New Delhi: American-Chinese 3D animation action comedy Kung Fu Panda 3 that releases in India this Friday has notched up brand deals worth Rs.20.3 crore. The third installment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise that comes five years after the last film featured voices like Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Kate Hudson and Jean-Claude Van Damme. It has a total of seven brands on board across categories such as banks, food, and mobile internet services.
These include fast food chain McDonalds, ICICI Bank, Britannia cakes, health food drink Horlicks, Ching’s Noodles, telecommunications company Huawei and global doughnut and coffeehouse chain Krispy Kreme.
“I think Kung Fu Panda is one of the very few animated franchises which cuts across kids and families and has also found affinity with the youth. So, we were very clear we needed to have a two-pronged strategy that targeted both,” said Shikha Kapur, chief marketing officer, Fox Star India. 20th Century Fox is distributing the film worldwide.
Kapur added that the point of these associations was not just media outreach or value.
“The whole idea was to package an experiential campaign instead of just a media campaign. Be part of those conversations and intimate spaces that families and kids have together, keeping in mind the dynamism of our culture and the fact that it should be an inclusive experience,” she said.
While Britannia has come up with special packaging and tattoo premiums with each of its products for the film, ICICI has introduced a unique addition of Expressions debit cards with a choice of Kung Fu Panda 3 creatives. Meanwhile, Horlicks will run a summer campaign complete with special packaging for the chocolate variant across 1 million-plus packs and Ching’s Noodles has custom-created a special Chinese variant inspired by the movie.
“Indian brands are increasingly getting interested in tying up with Hollywood franchises because the release and consumption of these films are almost at par with any big-ticket Bollywood movie,” said Sidharth Ghosh, vice-president, Fountainhead MKTG, the marketing division of Dentsu Aegis Network. “The only difference is that for Hollywood flicks, they remain out-of-movie associations only meant to capitalize on local market excitement. Hopefully, we will soon be able to see an in-film integration for an Indian brand in a movie that has global presence.”
Ghosh cited the example of Baleno from Maruti Suzuki India Ltd tying up with last week’s superhero flick Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for an out-of-movie association, while Turkish Airlines had a more extensive integration. He also added that tying up specifically with Kung Fu Panda 3 makes sense for Indian brands because of the huge following the franchise commands especially among children and the success of the previous two films that makes the new release much-awaited.
The biggest tie-up for the animation flick, however, is with fast food chain McDonalds that has rolled an entirely new Chinese menu inspired by the film starting at Rs.35 across all its outlets and introduced Kung Fu Panda packaging for its highest moving products, the fries.
“The McDonalds’ Kung Fu Panda Happy Meal is all about having fun and we are excited to give kids the opportunity to recreate the adventures of Po and the Furious Five not only with this unique collection of Happy Meal toys, but by providing them with an awesome online and offline experience that is both entertaining and energizing,” said Kedar Teny, director of marketing, McDonald’s India (West & South). “This is yet another endeavour undertaken by the brand to extend the ‘I’m lovin it’ experience to our patrons.”
Fox sees reason in the exhaustive marketing campaign thanks to the enduring appeal of the Kung Fu Panda franchise despite the fact that animation as a genre is still finding its feet in India.
“We as a studio have already managed to create an audience with animation films like Ice Age and Kung Fu Panda. So there is a base universe,” Kapur said. “In the years to come, we are not only looking at appealing to audiences which already have certain affinity towards these known characters, whom we call fanboys and in this case, fan-families and kids, but also at a new generation of incremental fans who are sitting on the fence for now but definitely are potential audiences for such franchises.”