Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment unleashes a promotional campaign worth US$100 million on North America later this month, with the home video release of its first full-length animated feature, Anastasia.
The studio is working with all key retailers to help promote the video, which will sell for a minimum time only for US$26.98 starting on April 28. (Anastasia will be available in both widescreen and pan-and-scan formats and also in a special collector’s edition.) Just who those retailers will be has yet to be determined, but the studio plans to announce them sometime in early April, says Steven Feldstein, vice president of communications for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Fox will help participating retailers design in-store Anastasia-themed boutiques, which will showcase Anastasia toys and merchandise alongside the video.
In addition, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is using the television, multimedia and publishing divisions of Fox and News Corp. to promote the video. In mid-March, Fox Kids Network will run a national watch-and-win Anastasia-themed sweepstakes in the U.S.; in mid-April, Fox Family Channel will air a week of Anastasia-based programming, which includes a special on the making of Anastasia; on April 28, Fox Interactive will relaunch Adventures with Pooka and Bartok, a CD-ROM game that contains elements of the Anastasia story; at the same time, Fox Music, in cooperation with Atlantic Records, will repromote the soundtrack to the film, which it will make available to retailers via joint displays to be sold with the video; and, finally, HarperCollins will release four new Anastasia books. Other promotions include a free Anastasia toy offer with every purchase of the video and a US$5 rebate for consumers who buy both Anastasia and a Shirley Temple video.
Rounding out the Anastasia marketing strategy is a six-week television advertising blitz, beginning mid-April and running to late May.
Fox has also secured cross-promotional agreements with the following partners: Alamo Rent A Car (third day free to all purchasers of the Anastasia video in the U.S. and Canada, from April 28, 1998 to March 31, 1999); Continental Airlines (US$300 off all domestic round-trip flights and US$375 off all European round trips with purchase of video, from April 28 to December 15 in the U.S. and Canada); Denny’s Restaurants (free activity books and mugs to kids, from April 9 to June 6, in the U.S. and Canada); Ramada Inns and Hotels (discounts on stays at all Ramada Inns and Hotels with coupon from video, from April 28 to December 15, in the U.S. and Canada); Smuckers (free Anastasia watch with proof of purchase of Anastasia video and Smuckers product, from April 15 to June 1, in the U.S. and Canada; Anastasia-themed tumblers available only at participating retail outlets in the U.S., from April 15 to June 1).
For Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, the huge financial push-Anastasia is the largest marketing campaign in its history-is par for the course in today’s retail world.
‘These kinds of events-home video releases-require a comprehensive effort with a variety of layers,’ says Feldstein. ‘The value of this campaign is significant and what it takes, in our estimation, [to make an impact at retail]. As far as we’re concerned, this is the level of commitment we’ll be making to all of our animation business.’