Cartoon Network Enterprises eyes Bollywood

MUMBAI: While Hollywood woke up to the film merchandising phenomenon long back, the mania hit Bollywood big time with the Hrithik Roshan starrer Krrish. Now with an aim to tap this avenue, Turner International’s licensing and merchandising arm Cartoon Network Enterprises and its kids’ channel Pogo have set their eyes on creating merchandise for two Hindi movies.


One of them is BR Films’ Bhootnath starring Amitabh Bachchan and Juhi Chawla with Shah Rukh Khan in a special appearance; whereas the other is the much touted debut of Harman Baweja opposite Priyanka Chopra in Love Story 2050. While Bhootnath is scheduled to release on 26 January; the release date for Love Story 2050 is not yet decided.


Cartoon Network Enterprises India and South Asia executive director Jiggy George says, “We have been watching the films’ merchandising space in India and the reasons why it’s not been done optimally well. We have been very keen on entering this market.”


The first toy for Bhootnath is called Buchki, which will also be seen as a placement in the film. George adds, “We will be rolling out merchandising in toys, apparels, home furnishing and publishing categories for Bhootnath. We started this integration at the scripting stage itself and hence were able to insert the toys in the film too. The story revolves around two kids Jojo and Banku who are seen with the toys in the movie.”


Apart from this, starting tomorrow, Cartoon Network Enterprises will also be rolling out ads around the new products, which will star the film’s child stars. “The ads will show Jojo and Banku playing with the new toys. The ad is independent of the film and will be rolled out across channels. Moreover, as the release date comes closer and the marketing around Bhootnath starts, we will also be drumming up the buzz around the new products’ roll out,” informs George.


Cartoon Network Enterprises is also working out contests around the same with the cast and crew of the film. The winners will get a chance to attend the premiere of Bhootnath.


As far as Love Story 2050 is concerned, the company decided to ink a licensing and merchandising deal with the producers as “it is the first real sci-fi movie in India and Harman Baweja is being touted as the next big thing in Bollywood,” informs George.


Cartoon Network Enterprises will be rolling out the products related to these films in close to 400 retail touch points of Future Group, Shoppers’ Stop, Lifestyle, Crossword and Landmark stores across 45 cities in India. With Love Story 2050, a multiplex tie-up is also being eyed.


When queried as to whether they would also be eyeing a merchandising and licensing deal for Nikhil Advani’s next movie Made In China starring Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone, which is being distributed by Turner International’s mother company Time Warner, George says, “As of now we haven’t decided on it as we don’t know whether the movie script lends itself to merchandising.” The story of Made In China revolves around a Mumbai cook (Akshay Kumar), who gets mistaken for a martial arts hero.


In the past, Cartoon Network Enterprises also associated with the Aamir Khan starrer Mangal Pandey, wherein Khan was interviewed on the channel by the network’s cartoon character Johnny Bravo. However, there was no merchandising involved around the same.