Rediff.com  » Business » How Disney is cashing in on nostalgia around The Lion King

How Disney is cashing in on nostalgia around The Lion King

August 11, 2019 08:30 IST

The merchandise market around the movie is likely to heat up in the coming weeks as Disney sets about cashing in on the big turnout at the theatres.

Aryan Khan is the voice of Simba in the Hindi version of the movie.

Within a week of its release, Disney's The Lion King climbed up the collections chart with rapid intensity.

And the Disney campaign, having successfully leveraged the strong nostalgia around the movie's animated version and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's voiceover, is pushing its way through to the merchandise market where the movie is visible on everything -- from badges and T-shirts to bags and special accessories.

Jiggy George, founder and CEO, Dream Theatre, a licensing firm, says that a lot of the popular genres for merchandising are the ones that are seeing a revival on the big screen.

"Nostalgia plays a big part in such cases. A lot of the audience members grew up watching these titles, and now they are first jobbers, and in some cases parents themselves."

 

For Disney, nostalgia marketing is an art it mastered years ago even though its use of the same to push merchandise sales in India is relatively recent.

Given the uncertainties over piracy and misuse of licensing rights, the studio has been wary of going deep into the merchandise market.

But given the vast legion of fans for such fare in the country, the studio has been revisiting its policies.

Be it The Jungle Book (2016), The Beauty and the Beast the following year, and more recently, Aladdin, the movies have rocked the charts at the local box office. And this has also given the merchandise vertical fresh steam.

Image: A scene from The Lion King

The Lion King licensed merchandise can be found in physical and online retail outlets, ranging from apparel to mugs to badges.

Prices range from as low as Rs 49 to Rs 2,500. Experts say that a lot of the impetus for the licensed merchandise segment comes from a growing awareness and desire to 'wear one's fandom' and a consciousness for original products.

This is especially true of the burgeoning merchandise market for animation and anime shows on TV.

George says, "For merchandising, one of most important things is brand popularity. Thanks to television, shows like Pokemon continue to be aired and that drives an appetite for merchandise."

Dream Theatre owns the licensing rights for many anime franchises including Beyblade, and Ninja Hattori apart from Pokemon.

In fact, the Pokemon franchise has more than 500 products across ten categories, and the Jack and Jones Pokemon collection sold out in record time, he adds.

For The Lion King, Disney has a double advantage. Given the strong focus on regional versions, voiced over by actors including Shah Rukh Khan (Hindi), Aaryan Khan (Hindi), Ashish Vidyarthi, Shreyas Talpade and Asrani (Hindi), Siddharth, Arvind Swami and P Ravishankar (Tamil), Nani and Jagapathi Babu (Telugu), the demand for its merchandise is likely to go well beyond urban pockets.

Globally, a lot of brands have built their merchandise stories on the nostalgia factor.

As their core audience matures, the merchandise offerings also develop. And as Bikram Duggal, head-Studio Entertainment, Disney India, said at the time of the movie's release, "The Lion King is a classic that epitomises Disney's prowess of bringing heartwarming stories that are timeless and transcend generations. Now, with the reimagined version, our aim is to reach out to a wider audience."

Given its years of experience and marketing heft, the merchandise market around the movie is likely to heat up in the coming weeks as Disney sets about cashing in on the big turnout at the theatres.

Urvi Malvania and Romita Majumdar in Mumbai
Source: source
SHARE THIS STORY