It’s an opportunity that no marketing manager would like to ignore, the growing popularity of various characters and cartoons amongst young children and pre-teenagers, and the potential to leverage this “fan following” for boosting sales of a wide array of products. And, character licensing which began with toys and back to school products, is now being leveraged by FMCG players in fruit-based soft drinks for children, with Dabur Real fruit juice and Greenway’s Notty fruit drink. The rationale – it helps to differentiate the product in a rather crowded segment and also boost sales quickly. Chitra Johri, MD, Bradford License India, highlighted that children’s preferences for characters are fast changing and it is very important for a property to remain relevant with a product and its target audience. Leveraging licensing Disney has a tie-up with Dabur Real fruit juice for special Mickey Mouse packs, while Chhota Bheem is projected as drinking Notty fruit drink, and the objective is to increase the involvement of the target audience with these products via suitable communication strategies, and also enhance consumption. In addition, this strategy does not result in higher prices for the consumer in most cases, as the manufacturer typically has to only suitably modify the product packaging. K.K Chutani-Marketing Head, Dabur Foods, said, “Disney's popular character - Mickey on Réal fruit juice packs should help us create a whole new experience and excitement for kids." Striking a similar note, Vinod Gaikwad, MD - Marketing, Greenways, said, “Our yummy fruit drink, coupled with our licensing strategy, helps to fulfil kids’ aspiration to be strong and smart.” Adds, Johri, “Licensing allows a property to expand into new; categories and products, coupled with a wider customer base and sustainable business.” The licensor also has to simultaneously ensure that certain quality standards of the product are maintained, and there is consistency in marketing communication. Licensing deals are structured to include minimum guarantee, coupled with royalty, and in the food and beverage segment, it typically ranges between 5-8 per cent, pointed out Jiggy George, Founder and CEO, Dream Theatre, a licensing agency. Globally, Disney as a licensor rakes in more than $ 9 billion each year, and in India, the licensing market is expected to reach $ 500 million (approximately Rs 3,000 crore) over the next three years. Cleary, the character licensing market in fruit drinks in India is set to witness rapid growth over the next few years, with the proliferation of brands in this segment.
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