Economy

The force is with brands as Star Wars readies to hit India

MEENAKSHI VERMA AMBWANI New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

Vintage Star Wars toys, in their original packaging, wait to be sold ahead of an auction of Star Wars and film related toys at the Vectis auction house in Stockton-on-Tees, Britain, November 23, 2015. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" opens in December to a global wave of fan fervour and merchandising, but an auctioneers in northeast England is already in a galaxy far, far away, having sold a vintage "Star Wars" toy for a colossal 18,000 pounds ($27,000). Photograph taken November 23, 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble   -  Reuters

From toys to debit card, a range of merchandise is waiting in the wings



As the Star Wars ‘mania’ grips fans across the world, the latest instalment of the franchise, which is coming to India this Christmas, is set to be distributed widely, backed by a strong branding and merchandise strategy.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will release on December 25, is expected to open at over 1,500 screens in India. Concurrently, a wide range of merchandise — from apparel and footwear to tableware and virtual reality headsets — are making their way into the Indian market.

Some 50 brands, such as HP, ICICI Bank, Jack & Jones, Pantaloons, Flying Machine, Landmark, Hamleys, Lifebuoy, and Kinder Joy, are associated with the film. Brands such as Hasbro, Lego, Mattel and Frank Puzzles are ready to roll out toys and games based on the Star Wars theme.

Wide distribution

Siddharth Roy Kapur, Managing Director, Disney India, said there is strong buzz about, and huge anticipation for, the film in the country and the company plans to distribute it widely in multiple languages including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

He said the company did an extensive marketing campaign that started nearly a year ago. “We adopted a two-pronged approach. We focused on engaging with loyal fans of the franchise and also worked on introducing the franchise to a whole new set of audience,” he said.

The marketing campaign began in December last year with the Hindi film PK, and the teaser was also shown with recent top releases such as Dilwale.

The company has also worked on creating an ‘immersive experience’ for fans by associating with Comic Con and launching the Star Wars Lightsaber Challenge, among other initiatives.

Merchandise push

As part of its merchandise push, Disney India is offering ‘innovative’ products, such as Star Wars branded debit cards in collaboration with ICICI Bank, while publishing firm Scholastic is offering a range of Star Wars branded pop-up books.

E-commerce major Amazon has launched a Star Wars online branded shop on its website, listing all the products, and is sending products in Star Wars-branded packaging to consumers across 25 cities.

This year, Hollywood movies have had a great run at the Indian box office, with the likes of Fast and Furious 7 and Jurassic World crossing the ₹100-crore mark.

Published on December 20, 2015

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