Brand Licensing 

Walt Disney Co. India signs 44 brand association deals for Star Wars

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The Walt Disney Co. India has signed as many as 44 brand association deals for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth instalment of the 40-year-old franchise which opened to rave reviews across the world last week. The film is slated for release in India on 15 December.

Brand experts in the know of the deals believe that two of the brands viz Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus and automaker Tata Motors have together spent Rs36 crore in acquiring the rights from Disney and carrying out brand promotion activities.

The deal with OnePlus is being seen as the most dominant in the marketing campaign. The company is launching a special 5T limited edition series of smartphones, besides giving away 10,000 complimentary tickets to Star Wars fans.

Licensees like menswear firm Celio, toy brands Hasbro, Hamleys, Lego and Funskool, e-commerce company Amazon, online fashion retail firm Myntra and publishing company Scholastic are expected to totally generate nearly Rs. 200 crore in retail sales by selling licensed Star Wars merchandise.

“Star Wars has become a worldwide popular cultural phenomenon that is enjoyed beyond the big screens. As The Last Jedi releases on 15 December (in India), we felt it was the perfect opportunity for us to bring about a range of experiences for fans to relive the Star Wars saga and make it a part of their everyday lives,” informed Sanjeet Mehta, executive director, consumer products, Disney India.

Hasbro, which has brought out a collection of lightsabers (a weapon that is part of the narrative), action figurines and a Star Wars Force Link Starter Set (a wrist accessory that emits sounds and dialogues), is bullish about being associated with the movie brand. “At its core, Hasbro is an organization that prides itself on the stories it tells consumers. The same ethos is a part of the Star Wars world too,” said Bhavesh Somaya, country manager, Hasbro India.

The international marketing campaign of the Rian Johnson-directed film is more digital friendly. For instance, Google has launched a slew of special Star Wars augmented reality stickers that are included in the camera app as part of the latest Android 8.1 Oreo update.

“For countries like the US and the UK, Star Wars is as big as a Rajinikanth film is for India. They are blockbusters that make a serious amount of money for the producer and therefore a lot more marketing money is spent on them,” said Anand Chakravarthy, managing partner, Wavemaker India, a GroupM-owned media agency.

He however added that since this is the holiday season in Western markets, there will be at least three or four big films launching, competing for eyeballs and therefore, they will spend significant money.

.“For Disney in India, Star Wars is a good franchise but when you compare it to the world, India will add a drop in the ocean in terms of revenue. So their marketing budget in the country will also be limited,” Chakravarthy added.

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