Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Trend Watch: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Merchandising Bonanza

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles computer-animated movie is coming out on March 23, amidst a stunningly comprehensive cross-promotion/merchandising bonanza that will attempt to revive the brand to its glory days of yore. One of my most vivid memories of the original TMNT toy fad from the 80s and early 90s involves the release of the second feature film, green popcorn at the cinema (even Maniwaki did not escape THAT grosserific promotional stunt), and an extended period of wearing our karate gui at inappropriate times to make sure everyone knew that we, too, were Ninjas. Everyone had a favourite Turtle (Donatello!), and there was a unique kind of frenzy around the brand that I do not remember really ever experiencing before TMNT.

While a television show based on the original hit series has aired on Saturday Mornings over the past couple of years with some success, the brand has yet to reproduce that same level of frenzy among today's youth. As with many of these retro-80s brands, however, the secret ingredient is parents' nostalgia - the hope is that as parents watch the show or film with their kids, their warm and fuzzy memories (of the brands they themselves enjoyed as kids) will compell them to try to relive the experience through their children...by buying them the products, bringing them to see the film, etc. This strategy has been gradually building momentum, as 80s kids (the first generation to experience a hyper-commercialized children's culture) have now reached adulthood and are starting to have kids of their own. And I suspect we'll see a lot more of it in the next 5-7 years (as more of us start having families).

Here's the full list of cross-promo initiatives that we can look forward to in the coming months, as provided by KidScreen:
McDonald's: TMNT Happy Meals with eight different premiums will be available and promoted through TV, radio and online campaigns.

Airheads: A special lime-flavored Airhead will be included in 12 million packs of the candies. Each package will also contain a TMNT temporary tattoo. TV spots will tag the promotion.

Time Warner Cable: Time Warner's many media outlets are going to promote a sweepstakes that offers the chance to win a trip to Warner Bros. Studios. Additionally, the company is holding advance screenings in three major US markets and mall events in Dallas and L.A. The TMNT Ubisoft video game is slated to sit at the center of the promos.

Cool Cuts 4 Kids: The salon chain is offering TMNT coloring books, card games and other items, as well as a sweepstakes to win a private screening of the movie. The chain will also distribute advance movie passes in Dallas.

Kmart: Customers who purchase US$10 worth of TMNT movie toys from Playmates Toys will receive an exclusive pack of four collectible trading cards.

Wal-Mart: 1,000 of the chain's top stores are giving away movie posters to every customer who buys a TMNT movie toy.

Toys 'R' Us: Customers who spend US$20 on Playmates Toys' TMNT movie merch will receive a US$5 movie-branded gift card from the chain.

Licensee count: 35 manufacturers are onboard with products ranging from video games (Ubisoft) to apparel (Hot Topic).

1 comment:

Photendo said...

While I can't speak for the happy meals, the movie and video games are gonna be the shiz.