Watching a show or watching an ad?

BY Shailaja Bajpai| IN Media Practice | 18/04/2002
Watching a show or watching an ad

Watching a show or watching an ad?

Ekta Kapoor, producer of Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on Star Plus, uses her daily soaps to promote her other productions as well. And the channel thinks this is perfectly acceptable.

How far should a channel go in cross promotions for its popular shows? This question has assumed greater significance, recently, in connection with Star Plus and some of its top rated serials.

For some time now, Kaun Banega Crorepati and Kyunki Saas Bhi kabhi Bahu Thi have been flirting with each other and then indulging in a spot of cross fertilisation. Not only did the entire cast of Kyunki appear on KBC with Mihir and Tulsi as participants, but the dear departed Daksha was perpetually trying to get through to the KBC telephone number in order to participate. She did in fact become eligible to appear in front of Amitabh Bachchan, but perhaps because of her sudden departure from the serial, she never appeared on the show.

This interplay was just the beginning. Ekta Kapoor, producer of Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and Kyunki, uses her daily soaps to promote her other productions as well. For example, when her brother Tushar’s debut film Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai was released, there were repeated allusions and references to the film in Kyunki. More recently, the release of Kapoor’s first film production, Kyunki Mein Jhoot Nahin Bolta, has been celebrated on the soap with posters of the film on the sets of the show.

In October this cross promotion has assumed new dimensions. As Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki approached its first anniversary, we had characters in Kyunki sitting down to watch Kahani Ghar Ghar (only they called it Ghar ki Kahani) and discussing the relations between its characters in some depth.

If you thought that was outside of enough, wait on. Kahani’s leading daughters-in-law, Parvati and Pallavi, appeared on KBC. They won only Rs.3.2 lakhs. No sooner had they quit the sets of KBC than we saw them on Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki (which succeeds KBC on Star Plus), where they are shown to have just returned from their poor performance on KBC. They are in tears, until their father-in-law tells them how proud the family is of them. Then there is a surprise celebration. Their appearance on the game show occupies centre stage in the episode. Talk about free advertising for Kaun Banega Crorepati, which is rapidly sliding down on the viewership charts.

Star Plus claims this is a very useful and clever marketing device. That it might be. However, it should be said that it is somewhat tasteless and obvious. Also, TV productions in other countries don’t resort to such gimmicks-----at least not so blatantly.

Shailaja Bajpai is television critic of the Indian Express



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