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A DVD Marketing Campaign Horton Would Definitely Hear


Brooks Barnes

The New York Times

July 28, 2008


Horton will be huge, at least if 20th Century Fox has anything to say about it.

The movie studio, part of the News Corporation, is backing the arrival of the animated film “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” on DVD with one of the biggest marketing pushes in the medium’s history. Fox executives are boasting that the campaign is intended to generate more than 200 million “consumer impressions.”

A 66-foot-long balloon of Horton — who is, as most of us know, an elephant with a beautiful soul — will be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Macy’s will also stock stuffed Hortons in its more than 800 stores. In a slightly odd promotion, L’Oréal plans to sell Horton-inspired shampoos (perhaps because of Horton’s wee tuft of black hair). About 300,000 bottles of “Horton Whoberry” will soon arrive at stores.

20th Century Fox has also lined up Energy Star, the government program that promotes energy-efficient products and practices. Working off the movie’s message that a person is a person no matter how small, Energy Star plans television spots for children about how they can help save the environment. (Presumably, asking their parents to buy the Horton DVD has something to do with it.)

The movie, based on the 1954 children’s book by Theodor Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, has sold $295.2 million in tickets around the world, according to the theater tracking company Box Office Mojo — which is one reason that Fox says it has the potential to become another “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” That movie, also from Fox, is the best-selling DVD of the year so far.

But Fox has another motive. With DVD sales softening — the $16 billion domestic business had its first annual decline last year — the studio is spending a bit more energy on marketing, hoping to reverse or at least stabilize sales figures in advance of the all-important fourth quarter.

That would help quiet analysts and the media, who have been harping on weakness in the DVD market.






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