Mumbai: Noddy and his little red and yellow car that goes “parp, parp” are going to drive into India this August.
The lovable little character and his friends in Toyland, created by British children’s writer Enid Blyton in 1949, will star in a musical titled Noddy And The Treasure Map.
The English musical will tour four Indian cities, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore, during the first phase and is likely to extend its reach to tier II cities in the next phase. The show has eight characters on stage, including Noddy’s friends Big Ears and Tessie Bear, and comprises 32 crew members and support staff.
“Every advertiser is looking to create an emotional connect,” says Kavita Bedi, managing director for the Indian operations of Just Because It’s Children, a New Delhi-based company that specializes in educative entertainment for kids. And, while the actual production won’t showcase any brands onstage, organizers are not averse to weaving in related messages into the script.
For example, Noddy could very well be propagating the benefits of saving money or staying connected with friends and family during the musical, which could then be tied into messages from a sponsoring bank or mobile phone company. The production will also look at malls, theme parks and schools as venues, and aims to reach 600,000 students in four cities.
Reaching out: A Noddy cartoon image. Noddy And The Treasure Map, a musical, will be staged in the country in August.
The organizers expect primary sponsors to cover a large chunk of the Rs3 crore production.
“Everything from the colour of the flowers on the trees on stage to the colour of Noddy’s shoes, costumes, and even the voice of the artists performing on stage, meets high standards, so as to ensure the production is true to the original content,” says Nick Larkin, the chief dreamer, as he likes to call himself at Millennium Entertainment International, the Australian company that is producing this musical. “After all, there is just one Noddy in the whole world.”
Noddy is “a fantastic opportunity for advertisers to promote and sample their brand among upmarket consumers”, says theatre personality and chairman for the London Institute of Corporate Training Through Theatre Techniques, Alyque Padamsee. Having produced musicals such as Evita in India, Padamsee believes that theatre productions and musicals are a promising medium for brands to tap into. “Theatre today, is reaching an audience of high net-worth individuals, which Bollywood doesn’t reach.”
While experts maintain that theatre productions may not have the scalability of other mediums such as film or television, they offer advertisers a chance to reach segmented audiences in a particular geographical area.
“Because the performance is live, the impact quotient is very high. Especially if it is a good, intelligent brand integration,” says Navin Shah, chief executive of P9 Integrated Pvt. Ltd, a Percept Holdings company.
According to estimates put out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the live entertainment market in India was pegged at Rs1,111 crore in 2007 and is estimated to grow to Rs1,870 crore by 2010. Arts and theatre account for approximately 20% of this market in India today.
“More often than not, it is an experience the entire family is involved in. So, while this format would be appealing to sponsors from children’s categories, advertisers such as banks, financial services, infrastructure companies are also looking to use this medium (musicals and theatre productions) to reach their target audiences,” says Bedi.