Think of it as an elephantine promotion. In an effort to make sure that "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!" DVDs wind up under as many Christmas trees as possible, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is pulling out all the stops, in a cross-promotion that involves Macy's, L'Oreal, and even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Fox, based in Century City, Calif., says the "aggressive and multi-layered" effort is its largest campaign of the year, and that it will spend $25 million on the TV, print, Internet and radio advertising blitz leading up to the Dec. 9 release. Ads will continue into the New Year, generating an estimated 1.6 billion consumer impressions.
The promotion came about because "Dr. Seuss is such a beloved family classic, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is another beloved classic that they just blended perfectly," says Steven Feldstein, Fox's SVP, corporate and marketing communications. "And the timing just worked out so that it was a terrific opportunity." The $25 million, he says, "is just what we're spending on hard media," adding that the campaign will generate much more attention. "This is an important title, and a critical time frame--we have to ensure that we get our share of voice."
At Macy's, the inspirational elephant has been tapped as its Holiday Ambassador (a role that has been held in the past by characters like Shrek, Scooby-Doo, and Snoopy as the WWI Flying Ace.) That means the pachyderm will debut as a helium balloon--66 feet long, 36 feet wide and 48 feet tall, "with toenails the size of beach balls"--in the 82nd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, holding a tiny clover in his trunk. (The parade is expected to attract 3.5 million spectators, as well as a TV audience of 50 million.)
And all 800 Macy's stores will stock plush Horton toys. "When you press his foot," explains a Macy's spokesperson, "he either says 'Helllooo,' or 'I meant what I said and I said what I meant.'"
L'Oreal will launch a line of 2-in-1 shampoos, including "Horton's Whoberry," "The Mayor's Melon," "Jo Jo's Juicy Cherry" and "Kangaroo's MangoRoo," distributed to retailers across the country.
Even the feds are getting involved--Fox has signed up the EPA's Energy Star program to prepare a line of movie-themed materials to teach kids about greenhouse gas emission, with the Horton-esque message that everyone can help, "no matter how small."
The movie, based on the 1954 classic, has made $294 million. The DVD will be sold both as a single disc and a two-disc special edition, in both digital and Blu-ray. The special edition includes exclusive features, including a short, "Surviving Sid," about the sloth character from Fox's "Ice Age."