Monday, June 01, 2015

Marketing Synergy

Universal/Illumination Entertainment find a new way to market a cartoon.

The Minions of "Despicable Me" have already graced billboards, board games and kids' backpacks. And now the ubiquitous yellow cartoon characters -- known for speaking in gibberish and gleefully creating chaos -- are showing up on some of Amazon's delivery boxes.

The e-commerce giant has teamed up with Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment ahead of the July 10 release of "Minions," the prequel to the blockbuster "Despicable Me" film series.

Certain Amazon fulfillment centers have begun shipping customer orders in bright yellow, Minions-themed boxes. The packages come in an array of sizes used to deliver items such as books, DVDs, toys and sporting goods. ...

And of course Chris Meledandri, the topkick of Illumination Entertainment, pioneered a new successful way to make cartoons.

A veteran artist who has worked for IE described to me how storyboard artists work at home in wide-flung parts of the globe, and send their work in to Illumination Entertainment's Command Central. I said that other studios have tried the "freelancers in different locations" thing and fallen flat on their corporate faces. He said:

"But there's a difference with Illumination Entertainment. It uses top people and pays them well. Everybody is experienced. Everybody knows what they're doing. That why the company has made it work." ...

It's a good an explanation as I've heard regarding IE's business model. And it's certainly paid off. All of the company's animated features have made nice money at the box office.


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