With Nickelodeon’s most popular show ‘Motu Patlu’ being brought to the silver screen, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Business Head, Kids Entertainment, Viacom18, is not leaving any stone unturned to make it a success. Last week, Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Nickelodeon launched the trailer of the movie ‘Motu Patlu King of Kings’. With their maiden 3D stereoscopic animation theatrical, Viacom18 Motion Pictures has diversified their portfolio into kids category. Slated to release on October 14 in Hindi and Tamil over 700 screens, the movie is produced by MAYA.
Jaipuria talks about movie’s differentiation, the ambitious marketing plans and why have they decided not to have brand integrations in the movie.
Given the lukewarm response to homegrown animated movies at the box office, how do you think ‘Motu Patlu King of Kings’ will change the scene?
We have created a vibrant ecosystem around the ‘Motu Patlu’ franchise that keeps growing in scale and reach by the day. Also, there are three fundamental things to kids’ hearts. First our characters are endearing and loved by kids. The second is how you tell the story, the script followed by the quality of outstanding animation. All three are thumbs up on this one, and therefore, we have put all the bets out on this one to make it a super success. This is going to be a landmark movie.
What kind of investment has been made on the movie?
We wanted to make sure that the first 3D animated film that India does, the animation is beautiful. There has been a lot of emphasis on the way the quality of the movie is done, the background score, the music, the voices -- the lion is played by Vinay Pathak. A lot of care has been taken on how we tell and visualise the story. Gulzar has written the title track already. Now he has written another song and Vishal has given beautiful music to it. Kunal Ganjawala and Sukhwinder Singh have sung it. All the factors above make a great difference to children. So there is a lot of investment from production perspective on the quality of the film and we have about 700 screens for the movie which is fairly large compared to 400 screens, (in my knowledge), for the other homegrown animated movies.
We have taken sensible business risks and want to see a commercial success off it at the box office. That risk has been there on the show as well when we put it up on the channel back in 2012. We were the only show with no kids protagonists back then. It’s a risk we wanted to take. That’s where the characters are today.
For an animation movie, we have given enough scale.
Animation is an expensive property and getting ROI on it is also a problem. The fact that you have repeats helps you as a channel. For the movie how the ROIs going to happen?
The same way. The 10 animated TV movies we have done so far have worked brilliantly for us every time we have put them on air. We have got a return every time. We do a weekend slot of the movie, we do a stunt and the weekend slot blows up. So for me, it’s about taking the movie from the theatre back on to the channel and leveraging it for many years to come.
Which brand categories are you looking at?
We are looking at whole lot of FMCG, toy brands, beverages, food and stationery brands. We are closing those deals as we are talking.
When it comes to merchandising are there any special product categories created only for the movie?
Couple of categories have been created, especially apparels, which will come for the movie perspective on Amazon.
Post the movie release, will the brand association move on to your TV show?
A lot of the brands are already with us on TV. The kid’s universe is as big as it gets. Some takers from the universe will actually join us. They have been the usual suspects on the channel, partnering with us for many years now. Ever since we have been number one it’s a great medium for them. We are reaching out to 4 to 14 kids over a long period of time. The characters are endearing. As a medium we have the highest reach in the category as well. We have been delivering a whole lot of partnerships not just from FCT perspective. We have had brands in the past who have done lot of non-FCT integration as well. We have done product licensing, promo licensing and issue integrations with Horlicks and Prataap Snacks. We are really going beyond the vanilla spot into creating partnerships which are win-win situation for all the stakeholders because it works for the kids, brands and us. We did McVitie’s recently with Motu Patlu. With the same character we did Pran Foods as well.
Do you have any brand integrations into the film?
We have left the film unadulterated, to be honest. This is our first film and we want to get it totally right. It’s not been an easy project with the kind of quality animation in the film. So in that weaving in a brand in the first attempt will be tricky. So we have decided to keep the brand associations outside of the movie while integrations on the show.
What’s with the timing of the movie?
It took us four years to bring ‘Motu Patlu’ where it is today. It’s time to build an ecosystem and leverage the network that we have. We have Motion Pictures which is willing to take that risk. We (Motion Pictures) have a diversified portfolio but don’t have kids on it. So it’s about the network coming together which is going to make all the difference. 50% of our ratings today come from ‘Motu Patlu’ in our Nicklodeon franchise. Looking at its fan following, it’s the right time to culminate the success on silver screen. The fact is we are trying to build that ecosystem and create a surround sound outside of television whether it’s on film or digital or on licensing or on consumer products or on video games. And the timing is great to ensure that we leverage the franchise as well, take it to an all time high and leverage it back on television. You never know we might have a sequel to this as well.
What are the marketing initiatives for the movie?
What we are doing differently this time is going beyond the traditional marketing vehicles. We are going outside of television because it’s about families going to the theatres. For a change we are looking at radio, print and OOH. There is a separate marketing plan for Chennai since the movie is in Tamil (beside Hindi) and the fact that ‘Motu Patlu’ is the number one show in that market. Even our channel is number one in Chennai. We make sure we do a lot of marketing in Tamil Nadu as well. There are talks of roping in a celebrity for its promotion in that market as well.
We are doing a lot of retail partnerships. The plan is ambitious as we are planning to do blimps of Motu, Patlu and the lion for the first time which has never been seen before. We are also going to mini metros because we believe that’s where the theatre going audiences are. There are whole lot of mall activations, retail partnerships and digital promotions. Plus, you will see a lot of in-show promotions in ‘Jhalak Dikhla Ja’. We are definitely leveraging our channels like Colors, Colors Marathi and Colors Gujarati among others. We are looking at some movie and music channels as well. We create a very robust TV, radio, OOH and print. So you will see the might of the channel, the network and Viacom Motion Pictures come together.