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How brands can leverage film festivals

Updated: Aug 18, 2018

The general perception that events are properties with short life spans is a largely misplaced belief. Often construed to be limited life promotional tools, the events at least the international film festivals are a different ball game. The belief is also not completely misplaced because no international film festival worth its salt in India has ever proved itself otherwise.

The reasons have been many. Primarily, the film festivals are either organised by the Governments Federal or States with no continuity, long term vision and passion to create great platforms which in turn invite eye balls and benefit sponsors. Most Film Festivals complete a charade of film selection, cast presentation, a catalogue, two dinners, a few Press Conferences and an award ceremony without realising that the film festivals can do much more and go far beyond where the award ceremonies, beauty pageants and other events can not reach. The other aspect has been a non-existent understanding of the needs of the sponsors and partners.

If the film festivals can reinvent themselves to an extent where they turn into mass events, everything is possible. It is indeed surprising to see some festivals fail in a country that is driver by Cinema and Cricket. This clearly means that the approach of the film festivals in serving their clientele, the film delegates has been lacking. Serving the same lacklustre film stuff year after year and going through the motions has been the bane of film festivals.

The brands need events to ride on, is a fact because the events are far cheaper modes of connecting with audiences than the conventional or social media. The film festivals specially connect with people well, at least outside India so well that they turn the attention of the whole city or the country wherever they are organised because Cinema has no barriers as the images, emotions, sounds, music speak for themselves far better than the languages. A Literature Festival may be a snobbish affair but a film festival is not. It has a mass base and hence a very fertile ground for brands to breed on.

A film festival is not a 7 day affair and not even a 100 day publicity campaign. Were one to search for a film festival even after five years anywhere on earth the brand riding on top of the Logo will show up. What does it prove. It proves that much after the film festival is over, the brand lives on for years and film festivals are searched even after their completion for years for various reasons. The images generated at the red carpets and cinema halls, lounges, presentation areas live on. Whenever an actor is searched for on internet, the brand posted right behind the actor shows up. What does it prove, it proves the basic contention that the life of a film festival is practically never over? While an award ceremony or any other event has a limited scope, a film festival especially and international one has a large and vast scope to carry the brands not only within the country but fare beyond and for a far longer duration that can run into years.

In a market driven economy, the most important concern worth dying for the brands is each percentage of the market share. This is where an international film festival can really help brands edge past their rivals smoothly. It helps the brand not only ensure long term, wide based visibility but also the right kind of association improving its brand equity a great deal.

Therefore, if organised intelligently and fine tuned well, the film festivals can be great platforms for brands to breed on and benefit with far lower investments.


Manoj Srivastava is the Festival Founder.

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