Real Entertainment is turning to product packaging to give its children’s home video series a competitive edge. Furry puppet casings, looking up at customers from a unique 48-unit floor display, cover its Animal Crackups video line.
Four titles in the six-tape series-Funniest Animal Families, Animals and Their People Friends, Monkeys, Monkeys, Monkeys and Weird, Wet and Wild-began shipping to stores early in November, and Best Friends and Animal TV will be released early this year. The line, produced by Real Entertainment and Vin Di Bona Productions, is targeted at children three years and older. Applause manufactured the plush hand puppets, and each title is retailing for US$14.99. Retail orders have been strong, according to Mike Curry, vice president of market development at Santa Monica, California-based Real Entertainment.
Curry says the puppet concept was a creative approach to challenges encountered in the marketplace. ‘I was faced with an unknown name and entity competing with Mattel and Hasbro’s advertising dollars. We needed a merchandising edge to get retailers to devote floor space to the item,’ he notes. The fuzzy packaging, designed to catch kids’ eye and encourage them to pick the videos up off the shelves, was something ‘unique and different that screamed, `grab me, touch me,” says Curry. As for the display, it was designed from scratch so that it looked attractive even when only half-full, so that retailers wouldn’t dispose of the display too soon. ‘It has had a longer life span on the floor, which helped justify all the time and effort put in to develop the product from the merchandising side,’ Curry adds.
The extra merchandising effort on the video line would not be sufficient, however, if what was inside the packaging didn’t measure up. ‘We needed to make sure that the video was credible,’ says Curry. Focus groups with kids centered on product content, and the videos’ music, animated hosts and fast pace were designed to be child pleasers.
While retail sales numbers weren’t available at press time, Real Entertainment is ‘very optimistic’ about the line, says Curry. ‘We felt that we offered a higher margin than the competition for most retailers, and that helps.’