Cartoon Network Enterprises unveils branded merchandise 'Pogo Wheels'

MUMBAI: Following on the heels of the announcement of the two theme parks slated to launch next year, the Cartoon Network Enterprises' (CNE) merchandising programme has rolled out a new range of Pogo branded consumer products, 'Pogo Wheels'.

The consumer products division was launched last year in India and following the success of the Powerpuff Girls, Dexter and Johnny Bravo merchandise, they are now focusing on extending the width of consumer products. Following the success of Beyblade, this eight-product range represents a sophisticated version that combines Formula 1 racing and the Beyblades concept. As the company forsees a strong competitive streak in Indian kids these days, they believe such toys will be a big rage.

The range will be priced between Rs 399 (Basic Launcher) to Rs 1129 (Turbo Launcher) and will be available at multi brand retail outlets with over 450 retailers across 38 cities such as Lifestyle, Shoppers' Stop, Pantaloon, Pyramid, Landmark, Hypercity and Crossword. Pogo Wheels will be manufactured and distributed by Cybershop Marketing Pvt. Ltd. Besides the main metros, it will also be launched in cities like Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Bhopal, Gwalior, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Nasik, Aurangabad and Surat amongst others.

The consumer products division has specifically kicked off with toys. However, they have plans to launch more Pogo merchandise across other categories inculding apparel, innerwear, stationery, gifts and novelties, bags and activity games amongst others.

Commenting on the same, Cartoon Network Enterprises India and South Asia director Jiggy George said, "We decided to start with toys and thus, wanted to bring out a product with a brand like Pogo that has great resonance with kids. Pogo lends itself to extending properties and building brands therefore we decided to foray into the retail segment. We don't however, want to continue within the space of toys with just a one off therefore, we will come up with a whole range of toys under Pogo. As most of the brands on Cartoon Network are TV property based, this would be completely on the brand level."

Although it appears to be catering more to the boys segment George said, "We have tried to keep this product as 'gender neutral' as possible, even in terms of packaging."

When queried as to the rationale behind the launch at this time, George said, "We are hoping that this will become the flavour for Diwali gifting, followed by December which is a peak season for toys. Secondly, we also needed to launch quickly enough in these and more categories before the summer launch of the Pogo theme park. As the key focus is that they will all be available at the theme park."

The toys will be rolled out in stores in the first week of October and it is estimated that 5 per cent of sales will be spent on marketing activities and giving a major push to this new category a TVC will be aired on both the networks. Also, the product will be placed within shows and given out via contests. Other on ground initiatives will include creating racing arenas at various stores like Landmark and Lifestyle where kids can play with the toy and get familiar with it. It is important to capture the consumer at the point of sale and thus, several retail outlets will have screens where the TVC will also be shown.

Speaking to this website on their perception of the competition in this space, George opined, "The current toy market in India is approximatetly a 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) business, while only 40 per cent is organized. Within the 120 crore organsied space most of the share is maintained by Funskool and Mattel and a few smaller players. We will be a very small but significant player in this space.

"We are not competing against the big boys but we know we will make a very important dent in the organized space. As a division we are growing year on year at 50 per cent and we contribute to 10 per cent of the overall Turner revenue but we are growing rapidly and so it is exciting times for us."

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