Not long ago, there was a general feeling that the regional cinema was producing better films in terms of content than Hindi film industry but it was not being marketed properly. This led to a lot of good films losing out in their own backyard! With social media marketing becoming part of the marketing plan, the tide seems to be turning.

Just the way small budget films in Hindi market are using Social Media communication to create a huge impact, regional film marketing has taken up this route as well. Marathi film industry is not the one to be left out. With that, there has been an explosion of innovation the Marathi film industry has seen when it comes to digital/social media marketing in last one year or so! Producers are now open to the idea of creating story plots on social media that then connects back to the films plot. Not just that, films are now being marketed via social media way in advance. In case of the recent hit Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2, the social media campaign was started in April for a November release. Such kind of long duration promotion has been a norm in Hindi film promotion, but now the Marathi film makers are also adopting this route.

Long term promotions is not the only approach that these producers are taking. They are exploring new ways to connect with the audience. The need for this comes from the fact that the audience has seen innovations for Hindi, Tamil and English films. They want to have similar experience with Marathi films as well. Last year, Shreyas Talpade’s Affluence Movies made the news by becoming thefirst Marathi film producers to use Google Hangout for promoting their film Poshter Boyz! The success of the hangout prompted renowned Marathi tv channels and online content creators to undertake 2 more such hangouts with the film cast.

Everest Entertainment’s Happy Journey also did a Google Hangout last year with the lead actor, Atul Kulkarni. Happy Journey was also one of the few films which came out with a Facebook Application to promote the film’s theme of the relationship between a brother and a sister. The application allowed the users to send rakhi gifts during the festival since it blended with the theme of the movie. The gifts that were sent out were elements that were seen in the film too. The film also benefited a huge deal by the post release comments that were put on social media by other people from the industry.

This kind of story plot narration has helped the films connect with the audience way before the release. A clear example of the same was another of Everest Entertainment’s film, which they co-produced with Mihra Entertainment, the much talked about Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2. The film is the sequel to the 2010 hit Mumbai Pune Mumbai. The producers were very keen on rekindling the relationship that the franchise has establish during the first film. Since the characters were the main draw in that film, the social media plan was drawn with two profiles, of the characters from the film portrayed by Swapnil Joshi and Mukta Barve, as main channel
of communication. The Film page on Facebook was treated as a common discussion room much like a drawing room in a house, where everyone was invited to plan the wedding. Billed as the most awaited wedding in Maharashtra, the social media campaign then proceeded to make the entire state a part of the planning process. While the page itself has more than 20000 organic fans, the profiles have close to 1000 friends which added another dimension to the conversation being generated online. The film also undertook what was the First ever Marathi Meerkat, where the audience got a chance to meet the bride and the groom online and interact with them. The social media campaign panned out like a roller coaster journey of a wedding in making. The music launch was promoted as the sangeet while the first look was played out as the engagement of the characters where close to 150 audience members were invited. Even the success party was played out as the reception!

Films and film makers are now becoming more open with story based promotions. Gone
are the days when just city tours would be part of the marketing campaign. With the advancement of the promotion process and user engagement pattern, whatsapp communication is also becoming very popular. Most Marathi films now engage with audience via the messenger and feed exclusive content to them to keep the fan excitement high throughout the marketing period. Online process of engagement has surely taken the Marathi industry by storm and with more and more producers starting to look for a long term promotion of their films, this would surely be a way forward for the industry.