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With 'less is more', PK piques interest

Keeping TV largely at bay, the film's marketing has been a series of clever instalments

Urvi Malvania  |  Mumbai 

Apart from creating an intrigue around the much anticipated PK, the movie's team is going all out to leverages the coming together of the team that also made the runaway success 3 Idiots.

Actor Aamir Khan, producer and director (also co-producer) return as a trio after the 2009 flick based on one of Chetan Bhagat's books.

Hirani had earlier said, "I want people to go and see it in the theatres but the follows a 'less is more' philosophy. We do not want to bombard viewers with information. The idea is to show enough to the viewer to create intrigue about the film."

  • Attention-grabbing poster to launch the campaign
  • Increase curiosity on social media by releasing character information
  • The first Hindi film this year to be visible on the YouTube desktop masthead, positioning the film prominently in the movie category on YouTube
  • Extensive use of regional newspapers
  • Twitter audio card used to promote the songs and dialogues
  • Theatrical trailer released during Diwali, when the audience flocks to the theatres
  • PK cut outs in theatres to let audience get clicked in the ‘PK look’
  • Topical communication like more about Chota PK – containing Aamir Khan’s childhood images but with the PK theme on Children’s Day

The team has already started sharing enough to make less be more. To be released on December 19, it is already being billed as one of 2014's most anticipated films, produced by Chopra and Hirani, in association with Disney India's

Less being more
The team started with its 'less is more' approach with the first poster, also published on major dailies' frontpages, that depicted Khan on a railway track, in the middle of a desert, with only an old transistor to strategically cover himself up. It led to a lot of engaged curiosity and chatter online. The poster itself generated enough earned media for the team, with viewers sharing and commenting on it.

The launch of the film's music too harked back to the imagery from the first singular poster.

A limited edition of audio cassettes with only the song Tharki Chokro were distributed among the media.

Small town looks
For the release of the poster in print media, PK's marketers focussed not just on the metro-centric English newspapers, but equally on regional publications.

"It's important to note that the movie has been tracking well right from the first poster launch but what is key is that the movie has sustained good levels of curiosity without activating the TV media plan or even putting out the first song in the public domain," says Amrita Pandey, VP and head, marketing & distribution, studios, Disney India.

Pandey says that the strategy was to reveal the various looks of the lead character, Khan's PK, which by themselves would tell a story each and also introduce other key characters. The various looks from the movie are being released online as posters every couple of weeks. Anushka Sharma and Sanjay Dutt's characters were also part of the reveals.

"We also used motion posters, besides regular posters, every two-three weeks instead of just sharing the theatrical teaser on digital platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The consumption of these were immediate and and resulted in a higher reach and engagement simultaneously. As a result, the response to the introduction of Bhairon Singh (Dutt) and Jagat Janini (Sharma) were well received," says Pandey.

The motion posters that revealed Sharma's look was launched on instant messenger, WhatsApp. Using a designated number of the fictitious PK, participants had to for a group of 10 on Whatsapp to receive the poster before it went live on any other digital platform.

TV's day off
One of the highlights of the marketing strategy for PK has been the late entry of the television medium. At every stage of the promotions, digital has been at the forefront, be it the release of the posters or the launch of the trailer and songs/dialogue, fostering a sense of exclusivity among the audience.

For its audio creatives, instead of relying only on radio to deploy them, made use of the Twitter Audio Card feature. The microblogging site allows users to play music through this feature (the music is linked to through a tweet) while browsing the internet. It was introduced in October this year and became the first Indian (Twitter) account to put this feature to use.

The Twitter audio card was used to release the audio of the teaser to reach those users who liked engaging with content in the Twitter universe.

Continuing with the less is more dictat, the audio creative was geared to throw light on the dialogues of the film.

Apart from Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Whatsapp, the film also made use of portals like For the first four since its launch, the PK trailer was the first thing every user would see if they visited, giving the film visibility among a highly relevant audience.

At the movies
Taking a similar route for in-cinemas advertising, the team has tied up with multiplex chain, PVR, to introduce another song from the film. The song was played exclusively in PVR properties across the country.

At single screens and multiplexes, movie-goers could try out different looks of the lead character by posing with standees installed there. This is reminiscent of the three seats that were installed at many malls and movie halls during the promotions. The theatrical trailer itself was launched on Diwali to cash in on the movie-going audiences trooping in to watch the blockbuster release, Happy New Year.

"The country's movie-going pattern is highest during festivals and most preferred during Diwali where the whole family is out to consume cinema, and we wanted to ensure that the teaser reaches a wide audience of not only the youth but also families (the trio of Hirani, Chopra and Khan often make films for an audience aged 6-60 yrs). Hence, we launched the teaser on Diwali and ensured play outs of the same across the country in all theatres, multiplexes during that weekend," says Pandey.

First Published: Sun, December 07 2014. 22:40 IST