BURBANK, Calif. -- Second-half promotions from Buena Vista Home Video here will directly target supermarkets with big-name titles and cross-promotional partners, heavy media spending and the opportunity to make higher margins on tie-in catalog products, said Dennis Rice, senior vice president of marketing.
Major-event titles will include two direct-to-video releases -- "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin," Aug. 5, and "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas," Nov. 11 -- and two re-issues of well-known Disney "Masterpieces" -- "Sleeping Beauty," Sept. 16, and "The Jungle Book," Oct. 14. All have multilayered marketing programs, including tie-ins with grocery products.
"We've got four monster programs with promotional opportunities that will allow grocery stores to compete very effectively with any channel of distribution," said Rice. "Chains that jointly display and jointly feature the tie-in products, and allow the video to drive a bigger event, are going to steal market share from their competitors," he said.
Disney is the only studio that announces its titles and marketing plans this far in advance, industry observers noted. This is especially important to supermarket retailers with long lead times for planning advertising, cross merchandising and promotions, they said.
"We are consciously developing programs designed to meet the specific needs of different distribution channels. Because the grocery store distribution channel is so important to us, we always try to keep in mind what might work well for that channel," Rice said.
Not long ago, supermarkets were not considered in studios' video marketing plans, Rice noted. "I think Disney really pioneered the efforts that allowed consumers to know that grocery stores are a viable place to buy videos. We try to get products into as many grocery stores as we can. Then our advertising drives people to stores where they now know that videos can be purchased," he said.
In short, "we are driving customers who are looking for video into grocery stores," said Rice.
The second half kicks off with "Fun and Fancy Free," the last movie in which Walt Disney performed the voice of Mickey Mouse. It will release July 15, prebooking June 3, with a suggested retail of $26.99. A $2 instantly redeemable coupon attached to the package will be good when consumers buy it along with one of two other Disney titles, "Robin Hood" or "Pete's Dragon." The company also will release "Disney's All-Time Favorite Sing-Along Songs" July 22. It prebooks June 10 and retails at $14.99.
Aug. 5, the studio will release direct to video "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin." This is the first new Winnie the Pooh movie to be created in 20 years. It prebooks June 24 and retails for $24.99. Marketing support includes a $5 refund from Oral-B, a $7 mail-in refund from Mattel, a $10 refund from Disney Interactive and $2 instantly redeemable coupons on "The Sword in the Stone," "The Three Caballeros" or the new Pooh title.
Aug. 26, the company will release a special collector's edition of "Mary Poppins," which retails at $22.99, and its Halloween promotion, which includes six titles at different price points. Prebook on these products is July 15.
In a new development, Caffeine-Free Coke and Caffeine-Free Diet Coke will partner with the video re-release of "Sleeping Beauty," said Rice. Consumers who buy the title and two 12-packs of the soft drinks are eligible for a $5 mail-in rebate.
Additionally, there will be up to $50 in savings rebates inside each copy of the video, and there will be a $2 instantly redeemable coupon attached to the front of each title in Disney's "Love Bug Collection," good when consumers buy one title from the collection and "Sleeping Beauty."
As reported in SN, this restored edition of "Sleeping Beauty" streets Sept. 16, and prebooking is Aug. 5, with a suggested retail price of $26.99. The title was issued on video in 1986 when it sold 1.2 million units, a record amount at the time.
The key title for October will be "The Jungle Book," which was released in 1991, selling 9 million units. Streeting Oct. 14, "Jungle Book" will be priced at $26.99 and will prebook Sept. 2. The tapes will include an additional program, "The Making of the Jungle Book."
Marketing support will include a $5 mail-in refund with the purchase of the video and three Kid Cuisine products, an Amtrak "Kids Ride Free" voucher inside each videocassette, a cross promotion with a major quick-service restaurant and a $2 instantly redeemable coupon attached to "Alice in Wonderland," which can be used when consumers buy that title and "Jungle Book."
Oct. 7, the company will issue a special collector's edition of "Old Yeller," priced at $19.99. It will be supported by $2 instantly redeemable coupons on "The Shaggy Dog" and "The Shaggy D.A.," good when one of those titles and "Old Yeller" are bought. Also on that date, 11 Christmas cartoons will be released, each priced at $12.99, with a $3 mail-in refund offer from Nestle. These titles all prebook Oct. 26.
Nov. 11 will be the release date for the direct-to-video "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas," which will carry a suggested retail of $26.99 and will prebook Sept. 30. Since the theatrical run of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" in 1991, the title set sales records on video, spawned a Broadway show and a television series. Licensed merchandise sales related to the title have totaled more than $1 billion so far, the company reported.
The studio said the release of this direct-to-video title will be treated as "a major entertainment event," complete with the issue of a soundtrack from Walt Disney Records, a "multimillion dollar" national television and print advertising campaign and trailering on other Disney titles. Marketing support will include a $5 mail-in rebate with the purchase of the new "Beauty and the Beast" title and eight bars of Lever 2000 soap or one Lever 2000 Body Wash. There also will be $5 in coupons for Mattel products in the video package, and there will be a $2 instantly redeemable coupon on-pack good on eligible Disney Video Collection titles. Details of a cross promotion with Ocean Spray will be announced at a later date, the studio said.
The studio also will issue a program of five "Holiday Hits" Nov. 4, priced at 14.99 and prebooking Sept. 23. The titles include "The Santa Clause," "Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too," "Muppet Christmas Carol," "Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Cool Runnings." There will be a $3 mail-in refund offer from Nestle with the program.
Several of the second-half titles will go off sale Dec. 31. These are "Fun and Fancy Free," "Disney's All-Time Favorite Sing-Along Songs," the special collector's editions of "Mary Poppins" and "Old Yeller," "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Jungle Book."
Most of the major titles released this year are part of the "Disney Video Rewards Program," a sticker card-based frequent-shopper program. Customers who purchase eight of the eligible titles can choose one free movie from available Disney Masterpiece or Family Film Collection titles. Customers who buy 12 can pick two. This offer is fulfilled by mail.
"We have never put out a stronger lineup for the fourth quarter," said Rice. "It is a great combination of products that we are taking out of the vault, as well as new productions that are going to give retailers their first window of opportunity."
Combining higher-margin catalog items with the event titles benefits retailers, he said. "A blend of support that recognizes hits, which are the cornerstone for a huge event, and a more aggressive support of our catalog lineup, will optimize the video category for the grocery store retailer," he said.
"The power of a Disney video in drawing incremental traffic to a grocery store will add to the sales of other products that otherwise wouldn't be purchased if that video weren't on sale. Those retailers that are aggressive about using the video as a centerpiece for a larger promotion will build market share from their competitors. Those who don't will lose market share to those who do," he said.
Seasonal programs, like the ones for Halloween and Christmas, offer additional merchandising and profit opportunities for supermarkets, said Rice. "Using Halloween, which is a huge seasonal opportunity for grocery stores, we consciously designed a program that will allow them to take a secondary location in their store, and promote the video in a way that is compatible with other products, like candy and costumes. The Halloween videos make it a good centerpiece for that seasonal section," he said.