Guest Writer: Siddhant Puri, Assistant Manager – Movie Marketing at Saregama India Ltd.
The marketing campaign of Gully Boy began on 1st January 2019 with the first look release. It’s been more than 45 days since then and not a day has gone by in which I haven’t engaged with the film. I have either read something somewhere or seen a post on social media or watched a video on YouTube or just interacted with people about the film. Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt are two of the biggest stars in the country right now which is great from a film perspective. But, what’s also incredible is that the makers have managed to connect the film with the masses through their communication strategy: APNA TIME AAYEGA!
Let’s go through the major activities of the campaign and understand this better.
Asli Hip Hop – Trailer Announcement (7 weeks before release)
I was stunned when I got to know that Ranveer has rapped his tracks himself in the film. This was unexpected and it only cranked up my expectations. The track ‘Asli Hip Hop’ became an instant hit especially with the youth and the stage for the trailer launch had been set up well.
Trailer Launch (6 weeks before release)
It goes without saying that the trailer is the most crucial asset of a film because it is the first interaction of the audience with the movie. From a creative point, there’s a thin line difference between what to show and what not to show in the trailer and Gully Boy has managed to hit the bull’s eye.
One of the better trailers I have seen in recent times. From showing rap battles to glimpses of different tracks to the chemistry between the two leads to signature dialogues, the trailer has it all. My personal favourite moment in the trailer is when Ranveer’s sitting alone in the car and tells himself: Apna Time Aayega! The trailer emphasises on the fact that one needs to find his own voice. The trailer currently has more than 52 million views on YouTube.
Launch of Apna Time Aayega (5 weeks before release)
The track is so catchy and pumps you up everytime you hear it. The lyrics are so well written and get registered in your mind instantly. I have seen people go crazy everytime this song is played in parties or pubs I have been to in the last month. Ranveer’s infectious energy is unforgettable.
Apna Time Aayega played a very important role in building more conversations and in creating hype around the film. The song started trending on YouTube only after a couple of days of launch and it currently has 57 million+ views.
Gully Boy India Takeover: Driving user-generated content through Google Maps
Search ‘Apna Time Aayega’ on Google Maps and navigate to the nearest graffiti. Click your selfies with the Gully Boy graffiti across India and win a chance to attend the music launch event.
Gully Boy Music Launch (4 weeks before release)
Apna Time Aayega had lived upto its expectations and now people were curiously waiting to hear more tracks from the film. The makers organised a music launch event in Byculla on 24th January. The event was sponsored by Bira and attended by Ranveer, Alia, Divine, Naezy and other music artists in the film. Tickets were sold on PayTM and Insider and the show got sold out in a matter of hours. Infact, I tried booking a ticket for myself but couldn’t get one.
For a movie which is driven by its music, this was quite a unique promotional strategy adopted by the marketing team and it worked to a great extent especially in Mumbai. All tracks were out now and the overall conversations around the film had hit the roof.
You can watch the entire event on Amazon Prime Video.
Voice of the Streets – Series of 1 min videos (3 weeks before release – Movie Release)
‘Voice of the Streets’ is an original Gully Boy capsule series which consists of renowned rappers from the streets who have been featured in one minute videos in which the rapper is seen rapping a short piece which is written by himself. Each video in the series has a popular underground rap artist from different parts of India.
Launch of Gully Beat app (10 days before release)
Rap = Poetry + Rhythm
The makers launched the app Gully Beat, a ‘rap ka app’ in the true sense that can help you unleash the hidden rapper in you! All you need is a beat and the lyrics and the app will do the rest.
An initiative like this helps the film engage with hard core rap and hip-hop lovers who are an important part of the film’s target audience.
Gully Boy screening at the Berlin Film Festival (1 week before release)
The world premiere of Gully Boy took place at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival. Berlin is one of the most prestigious film festivals across the globe and the film received a huge applause post the screening. This was followed by a live energetic rap by Ranveer Singh for the packed audience to give them a taste of the experience he has had doing a film on the street rappers of Mumbai.
According to Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival, a regular at the Berlinale, “Gully Boy” elicited the “biggest cheers” he had heard in “20+ years” at the annual film jamboree here.
The film got rave reviews at the festival and the stage for worldwide release on 14th Feb had been set.
Snapchat AR Filter (13th Feb: A day before release)
Record your video and send in your entries and stand a chance to meet Ranveer & Alia. A simple and effective strategy to drive engagements.
Over the last 12 months, several Indian films have used this strategy for promotions and it has turned out well so far. Through the AR filter on Facebook, Sanju got 10 times the engagements on a regular filter.
Gully Boy has a vast slate of brand collaborations. There are several product placements in the film itself and there are a series of other brands who have been promoting co-branded spots across platforms.
Now, product placements can be tricky. From a brand perspective, you want your product to come across well in the film because that is what will increase awareness and generate recall. And, from a film perspective, you don’t want to try too hard to advertise a product because then it looks forced. In Veere Di Wedding last year, there were a plethora of in film placements and some of them looked forced. There’s a scene in that film where the 4 girls are chilling in an exotic resort in a foreign country and are seen eating Bikaji chips which was quite amusing.
What Gully Boy manages to do well is that most of the product placements connect well with the story which is why they don’t look forced. Truecaller is used as a verb by Alia to find out the name of the girl who’s flirting with Ranveer. Ranveer is seen wearing JBL headphones while recording his tracks. The pub Social is shown as the destination where the two rappers go for their first album meeting where one of them orders a Bira. Infact, Ranveer’s climax performance in the film also happens at a Social pub. Let’s have a look at all major brand collaborations of Gully Boy.
There were several other brands as well who organically started relating their content with Gully Boy. Well, because topical posts attract higher engagements. Have a look at some posts below.
There were other spoof videos as well which got a lot of traction.
And finally, a shoutout from the man himself: Will Smith
Will Smith shared a video on his Instagram. He said, “Yo Ranveer! Congrats man. I am loving what you doing. Gully Boy. have seen old school hip hop, seen hip hop all over the world. I am loving it. Go get it.”
Gully Boy has crossed the 50 crores mark at the Indian Box Office in the first 3 days of release and is performing exceptionally well in the Mumbai circuit.
Hope you enjoyed reading the article. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.