Author: HOLLY J. WAGNER
Posted: May 27, 2006
Tie-in firms help studios match products with DVDs.
When Cinderella needed help to get to the ball and hook up with Prince Charming, she called a fairy godmother. To hook up with Swiffer, she needed a team of promotional specialists.
“It was a great tie-in,” said Max Goldberg, president of promotional consulting business Max Goldberg and Associates and formerly a promotions executive at Buena Vista Home Entertainment. “Disney does not usually let their classics be affiliated with cleaning products, but in the case of Cinderella, it was a natural fit. For many years, Disney felt they would not do a promotion with laundry soap because laundry soap was not fun.”
Staff experts at Disney engineered that promotion for the anniversary release of Cinderella, he said. But studios often use a mix of staff and consultants to create tie-ins to boost retail sales. Like Goldberg, those consultants often are people who strike out on their own after working for studio promotion departments.
Mitch Litvak held theatrical promotion posts at Buena Vista and Universal Studios before starting The L.A. Office in 1994. The company began by doing one-on-one consulting, but has evolved to host the annual Road Show and Industry Insights events that put studio representatives and packaged-goods companies together.
“We’re perfectmatch.com for the entertainment marketing world,” he said. “We provide them with the information and let them work it out.”
A company looking to introduce a product targeting women next year might want to partner with the 20th anniversary edition of Dirty Dancing, while companies with children’s products might be more interested in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD slated for the upcoming holiday season. The L.A. Office lists both, and many more, in its database.
Like Charming’s royal ball, the relationship between studios and other packaged-goods companies is an intricate dance in which the same companies change partners and pair off and promote the next DVD.
“More often, the content side goes out to the packaged [product] side,” Goldberg said. “But you get a title like Shrek 3, and people know it’s going to be big and they call us.”
For studios, the greatest benefit comes from partnering with products like soda pop that already have high-profile advertising and prime retail real estate.
“You look at which companies are the fast-moving consumer goods, and you look at which ones are used by people in the target demographic group and which ones advertise,” Goldberg said. “It’s whatever motivates consumers. It’s having your DVDs displayed side-by-side with the product in the store.”
Getting on a studio’s dance-card can rely largely on who you know.