can cash on the hype around the film release. Style statements by the stars are converted into business opportunity by these stores or brands. Film makers have taken note of the Indian obsession to look like movie stars and are using it as another way to promote their films by launching signature apparel collections from the film. Rafiq Gangjee, vice president (Marketing and Communications) of Yash Raj Films said, “We felt that the costumes worn by the stars in ‘Dhoom 2′, ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’ and ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ would have the greatest appeal amongst the target audience and hence developed a line of fashion garments.”

Clothing brands are not complaining either since most of the collection ends up with a sold out tag soon after they hit the racks. Customers have now started to pre-book their favourite styles. Van Heusen had tied up with Ghajini to create a collection of formal suits similar to star Aamir Khan’s look in the movie — the collection soon sold out. Fashion designer Neeta Lulla states, “I used to get so many requests to replicate Juhi Chawla’s blouse from Darr or the Nimbooda outfit from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, even Amrita Singh’s gold outfit from Aaina. So it’s nice that film-inspired clothes are becoming more accessible and cheaper now.”

During festivities, big brands and Large Format Stores (LFS) do try to catch the attention of the customers by introducing ‘sales’ and new clothes line. They know that it will be the ideal time for the customers to indulge. Therefore, big retail stores like Shopperstop, Pantaloons, Lifestyle try to introduce a special line dedicated to the movie release around festival season. Brands like Provogue, Reebok, Pepe Jeans and LFS like Shopperstop, Pantaloons, Lifestyle, have adopted this marketing and business strategy in the past which resulted in good sales and brand promotion for them and decent revenue generation and film promotion for the movie.

Shoppers Stop is India’s prominent retail group and operator of large format department stores, home stores, and specialty stores like Crossword, Mothercare, MAC, and hypermarkets. Bollywood merchandise retailing started at Shoppers Stop with Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Om Shanti Om, when the company started displaying apparels and products almost six weeks before the release of the film and around the occasion of Diwali, converting the retro style of Om Shanti Om into a business opportunity. A fashion show was also organized to introduce the clothing line in the market where stars like Shahrukh and Deepika walked the ramp to connect with the consumers. Apart from being affordable, the merchandise was extremely trendy, which arose a lot of interest in the consumers.

Shoppers Stop connected with young customers through movie merchandise based on films such as Love Aaj Kal, Karthik calling Karthik, Dance pe Chance and Om Shanti Om. Mr Govind Shrikhande, President and Chief Executive Officer, Shoppers Stop said, “Being market leaders and innovators in retail, Shopper's Stop has set many trends in the past. We are looking at film-based merchandise as a new way to connect with our customers, but not as a major source of revenue. Fashion follows the Bollywood cycle and is topical for 4-8 weeks; so film-based merchandise makes sense. It also helps that now film stars too have changed their opinion of brands; they respect the value of such merchandise and are willing to participate in the experiment.”

Recently, Pantaloons introduced T-shirts on the characters and philosophy of the movie ‘3 Idiots’. The customers felt empathy with the characters of the movie and could relate to the theme. Moreover the merchandise was not steeply priced so it became a hit with the younger consumers. “The collection offers shoppers an opportunity to partake of the magic of the movie as well as experience the style of their favourite stars. This association is one more step ahead in defining Pantaloons as a stylish and fashion forward brand.” said Mr. Sanjeev Agrawal, CEO, Pantaloons.

Provouge is one of the biggest retail apparel brands in India who has sold movie merchandise in the past for Rang de Basanti, Race, Prince etc. Wake Up Sid recently did a tie-up with Provogue to launch a trendy and stylish range of Provogue Wake Up Sid T-shirt Collection. The Provogue Wake Up Sid T-shirt collection is inspired by the mood of the film. For promotion, they distributed movie merchandise and gift vouchers signed by the stars. The latest movie inspired collection by Provogue is ‘Kites collection.’ The company decided that Hrithik and Barbara lead their advertising campaigns for this collection and arranged a special photoshoot in Maldives. The campaign has already got a lot of attention for their excellent chemistry and cool looks. Though the movie didn’t fair well, but the apparel line is making waves.

“A lot depends on how successful the movie is and how long it runs in theatres. Rang De Basanti was such a hit that our stocks got over almost immediately. Race took a little while to pick up but it did end up doing pretty well at the box-office and so the collection soon found many takers. Recent addition ‘Kites collection’ is doing well despite the box- office failure,” said Aarti Poddar, head of marketing at Provogue. Mr. Sanjeev Agrawal, CEO, Pantaloons said that the sale of licensed products of a movie, is directly linked to its box-office performance.

Brands are very choosy about the films that they want to be associated with. Aarti Podar said, “What’s most important is that the brand identity should fit with the movie. The movies are about the youth, who are also our target profile, so the clothes line should have a young appeal.” “When we plan a movie line, along with the style connecting with our brand, we look at the wear ability of the clothes and the popularity of the star cast,” says Vinay Bhatia, head of marketing and loyalty at Shoppers Stop.

According to industry estimates, though merchandising associations in India are still a small business opportunity, films can recover almost 10%-15% of the costs through this non-traditional revenue model. Movies and apparel brand association are here to grow as this has proved to be an effective business model for the apparel brands. Moreover, the consumer expectations have also increased in terms of getting a movie inspired clothes line. So wait for the next big release and revel in the style of your favourite stars with the movie merchandise.

Parimita Chakravorty

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