Featured Post

Trust: Missing in action where it counts

Whom do you trust? That's a big, loaded question. And at least one organisation has been putting out a Trust Barometer for 14 years now...

Monday, July 23, 2007

He is jiggying with cartoon characters

He is a musician at heart, an artist by night, a designer by accident and an author by will. That is Jiggy George for you, the man with several talents who believes in doing a lot of the things he loves. His colourful career began at Zodiac Apparel, where he was made to design socks!

Soon he got bored and decided to team up with brother Gogi George to promote live musical gigs. Their big break was getting Bon Jovi to Mumbai. After a short stint at being an entrepreneur, he decided to gives sales and marketing a shot.

At 34, he is now the Director of Cartoon Network Enterprises, India and South Asia and this Welingkar Institute alumni is putting a lot of those marketing strategies that was crammed into his head, to good use.

George told CNBC-TV18, "Just after graduation, I was going through with this 'I still haven't found what I am looking for' phase. I always knew there was a part of me that loved the Arts and there was a part of me that knew sales and marketing and business. So after Zodiac Apparel, I joined my brother's event management company."

"My brother's company was doing things like corporate parties, Independence Rock and the project on which I worked was a big one - bringing Bon Jovi down to India. That is when I moved into the first leg of business. After this, I moved to Times of India where I did a full fledged sales job, in different departments within the sales team, for about three years."

Then Cartoon Network happened to him. A strong believer in promotional licensing, he hopes to give Cartoon Network's portfolio of characters a life beyond their shows. So there are interesting tie-ups with the usual, FMCG companies and kids brands like Frito and Cadbury and some unusual partnerships, like the one they have with BPCL. Merchandising will also be a serious revenue stream for the company, which has just celebrated 10 years in India.

"When I look at Cartoon Network, there is a huge canvas. You have brands which are cult in the lives of kids and you have sub-brands like Dexter and Johnny Bravo etc. Level one, we did promotional licensing, which is like a Jerry Maguire job. Here we lease out the equity of our characters to clients to run promotions, increase sales and build loyalty."

"Level two is where we have used our characters in commercials. In the UK, we have used Scooby Doo with David Beckham in the Adidas commercial."

The Frito and Cadbury tie-up is understandable but how did George pitch to clients like BPCL and Red Label? He explains, "Red Label was always talking to the family and this Diwali they wanted to gratify the kid in the family, so it was buy a gift for your kid."

"With BPCL, they have been warming up to the fact that the petrol pump is not just this boring place where people fuel up and get out. In a parity market, where fuel costs the same in two different pumps, parents would like to stop at the pump giving away gifts of cartoon characters like the Power Puff Girls or Dexter wth their purchase."

The plan is to be all over the place - in large malls and single hypermarkets and by this Diwali, Cartoon Network merchandise will be in 2,000 stores around the country. Kids are sure to have a brighter Diwali this year.

He explains, "I think at the end of the day, we have to be broadbased and not be elitist and you have to do that in Hindi. We are very clear that the strategy is that wherever Cartoon Network goes, our products should be accessible to those cities. Even in terms of price points, our products should be accessible."

The man is also doing lots of other things with his life. Apart from making plenty of children happy, he has kept the writer in him going as well. He has written music reviews and columns for a vast range of publications - from Filmfare and Metropolis to the Times of India. Next on his agenda is a book on life in corporate India. Well, he is in a good position to pen that.

Written for www.moneycontrol.com

No comments: