For a country that’s used to cricket and its commercial ways now, the Center Fruit-sponsored tournament in the animated Cartoon Network original ‘Balla Bowl’ that aired on August 29, 2010, may not have been very unusual. But it seems to be something of a first for advertising in the country, according to Rohit Sarma, executive director - network ad sales, Turner International India Pvt Ltd. Keen on exploring new innovations, the people at Turner shared the script with Perfetti Van Melle a couple of months ago to broach the collaboration. “We take a different view on product integration,” said Sarma. “It needs to be a part of the storyline, and hence we integrated Centre Fruit only in certain parts of script, such as on the poster of the tournament, and the cricket stadium where we all intuitively expect to see ads during the prize distribution, on the bats and the uniforms. It didn’t stop the plot or the storyline.”
WATCH the video [story continues below]
Mohit Bhalla, media consultant at Perfetti Van Melle, explained that the company is constantly on the lookout for new platforms to build their properties, besides regular communication. Having tied up with Perfetti previously, in the case of the ‘Tom & Jerry’ advertisements for Alpenliebe, where the characters were taken out of the show and into the commercial, the two companies once again decided to collaborate for this project. “Content is most important, then we looked at the past history of Cartoon Network originals and how they did and of course, cricket always makes for good viewership,” said Bhalla.
Regarding the results, though, the jury is still out till the ratings come in. “It’s like a movie released on Friday,” said Bhalla. “We’ll be looking at the impact only after the five airings of it on the channel.” Sarma too said it would be premature to commit to a figure on the impact of the placement on the channel. However, he said, “We typically make 20-25% on our Cartoon Network revenues in innovations of some kind.”
He also divulged that product placement in animated films was something the company would continue to explore in the future. “Looking at our part of business, we produce a lot of our content. Quite a large library of such shows will come on air in two months. It’s an opportunity for advertisers in the kids’ genre.”