World Cup: Merchandise flood, come the New Year

MUMBAI: The World Cup cricket mania is not restricted to channels and advertising partners. Several retail companies such as Pantaloon Retail India, Archies and Nirvana Music will also be conducting on-ground promotions in sync with their core competencies.

All the above-mentioned companies have signed deals with Lowe Lintas' Initiative Media (IM) who had procured the licensing and merchandising rights from the ICC in October 2002.

IM president Ashish Bhasin added: "IM's division, Advent, had taken the rights for the Indian sub-continent. Advent is one amongst the global network of international commercial partners, bringing a truly global marketing reach and presence to the event. We have already sold 95 per cent of the properties to clients such as Pantaloon (retail), Britannia (biscuits), Archies (novelties) and Nirvana (music)."

Pantaloon Retail India (PRI), the manufacturer-retailer with departmental stores and supermarkets, is all set to launch a major World Cup cricket related blitz in early January 2003.

PRI, the readymades major, had brought the exclusive merchandising rights in India for apparel and accessories using the logo and mascot of the world cup cricket tournament. PRI entered into an arrangement with IM. Media reports indicated that share-brokers LKP finance had valued the PRI-IM deal at US$ 6 million.

Commenting on the forthcoming launch plans, PRI CEO and managing director Kishore Biyani elaborates: " A new line called 'Passionwear' will be launched in specific metro cities from January 2003. This line will showcase the World Cup cricket merchandising; replica T-shirts, message T-shirts, caps and other accessories incorporating the logo, characters and cricketers."

Archies (which is slated to launch novelty items based on the World Cup) general manager (West) Shirish Gor adds: "Our products will be in the stores by mid-January 2003. We are confident that we shall be able to get an enthusiastic response from consumers."

Nirvana Music has also firmed up plans to target a volume of 5,00,000 cassettes of the official World Cup cricket album containing several songs. Nimbus Communications had launched its music division Nirvana Music in August 2002. Nirvana Music has been positioned as a boutique label and will concentrate primarily on creating non-conformist and non-traditional sounds in the non film category. It had acquired the merchandising rights from IM.

IM's Bhasin claims: "The merchandising proposition offers a good option for brands and companies to develop marketing initiatives in sync with their core competencies. There is a perfect synergy as the apparels and accessories company can conduct major allied activities to coincide with the World Cup."

PRI's Biyani is also pretty upbeat: "Pantaloon has taken a conscious decision to associate our products with films and cricket. Therefore, it makes business sense to bid for the merchandising rights of the World Cup cricket. We are also negotiating with channels for barter deals wherein we offer attractive prizes in exchange for co-branding!"

It seems as if consumers and viewers are going to be bombarded with a heavy dose of cricket in the next quarter!

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