Disney devises marketing onslaught for Toy Story 2...
August 1, 2000

Disney devises marketing onslaught for Toy Story 2

Disney is pulling out all the stops for the home video and DVD release of Toy Story 2, the hugely successful follow-up to its 1995 CGI feature Toy Story. Buena Vista Home Entertainment will release the film, which prebooks September 5 and streets October 17, on VHS (US$28.98) and as two-disk (US$39.99) and three-disk (US$69.99) DVD packages. All three formats will feature outtakes from TS2, as well as a trailer of Disney/Pixar’s upcoming feature Monsters Inc. For the mildly infatuated fan, the TS2 two-pack will contain Spanish- and French-language tracks to the film, plus the animated short Luxo Jr. For the die-hard, the three-pack will include interviews with the film’s creators and characters, original trailers, posters and music videos, among other ephemera. In true Disney style, the studio has assembled a marketing campaign for TS2 that is befitting a theatrical release. Initiatives include a Happy Meal promo with McDonald’s; rebates and discounts from partners Energizer Batteries, Spaghettios and Activision; as well as exposure on General Mills cereal boxes and Campbell’s soup cans. In support of TS2, Disney will launch a three-month advertising onslaught this fall, which will include spots that will air during network, cable and syndicated TV programs, and banner ads that will appear on select family-friendly websites and portals.

Underdog preps for a comeback

In a bid to revive `60s canine superhero Underdog, property holder Golden Books Family Entertainment will release videos containing three classic eps of the show about a dog that transforms into a caped crime-fighter by way of a telephone box. The three eps will be available separately on VHS for US$9.98, or together on DVD for US$19.98. The DVD will also feature interviews with the show’s creator, downloadable screensavers and a trivia game. According to Alex Drosin, GM of the entertainment group at Golden, the videos are the first step in the company’s strategy to resuscitate Underdog, a plan that also involves the development of a new TV show, licensing program and film adaptations. In support of the videos (which prebook August 17 and street September 12), 30-second trailers promoting the titles will appear on the screens of 800 theaters across the U.S. this November. Additionally, for US$49.95, die-hard fans will be able to purchase a special edition Underdog lithograph from Golden Books, which will be autographed by the series’ illustrator Joe Harris.

DreamWorks goes Old Testament for Joseph DTV

The good book has been good to DreamWorks. In 1998, the studio’s animated biblical blockbuster Prince of Egypt drew a faithful following of ticket buyers, grossing US$101 million at the box office. Now, DreamWorks believes it can increase its flock with Joseph: King of Dreams, a new direct-to-video sequel to Prince that is slated to hit retail this fall. Produced using traditional cel animation, the film follows the odyssey of Joseph as he struggles in ancient Egypt after being cast out by his family. The movie, DreamWorks’ only Q4 DTV release, features the voicing talents of actors Ben Affleck and Jodi Benson of The Little Mermaid fame.

To help spread the word of Joseph, DreamWorks is putting together a marketing campaign that will preach to the converted. Part of the effort will involve the studio direct-mailing Joseph promo literature to churches and schools. DreamWorks will also hold pre-street screenings of the film at churches across the U.S.

The studio’s more secular initiatives include a QSR deal with Chic-Filet, which will see the chain introduce Joseph POP signage at all of its locations starting in November. Chic-Filet will come back with tie-in premiums at Easter, at which time DreamWorks plans to rerelease the video.The studio’s ad campaign for the video, which kicks off in early October, will consist of mom-targeted print ads in women’s and parenting magazines, as well as national TV, on-line and radio spots. As with PofE, DreamWorks isn’t planning to do much in the way of licensing around Joseph, says Kelly Sooter, head of domestic marketing at the studio’s home video division. Pubco Thomas Nelson, however, has signed on to produce four different tie-in titles, including Joseph pop-up, lift-the-flap, story and picture books. All of the titles will ship to stores in late November.

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