After launching Bade Chhote and Bhigi Billi T-shirts in collaboration with Tantra, 9X Media has now tied up with MadRat Games to release a series of board games. Targeted at the 10-25 year age group, the games are priced at Rs 225. MadRat Games has incorporated 9XM characters in its innovative version of The Bakwaas Game, Losers and Ladders, Twist-tac-Toe and Who's the Most Popular games created by the company. These games are available across over 1000 retail stores in India, including Shoppers Stop, Mom & me and Beanstalk, along with e-commerce portal, Flipkart.
Kapil Sharma, vice-president, marketing explains that merchandising is an extended effort of marketing. "We started L&M as a marketing vehicle to take our animated characters Bade-Chhote and Bheegi Billi on to retail platforms. Within the next two-three years, we might look at it from the revenues stream perspective."
The channel's first association was with Tantra aimed to launch a special range of T-shirts. These T-shirts featured Bade and Chhote of Bakwaas Band Kar fame and had messages and themes which reflected their personality. Over 70 per cent of the total manufactured T-shirts were sold. The channel might look at tying up with Tantra again.
"Similarly, with the launch of the series of board games, we plan to leverage the popularity of our animated characters and engage with our viewers beyond television screens. This will help meet the objective of engaging with our fans while they hang out with their friends and families," adds Sharma.
These products are promoted through the network channels and its digital platform. The channel has just announced Twitter/FB-based contests, where the winners are being given away the Bakwaas Game.
The channel has earlier launched several innovative marketing initiatives including interesting and break through on-ground branding activities like creating a music wall on Music Day or getting 3D Bade Chhote and Bhigi Billi on airports. Other initiatives are ambient branding such as those with Cinemax, Cafe Coffee day and multiple restaurants across Mumbai and Delhi.
The channel licenses the characters to the licencees, who can then create the products, which are approved by the channel and then released in the market.
The network looks forward to seeking additional partners in categories such as back to school products as well as office stationery. "We are also constantly seeking out varied and innovative product extensions that match our brand identity," adds Sharma.