Connoisseur of licensed merchandise help licensees prep

Just three years short of being a centenarian brand, Disney has blazed a trail for brand licensing as a segment. It has an extensively elaborate portfolio and serves as connoisseur of licensed merchandise. In order to help potential licensees prep for collaborations, Sanjeet Mehta, Executive Director and Head-Consumer Products, Disney India, enlightens us about the brand aesthetics and values of Disney

What are the parameters for an ideal licensee?

The licensing business model is predicated on finding the right licensing partner. The right licensee brings on board a wealth of knowledge in a specific product domain, which helps us translate characters into compelling products. We choose to work with brands that are known for high-quality products and have a healthy presence across the country through online and offline distribution to be able to make our products easily available to consumers.

What potential do you feel Disney’s IPs hold in India? Also, what are your thoughts on the increasing fad for Disney merchandise?

Our timeless stories and engaging characters across Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars have entertained and engaged kids and families everywhere. We are thrilled to see more and more fans wanting to bring our stories home in the form of a product, thus making them part of their everyday lives. Today, brands have started to understand the fandom we enjoy in the market and now they realise the need to integrate popular characters in their products. To put this into context, ‘Frozen’ characters resonate well with younger girls, ‘Spider Man’ with younger boys and the ‘Avengers’ cuts across ages and gender.

What are the checks as to know if an IP is ready for licensing?

Character affinity is the most important and only factor that decides if our stories are ready to translate into physical or digital product.

Could you shed some light on your recent collaborations?

The consumer products business plays a critical role in providing Indian consumers a chance to bring a piece of the Disney magic home through a wide range of creative and locally appealing merchandise all year round. One of the interesting collaboration that I can think of is ‘Indie Mickey’, a special-edition collection with BIBA and BIBA Girls. The collection showcased Mickey Mouse in a unique style inspired by the indigenous arts, crafts and craftsmanship of India – presented in stylish and quirky design aesthetics.

What product category according to you is trending at the moment?

Disney has been a pioneer in the country in character licensing and we have products across varied categories. Fashion features amongst the top and has grown significantly. Today, the ‘Marvel Super Heroes’ enjoy high affinity amongst youth, and this has contributed tremendously towards the growth of this category. Besides fashion, our back-to-school category, which focuses on the needs of kids and preadolescents’ day-to-day school life, and our toys category are in great demand too. 

What product category do you feel translates the brand equity of Disney the most?

Creativity is at the heart of everything we do at Disney. Our product designs appeal to kids, families and youth alike. Disney characters have the ability to seamlessly blend across any category and the product is designed keeping in mind the tastes and popularity of our characters across fan demographics.