Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why Aamir Khan is a Marketing Genius

Aamir Khan’s strategy to market 3 Idiots in smaller towns via regional media has been an unqualified success
by Elizabeth Flock | Feb 2, 2010

Read it at Forbes

When Aamir Khan, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and director Rajkumar Hirani, sat down and watched the first half of the first cut of 3 Idiots together, they knew they were watching something that had the potential to go “big time”. A boisterous drama about three friends dealing with the pressures of engineering school, and one friend teaching them how to dream, was a story they knew would stick. They guessed multiplexes in cities would overflow. They figured they had a fair chance at beating Ghajini, an Aamir Khan starrer and the biggest grossing Hindi film of all time.

But something bothered them. In smaller towns, regional cinema was still king and Hindi cinema just a joker. In Gujarat, a star like Vikram Thakur at his peak, could bring in close to Rs. 7 crore. A top grossing Hindi film on the other hand could hope to rake in just Rs. 3 crore.

“We felt we aren’t connecting enough with our audience… There’s a business capacity of seven, but we are only doing three. So there’s a lot of business we aren’t reaching out to,” says Khan as he talks to us from his Pali Hill apartment in Bandra, a Mumbai suburb. He’s wincing from a leg injury sustained earlier during the day, but is intent we hear what he’s saying.

“Do they want to be entertained? Yes. Do they like watching films? Yes. But are they watching our films? No. They’re watching regional films.” It could only mean two things, he reasoned.