afaqs!

Garfield and friends head towards India

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media | March 26, 2009
Kids Media India ties up with Paws Inc. for Garfield merchandise in India

The corpulent kitty is about to take over the most comfortable couches of Indian homes. Kids Media India (KMI), the subsidiary of the Dubai based Spacetoon Media Group, has entered into a partnership with Paws Incorporated, Indiana, USA for licensing, advertising and publishing rights of the cartoon character, Garfield, for the Indian market.

KMI will support Paws to secure licensing deals. Garfield's friends, including Odie, Jon, Liz, Arlene, Pooky and Nermal are also covered by the deal. The advertising and publishing rights are also for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Talking to afaqs!, Rajiv Sangari, managing director and chief executive officer, Kids Media India, says, "Garfield is loved by both boys and girls. This strength of the character will make it widely acceptable, hence penetrating more through various consumer products. Apart from this, internationally, various innovative associations such as automobiles, mobile phones and laptops have been made using the attributes of the character. Our effort will be to get these to India and make a difference with Garfield."

& #BANNER1 & #He adds that many innovative promotional alliances are in the pipeline. To leverage brand Garfield, the company is looking at tying up with licensees and launching various consumer products at the retail level.

KMI will sub-license the rights to other brands and talks are on with many FMCG and kids wear brands in the territory. "We will appoint licensees across the territory for various consumer products. The licenses will give them rights to manufacture as well as market the product lines. Talks are on at the moment," informs Sangari.

KMI is looking at introducing a wide range of kid's merchandise, including head gear, foot wear, toys, games, clothing, novelties, household items, paper products and sporting goods. Apparels, accessories, books, back to school range of products and footwear will be launched in the first phase. There will be at least two variations in the ranges - economical and high value products.

The company is looking at visibility and marketing. "Visibility will come through the distribution of the product ranges and we will conduct various marketing programmes at retail outlets, schools and malls to reach the direct consumers (kids)," adds Sangari.

Advertising rights will enable the brands to use Garfield in BTL (below-the-line) and ATL (above the line) activities in print and audiovisual media, packaging materials, point of sale displays, premium items and other promotional devices, allowing licensees to use the likeliness of the character in their ads and other communication.

In an official statement, Jill Davis, senior vice-president, licensing, Paws Inc., says, "Garfield has been a very popular cartoon character which has transcended geographical boundaries and has reached the hearts of millions of people. The expertise of Kids Media will help us reach a new audience and make Garfield even more popular in India and the neighbouring countries." Davis is the founder of Paws Inc., a creative house to support Garfield licensing.

For the record, KMI is into the licensing and merchandising business of the Spacetoon Media Group and has signed more than 60 licensing deals across various categories in the last one year.