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Casper straight-to-video title soars to new heights

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's release of Casper, A Spirited Beginning will use a highly integrated retail advertising and promotional campaign to hit consumers with the kind of marketing blitz usually associated with a theatrical release....
September 1, 1997

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s release of Casper, A Spirited Beginning will use a highly integrated retail advertising and promotional campaign to hit consumers with the kind of marketing blitz usually associated with a theatrical release.

The live-action/animation movie, featuring the classic Casper character and his ghostly trio of cohorts, marks the studio’s entry into the made-for-video market. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE) partnered with Saban Entertainment and The Harvey Entertainment Company to produce the title.

‘What we’re trying to create is a movie event premiering in your living room,’ says Jonathan White, director of marketing with Saban Home Video. The video will debut September 9 at more than 100,000 North American retail outlets at a price point of US$19.98.

A multi-tiered, US$30-million launch campaign will include extensive use of outdoor, print and electronic media, as well as national promotions with Boston Market Restaurants, General Mills Count Chocula Cereal, Mondo Fruit Squeezers and Trendmasters. In-store signage consists of floor standees, mobiles and stickers, as well as shelf-talkers and static-cling window decals. In all, the campaign is designed to generate over two billion consumer impressions.

‘We work very closely with a number of retailers,’ notes Steven Feldstein, vice president of communications and media relations with TCFHE. Blockbuster, for one, will be involved with a special toy premium promotion.

As always, gaining space for retail displays is an issue. However, the number of powerful partners involved in the direct-to-video release is a plus. ‘When various promotions are launched together, retailers are obviously going to see a spike in sales,’ notes Feldstein. ‘You definitely compete for space at the retail level, but we’re doing our best to bring the combined power of EMI-Capitol Entertainment Properties and Twentieth Century Fox to ensure great response and retail representation.’

Complementing the home video release is a soundtrack album, which the producers are hailing as the first-ever for a made-for-video release. The EMI-Capitol Entertainment Properties and Saban Records titleÑfeaturing a version of the Casper theme song, ‘Casper, the Friendly Ghost,’ by Kool & the Gang and KC & the Sunshine Band, among other soul/rock songsÑhas been an exciting component for Fox. ‘In the appropriate retail outlets, the soundtrack will be merchandised together with the video,’ says Feldstein. The video and soundtrack packaging, as well as coupons enclosed in each, will cross-promote the other.

Another ‘first’ surrounding the release concerns the Casper kids meal promotion at Boston Market fast-food outlets. ‘Our Boston Market promotion is the first licensed-character promotion they’ve done,’ says George Leon, vice president of promotions at Saban Entertainment.

‘Boston Market is best known for its edutainment promotions,’ says Jennifer Prichard, director of marketing and development at Harvey Entertainment Consumer Products, who was the creative director for the kids meal premiums. ‘They were very concerned with what the premiums would look like.’ Prichard says the high-quality premiums chosen by Boston Market reflect the ‘intelligent’ image of the restaurants.

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