Jaane Tu…. Ya Jaane Na – An exercise in shrewd branding

The movie sky-rocketed to the top of the charts. Why? Did it have a plausible plot? Hardly? A riveting name? Far from it. Movies with song titles abound but very few end up making a decent sale. A star-studded cast? No.

So what was it about this movie that moved the audience so much that it topped the charts?

In a nJaane Tu Flickutshell, the story is about a group of friends whose friendship lasts unscathed beyond the college days. The group is dominated by Jay aka ‘Rats’ (Imran Khan) and Aditi aka ‘Meow’ (Geledina D’Souza), two inseparable individuals who don’t think they are in love until they start going out with other people. It’s a rehashed story as easy as they come in Bollywood. There are no twists and turns and the ending is predictable even for a three-year old.


Although the Indian consumer seems to have an insatiable appetite for romantic chick flicks, many such movies bomb at the box office. And yet Jaane Tu was able to break through the clutter.

There are no hot shots to enthrall the audience apart from cameos from veterans like Naseeruddin Shah, Parish Rawal, Arbaz and Shahbaz Khan.

What gives then? It’s the infectuous and the eccentric chemistry of the Group with all its nuances and innuendos that carries the day for the movie. The direction is good, but without this particular group dynamics, the movie would have fallen flat on its face. It’s the aura permeated by the characters that they’re really having the time of my lives which rubs off on the audience, and not just the antics of the hero and the heroine.

And therein lies the lesson for any marketer looking to make its BTL activity resonate with the heartstrings of the consumer. Remember the contrasting BTL activities of Minute Maid and Zong and how Zong came out to be more successful in spite of the fact that its presentation wasn’t as immaculate as the Minute Maid’s?

The same principle was at work there. Zong had hired a number of youngsters who appeared to gel well with each other and looked to be enjoying themselves. Their positive group dynamics projected a contagious aura on the consumers loitering nearby and they were drawn towards the group to inquire what the occasion was.

In short, any brand, and I mean any brand at all can hire a bunch of youngsters, make them dorn attires according to the brand essence of the brand to be projected, and then let them loose with the strict instructions to just enjoy themselves and be pleasant to anyone who approaches them. And Viola! You’ve got a successful BTL activity.

 Of course, you need to work upon the presentation and the embedding of the brand in that particular environment, but that in reality is a secondary consideration, contrary to what the BTL pundits would have you believe.

The movie didn’t offer only this lesson in branding. There were a few others as well. For instance did you notice how Coke was neatly embedded in one of the scenes? In fact it was so brilliantly and yet subtly promoted as a viable alternative to liquor when at the end-of-college party the fat friend dejected from Meow comes to the bar and asks for Coke – on the rocks – and the bartender responds with a straight face as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do.

The element so fascinating about this scene is that most of us as kids tried to emulate the drinking phenomenon we saw in the movies using Coke as an alternative. Coke was considered the best alternative because if you pour just a pint of it in the glass, it doesn’t look its usual color of dark brown but instead gives a yellowish orange glow, just what liquor looks like on the big screen.

This is not the first time brands have tried to embed neatly into the storyline of a Bollywood movie. Bachna Ae Haseeno had the main actor Rambhir Kapoor working on the development of a video game for Microsoft. So while Hollywood have had a great run embedding brands subtly into the plot lines for decades, Bollywood is just starting to copycat the phenomena like it is used to copying the entire scripts of Hollywood flicks. Is anyone from Lollywood listening?