I remember seeing the preview for the original Kung Fu Panda and thinking, “What has the world come to?” Never did I foresee that such a seemingly lame animated film would garner such support (and revenue) that would prompt a sequel.
But, after doing some research, it seems my initial instincts were wrong. According to Wikipedia, the film was a box office hit, grossing over $60 Million in it’s first weekend, which made it the highest (non-Shrek) grossing film for DreamWorks Animation.
In a few short days (5/26), Kung Fu Panda 2 will be released, and DreamWorks has not shied away from the opportunity of exploiting the lovable Master Po character to its fullest extent.
As one might expect, DreamWorks has landed partnerships with all of the major toy and entertainment companies, including Mattel, THQ, Penguin Books, and Dalmatian Press. They have also used more traditional tactics, including advertisements on General Mills cereal boxes, Airheads wrappers, and Sun-Maid raisins packaging. DreamWorks even made sure to get those characters into McDonald’s Happy Meals, on to iPads and iPhones with the Kung Fu Panda 2 Storybook, and even went on to tour the Po balloon used in the NYC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in six different cities around the country! However, there is one promotion in particular that Dreamworks did that I find to be innovative and, well, brilliant.
For the past several months, House Foods America, which is a tofu and soyfoods manufacturer, has been promoting Kung Fu Panda 2 on their tofu packaging. According to Variety, this was the first time that a film studio has paired up with a tofu company. Below, you can see a few samples of the packaging that House Foods America put on 8 million of their tofu items.
So why did they form this partnership to begin with? According to blog.moviefone.com, the House Foods America marketing supervisor said:
By positioning tofu as a nutritious, powerful food that keeps warriors such as Po and the Furious Five kung fu ready for any adventure that comes their way, we hope families and kids nationwide discover tofu’s potential as a superfood.
Their reasons for the partnership seem very sound. However, I would like to raise a countering point. Children don’t avoid tofu because of the packaging; they don’t beg their parents for it because of it’s unusual taste and texture. So even though these children who love Po may find the packaging exciting and fun, I can bet that once they’ve tried the food that’s inside, they aren’t too thrilled.
My question for the future: What kind of impact did this promotion have on Health Foods America tofu sales, and what sort of change, if any, did they see after the movie’s release? In addition, how did this affect sales for DreamWorks, or did they just get paid enough money that the difference doesn’t matter?
At any rate, Kung Fu Panda 2 is coming out in just one week. I personally won’t be attending the midnight showing, but here’s the preview for you to make your own assessment…