The studio has brokered deals with more than 100 partners to help hype the Sony Pictures Animation sequel, out July 31, with the companies said to be spending more than $150 million in marketing support around the film around the world. The figure is said to be triple what partners spent around the first film in 2011. The number of deals are double what it had for the first film, as well.
That’s not unusual, given that marketers often hold off on backing a film until they know it will be successful at the box office — even in the case of the Smurfs, who are well-know around the world. The first “Smurfs” earned $563 million. A third film already is planned for 2015, which will help the studio lock down additional licensing deals with toymakers and other partners given the long lead time.
Up for “The Smurfs 2” are McDonald’s, and retail partners Walmart, Macy’s, Ashley Furniture and Toys R Us, the latter of which will build an in-store Smurf-themed shop at its outlets. Jakks Pacific and Build-A-Bear Workshop are toy partners on the film, while Ubisoft has licensed the rights to Smurfs videogames.
Gourmet Trading Company returns as a promotional partner, with the Smurfs featured on millions of packages of blueberries nationwide in supermarkets. A Discover the Forest public service announcement will also launch, developed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council, to encourage kids and families to reconnect with nature.
Many of the key promotional partners from the first film are returning to join in the “Smurfs 2” campaign, designed to target families while also promoting the ability to live the “Smurfs” brand, the studio said.
Primary overseas partners include Starwood Hotels, Capri Sun, Haribo candy, Chupa Chips, Ferrero chocolate, Albert, Tesco, Konzum, Cora/Match and Total petrol that will promote the film in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean with TV, radio, online, in-store and hotel exposure.
Sony’s sister divisions are also naturally getting in on the act, with Sony Recording Media, Sony Electronics and Sony Mobile will also team up to bring the Smurfs to life in Sony stores around the world.
Sony is also looking to a little higher end with its “Smurfs” efforts, as well, inking licensing deals with apparel and accessory makers Junk Food, Thursday Friday, and Glam House.
“The success we had with the first film went way beyond even our wildest expectations – merchandise flew off the shelves, and in some cases, completely sold out,” said George Leon, executive VP, consumer marketing for Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Because we had such a great experience on the first film, we were able to re-assemble the anchor promotional partners from the last campaign and build on them with an expansive new program, and this time, retailers are taking a bigger position on Smurfs product to meet increased consumer demand.”
In the film, directed by Raja Gosnell, the evil wizard Gargamel creates mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette when he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants, and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs.