The need for new characters and immersive stories is at an all-time high and India’s leading kids’ entertainment franchise Nickelodeon, continues to address this need by entertaining kids with endearing characters through new formats and relatable storytelling. Leading the local IP content game with innovation in its DNA, Nickelodeon is all set to launch its 11th home-grown animated IP ‘Chikooaur Bunty’, the only show in the category that is based entirely on the sweet-sour and inseparable relationship between siblings.
The channel has gone all out for the launch of Chikoo aur Bunty is a robust multi-screen and multi-touchpoint marketing plan that is sure to draw equal attention from brands as well as kids. To start with an entertaining and foot-tapping music video with lyrics written by the legendary Gulzaar Saab will bring to life the fun-filled relationship between the sibling duo. This apart Chikoo aur Bunty will capture kids’ imagination across the entire franchise through unique and creative promos across platforms on GEC’s, Music, Movies and Regional TV channels, through interaction on popular OTT apps as well as with curated content on Short-Form Content apps. Driving interactivity will be a Sibling Squad of popular Influencers from across India with dance challenges and a lot more. A Virtual Watch Party along with influencers with a whole lot of fun games and interactions is also in store. In addition, customised Chikoo aur Bunty digital games and exciting activities on all social media platforms will surely engage the youngsters. Ensuring maximum excitement, a Chikoo aur Bunty AR filter will also be available on social media platforms in addition to Chikoo aur Bunty GIFs and Stickers. Taking the overall marketing initiative, a step forward, Nickelodeon has partnered with Belgian Waffles, Smoking Joe’s and New York Burrito Company to celebrate the unique and everlasting relationship between siblings. While the partnership with Belgian Waffles will allow users to order a Chikoo and Bunty combo pack, the partnership with Smoking Joe’s will allow users to order a special Chikoo Bunty Pizza combo. Additionally, one can order a specially curated Chikoo and Bunty meal as well from the New York Burrito Company.
Sonali Bhattacharya – Head – Marketing, Kids Entertainment Cluster, Nickleodeon in conversation with MediaNews4U on the marketing initiatives, the various tie-ups with brands and influencer marketing being a huge pull for this genre…….
What are the innovative marketing initiatives on ground for ChickooAurBunty?
It’s been a series of lockdowns and unlocks since March 2020 that affected kids and the category overnight. Kids weren’t allowed to get out of the house, play, interact with their friends. At the same time, we were not allowed to do a lot of the initiatives that we wanted to do for kids. Nonetheless, it’s opened up a completely different world of multi-stream marketing that never existed before the pandemic and technology has been a great enabler during this time. Technology has been a very positive enabler in the life of a child during this time. Whether it is watching their favourite toons on television, playing games with their favourite characters on a mobile or a tablet, etc. We too pivoted our marketing plans almost immediately to suit the needs of optics in the current environment. With Google Voice Assistant we created many digital initiatives like Watch Parties, mobile games with Ludo, Snakes & Ladders and Carrom. Somewhere the innovations and the way we brought our latest offerings has paid off. For on-ground activities, we have our ears very close to the ground and as of the moment, we think it is safe to go out there. People are getting double vaccinated and soon it will be time that kids start getting their jabs as well. We are beginning to foray into certain malls and experiential avenues very carefully given that keeping kids safe and secure is our utmost priority.
With schools closed how was theSchool contact programme reinvented?
We were the first ones in the category to start school contract programmes. During the lockdown, with kids locked at home and no physical connect with their friends; we were certain that the show must go on. As leaders in the category, we thought, if we can go to the school, clearly for health and safety reasons, why not try and virtually reach out to kids. There was a lot of learning and we realised that kids were extremely receptive to it; they are truly the first adopters of anything new. We got a great response. A lot of kids logged into the virtual school contact programme. It outperformed more than anyone anticipated. We connected with the kids on WhatsApp before content was aired, made them engage with it virtually, introduced interactive games where they could try and win prizes. We have done many things differently. Whether it was digital, digital FTP, or virtual parties, they have worked well for us and the kids.
What are the online digital initiatives to make sure that kids are spending less screen time?As a channel how are you trying to address this?
To break that down, a lot of the screen time that a child was used to has now reduced given that schools are opening up and kids are gradually going back to school in a hybrid fashion. The good thing is that they are getting out of their homes. The large part of screen time in the pandemic was virtual streaming. We realised that a majority of the kids in India were challenged when it even came to having a computer or a tablet or a mobile phone that will enable them to even log into their online virtual screen school setting. So, a lot of campaigns that we rolled out back then consciously gave away laptops and tablets to kids watching as gratification. This could help them at least log on and attend their virtual school session. That virtual time frame time of how much time a kid is spending online is clearly is between the child, parent and the school. Entertainment provided by the characters on television was also a blessing in disguise when there was no other avenue of entertainment available for a child to tap into. We rolled out a ‘dance along series’ when kids were captive at home to make sure kids are physically active. We got a well-known influencer, who taught kids how to dance with an Instagram dance along module. We curated content for kids that would be brought to them digitally, but it needed them to be involved physically as well. We kept them engaged with arts and crafts in their own house. The screen time that we gave to kids had a TV connect where either they were dancing at the other end or cooking or being in some amazing class at the other end of the screen. We tried to make screen time meaningful and wholesome for the child.
How big is influencer marketing for kids?
Influencer marketing has taken a life of its own. In this pandemic it has really boomed and become a mammoth. A large part of the messages that brands put out today is by the influencer community. Kids are the earliest adopters when it comes to do anything with technology. They too have a very, very loyal set of influencers who they follow, closely. So it is an important part of any marketing campaign today. Nick has been very careful with influencer marketing and roll out campaigns in a very innovative manner.For example, for the Kids Choice Awards, and other brand initiatives that we worked, we culminated with a large, extravagant event. We were at our wits end on how do we keep this property alive during the lockdown. Given that these are coveted Nickelodeon franchise IPs, we didn’t want to let it go. We converted the entire campaign to a virtual event and it did wonderfully well for us. We had a choice award influencer speaking to the celebrities, and they were ambassadors on social media and digital platforms. We garnered around 15 lac votes, which we haven’t in the history of the awards. It created such an exciting conversation on social so much of virality on the digital medium. It did pay off very well for us. Again, as a Kid’s brand, we need to keep certain filters at the top of our mind with the credibility of the tone, content needs to be of a certain calibre, etc. We are very, very rigorous about the way we choose our influencers. But having said that, it’s here to stay for a while. It allows us to reach out to our viewers directly and in a very effective manner with content that is curated.
Partnering with food brands like Smokin Joe’s, Belgian Waffles and The Burrito Company, how do these promotions happen? And how does the brand promote the show?
Given that we could not get outside of our home in the last year, we wanted to seek all of those pleasure, comfort, happiness in the confines of our home. Eeven though 25% of the restaurants shut down, typically, online delivery of food at home to the latter has gone up as highest absolute. We realise that this was a space that we need to tap into. We thought why not collaborate with these like-minded brands as child and food is something that is precious too.