Disney goes all out to promote ‘Thor’ in India
New Delhi: Even as it garners splendid reviews worldwide, a new test awaits Marvel’s superhero film Thor: Ragnarok as it opens on 3 November in India. The sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World is being promoted aggressively by distributors Walt Disney India to make sure it grabs maximum eyeballs.
“Thor: Ragnarok brings Thor back to the big screen in a radically different avatar and he is joined by his fellow Avenger, the Incredible Hulk. These two men share unmatched, crackling camaraderie in the movie and we believed it would be critical to capture this chemistry and excitement through our marketing and promotional initiatives,” said Amrita Pandey, vice-president – Studios, Disney India. “The past month has seen some serious uniting of forces across on-ground and digital activations (for the film),” she added.
To be sure, Hulk’s popularity in tier-two Indian markets and the ever-growing fan community for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has shaped Disney’s current attention towards audiences beyond the English-speaking belts. The film that will release in about 1,200 screens in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages besides English, is targeting the 8-25 year-old male across the top 200 cities of India. That explains why the studio has treated the superhero flick “much like a big Hindi film” in terms of the scale of marketing and the number of activities planned.
Firstly, there are about 28 brands on board — partners include Chinese phone maker OPPO, online fashion retail firm Myntra, e-commerce firm Amazon, fashion retail chain Pantaloons, toy retailers Toys “R” Us, Lego, Funskool and Hasbro, publishing company Scholastic, Zoop Watches, packaged consumer goods company ITC, mobile case maker Macmerise and accessory maker Stuffcool.
“We, at OPPO, believe in setting trends and are sure that the association of our product, OPPO F5 with Thor: Ragnarok would be another trendsetter. Associating with big properties like Marvel and Disney brings our team immense pleasure and we hope that this collaboration helps us reach out to a greater sphere of young audience,” said Will Yang, brand director, OPPO.
Myntra has created an exclusive line of Thor- inspired apparel collection and has activated special packaging for every order that goes out in the week of the film’s release. “We are delighted to launch the Thor: Ragnarok collection by Kook N Keech, one of our leading private brands. Kook N Keech is rapidly growing in character-based licensed merchandise with collections spanning multiple licenses including the extended Marvel Universe. The Thor: Ragnarok collection brings to fans an exciting clothing range which vividly captures the essence of the incredible world built by Marvel through the rich portrayal of its characters,” said Manohar Kamath, Head, Myntra Fashion Brands.
Besides, alliances with English television networks like Star Movies, Movies Now and Republic TV have been complemented with presence across the Hindi demographic including co-branded support from OPPO on Colors’ reality show Bigg Boss and promo spots on Sony Entertainment Television’s Kaun Banega Crorepati and channels like Aaj Tak and Sony Max.
Kick-starting the campaign as early as the Dussehra weekend with the Thor release announcement in print publications, Disney aligned with major cinema exhibition chains like PVR, INOX and Cinepolis for a trailer launch across 1,000 plus screens to coincide with the release of a big-ticket Bollywood offering (Judwaa 2) and on online ticketing website BookMyShow. A major part of the Thor journey in India has been the figurine tour, as part of which life-sized cut-outs of Thor and Hulk have been taken to high-profile public events like the Comic Con in Mumbai and Hyderabad. Besides a strategic tie-up with Radio One and a public screening for fans and influencers at the recently concluded Mumbai Film Festival, the studio also partnered with cricket news website ESPNcricinfo for integrations during the India vs Australia and India vs New Zealand series, including a new segment on their shows called SuperHeroes of the Day – to award Thor of the Match and Hulk of the Match to the best batsman and bowler of each match respectively.
Partnership with online payment platform Paytm for a ‘Paytm Thors Day’ for exclusive paid previews across ten IMAX screens in the country a day before release has been Disney’s final push. And to be sure, massive integrations across all possible platforms makes the campaign an aggressive one.
“The India-centric campaign (for Thor) has pretty much covered 360 degrees of whatever you could do if you had money,” said Saurabh Uboweja, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of brand consulting firm Brands of Desire. “They’ve gone all out because India is a very strong emerging market for Hollywood films and particularly, superhero kind of set-ups. We may not contribute a large percentage of their overall revenue pie given that the film will mostly cater to the up-market, multiplex audience. But the attempt is to woo youngsters as well as young adults which explains the aggressive approach.” Uboweja added that assuming the film is being expected to earn in the range of Rs30-40 crore in India, Disney may have spent anything between Rs7-8 crore on marketing.
“Thor: Ragnarok is a prelude to the biggest fight of the millennium that is up next in May 2018 with Avengers: Infinity War where all the superheroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe come together. The MCU is one of the strongest franchises in India that transcends age brackets, cities and now even multiple languages,” Pandey said.