UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- MCA/Universal Home Video here will release "Babe," a movie about a pig that thinks it's a sheep dog, direct to the sell-through market March 19 with a cross-promotional tie-in with Tropicana's Season's Best products. The national advertised availability date will be March 22. The movie, which combines live action and high-tech animatronics, grossed over $55 million at the box office. It will have a suggested retail price of $22.98 and a minimum advertised price of $14.95. "This is really a rare film," said Craig Relyea, vice president of marketing. "It's one of the first films I have ever seen that speaks equally to children's and adult audiences." Because of this wide demographic appeal and the Tropicana tie-in, "Babe" is well-positioned to sell big numbers through supermarkets, Relyea said. The Tropicana promotion, which features a $3.50 mail-in rebate, is an opportunity for supermarkets to encourage multiple product purchases, he said. Consumers can receive the rebate by sending in the certificate found inside the tape packages and three proofs of purchase from the Tropicana Season's Best products. There also is a $5 mail-in rebate with the purchase of "Babe" and one of seven "Francis the Talking Mule" titles from MCA/ Universal. These titles are "Francis the Talking Mule," "Francis in the Navy," "Francis Goes to the Races," "Francis Joins the Wacs," "Francis in the Haunted House," "Francis Goes to West Point" and "Francis Covers the Big Town." Both rebate offers will be communicated by an on-pack sticker. Details on the programs and a Tropicana recipe will be enclosed in each clamshell videocassette package. Advertising will include a national campaign on spot television, cable television and print media. It will run from March 17 through April 6.
"This is among our strongest advertising campaigns in terms of television," said Relyea. Additional promotional activity will include radio and MCA's Cyberwalk on-line site. The total marketing campaign is expected to generate two billion impressions, he said. The timing of the release and the advertising is designed to lead up to Easter, when there is heavy traffic in most retail stores, including supermarkets, he said. MCA/Universal is interested in developing chain-specific promotional plans, he added. "That is something that we, as a supplier, are very willing to talk to the individual retailers about," he said. Point-of-purchase materials include 12-piece counter units, and 24- and 48-piece floor displays. A 48-piece floor shipper will include "Babe" and "Francis" tapes, along with standees and paper pins.