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Friday, Apr 12, 2002

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Potter spell over corporates

Ratna Bhushan

NEW DELHI, April 11

AS Harry Potter — the much-awaited Hollywood blockbuster releases across theatres tomorrow — everyone seems to be looking for a little magic. For, it is not just audiences that are eagerly awaiting the film's release.

Faced with a lukewarm year as far as Bollywood releases are concerned, corporates across diverse industries are pushing themselves to attach their brands around the Hollywood flick. From soft drinks major Coca-Cola India, to French cheese marketer Fromageries Bel, to auto major Maruti, to entertainment group PVR Cinemas, Harry Potter-linked promotions seem to be very much the flavour of the month.

Apart from running a Harry Potter-linked promotion across 10 cities, Coca-Cola India is labelling its 500 ml PET bottles and Fountain Cups with Hogwarts Express, the Castle and Hedgwid, the owl — all key elements of the Harry Potter phenomenon. "As we have done internationally across 42 countries, we plan to create the experience of a castle for local-level promotions as well," said Coca-Cola India's official spokesperson. The Coca-Cola promotion runs through this month and lasts till the middle of next month.

PVR Cinemas, which is releasing the film in Delhi, is creating a `magic zone' at three of its theatres in the Capital. "Since the theme of the film is wizardry, we are creating a promotion centred around the theme of the `PVR school of wizardry and witchcraft'. The link to the Harry Potter film is, therefore, subliminal,'' Mr Vivek Bahl, Head of Marketing, PVR Cinemas, told Business Line.

Fromageries Bel, which markets the Laughing Cow cheese brand in the domestic market, has tied up with PVR Cinemas for a similar Harry Potter-linked promotion. "We are always looking for the right opportunity to promote our brand, and we found this as the appropriate fit," Mr Somesh Dayal, India Representative, Fromageries Bel, said.

Another Harry Potter-linked promotion is being carried out by Maruti's Wagon-R brand.

Apart from English, the movie is being released across various cities in Hindi and a couple of South Indian languages as well.

So is the film going to live up to the international hype back home as well? Yes, believes Corporate India. "We have already got orders for bulk bookings from schools and even corporates such as mutual fund companies and banks. That is a sure shot indication that the film will work in India," said Mr Bahl.

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