On February 23, the Andheri Sports Complex, in the suburbs of Mumbai, is set to come alive with hyperactive kids cheering for a bunch of cartoon characters. The occasion: Toon Cricket 2003, courtesy children's entertainment channel, Cartoon Network. "It is the biggest marketing initiative for this year," claims Anshuman Misra, managing director, Turner International India.
Into its fourth year, Toon Cricket blends conventional cricket with a certain "toony spin". The theme for this year's battle is good-versus-evil, with two teams comprising five members each - captained by popular toon characters Fred Flintstone (of The Flintstones) and monkey Mojo Jojo (from The Powerpuff Girls) - to be pitted against one another.
The 'toony spin' is essentially a surprise element, which could turn the direction of the game any which way. "Last year, we had Mojo Jojo disrupting the game while trying to escape with some secret documents," explains Shana Parihar, director -marketing & PR, Turner International India and South Asia. "In 2001, cricketer Vinod Kambli actually participated in the game to help Scooby-Doo and his side clinch the cup," she adds.
With a five-day roadshow planned to increase hype, Misra is optimistic that the event will be as successful as its predecessors. "We are confident that kids will love it," he claims. "Toon Cricket provides an opportunity for children to interact with their favourite cartoon characters. I am hopeful the event will be a talking point for a while." Commencing on February 18, the roadshow will see a Toon Mobile (a 17-foot open float designed to depict real-life net sessions) touring the city to distribute event passes. Apart from halting at high-traffic venues, the mobile will visit select schools as well.
Incidentally, the Toon Cricket initiative comes in the wake of another one - a programming band for pre-schoolers launched a week ago. Titled Tiny TV, it marked Cartoon Network's foray into a hitherto untapped area. "We are constantly evolving, " says Misra about the channel's programming efforts, "and Tiny TV is one such endeavour.
Other destinations or programming blocks on the channel include morning show Ku Koo Du, Power Zone, Toon Talkies, Toonami (an action-adventure animation block) and Premiere Premiere. The channel also has a programming band devoted for animated feature films titled Cartoon Theatre. Telecast on Sundays at 12 noon (repeats on the same evening at 8.00 pm), this month's highlights include Heidi's Song (based on the classic Heidi, by Swiss author Johanna Spyri), Man Called Flintstone, Land Before Time and Jonny's Global Impact. © 2003 agencyfaqs!