The Turtle marketing machine

a month of Turtle Mania in preparation for the March 23rd release of the CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie:

“The impressive lineup of promotional partners supporting TMNT reflects the quality of the movie,” said Alfred R. Kahn, chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, which is the licensing agent for the Turtles franchise. “This is a movie for everybody — from today’s kids to adults who were fans of the original television series almost 20 years ago.”

I’m not sure if this will truly be a movie for everyone. After all, now that I’ve read that blurb, I’m feeling rather old as I remember that I not only remember the original series, but that I was too old for it even back then. I am not feeling the Turtles love right at this very moment, people. Ahem.

Regardless, you have to admire the mammoth marketing push behind this thing. Check it out:

McDonald’s — Kids can collect one of eight TMNT premiums with the purchase of a Happy Meal. The promotion is supported by television, radio and digital advertising.

You’ve arrived when your characters come with french fries. And thank goodness the promotion will be supported by all that other advertising, because McD’s is such a little place with a low profile. Phew!

Airheads — For a limited time, a special lime green-flavored Airhead will be inserted into 12 million packs of the candy. Each package will also include a TMNT “tongue-tickling” tattoo. The promotion is supported by TV advertising.

This one probably does require that TV advertising support. Though who wouldn’t want a “tongue-tickling” tattoo for their kid? That sounds really… ummm… wholesome. Wait. Well, anyway, um, I like lime.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) will air TV spots across TWC stations promoting a TMNT sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Warner Bros. Studios and secondary prizes. TMNT clips and footage will also be available On Demand to TWC subscribers. Additionally, TWC will hold advanced screening programs in three markets, as well as mall events in Dallas and Los Angeles, all of which will include TMNT Ubisoft video games and Time Warner Cable prize giveaways.

I just want to know if they’ll be giving away those tattoos.

Cool Cuts 4 Kids — The salon chain for kids will offer TMNT coloring books, card games and other fun items to customers, who will also have a chance to enter in a sweepstakes where the winning Cool Cuts family will be treated to a private screening of TMNT. They will also distribute advanced TMNT screening passes to customers in the Dallas market.

It’s long been my guilty pleasure to read InStyle or another, similar magazine designed to tell me what to think about what’s current and hip when I go to get my hair cut. It’s about time there was something similar available to kids. Why just get your hair cut when you could be told where to spend your money, too?

Kmart — Customers who make a $10 minimum purchase of TMNT movie toys from Playmates, including action figures and role play items, will receive an exclusive pack of four collectible TMNT Movie Trading Cards while supplies last.

Ahhh, the timeless ploy of making sure the kids will beg for something you can only get by buying something else. We parents just love that, don’t we? And “while supplies last” guarantees that we feel compelled to run out and get it right this second, or at least that our whining children do. Excellent!

Hot Topic — Home of a national TMNT sweepstakes where the Grand Prize is a VIP Fly-Away trip for two to Hollywood that includes a tour of Warner Bros. Studios and a TMNT movie screening.

“Yeah, I’d like that glow-in-the-dark belly ring, and some turtles.”

Wal-Mart — 1,000 top Wal-Mart stores will give away movie posters while supplies last to every customer making a TMNT movie toy purchase.

Ohhhh, more “while supplies last” drama. And at my very favorite store known for its concern for the little guy, too. I’ll be running right over.

Toys “R” Us — With a $20 minimum purchase of Playmates TMNT movie toys, including action figures and role play items, customers will receive a $5 TMNT movie-branded Toys “R” Us gift card while supplies last. A special TMNT movie feature shop will be erected in the Times Square store in New York City.

This one takes the cake, because it’s a gift card offer “while supplies last.” Because it’s not as if they make the gift cards there at TRU, or anything. I’ll be sure to run right out for that one, too.

I dunno, maybe I’m being a little cranky (and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time), but this just sounds like every marketing technique in the book that I feel insults my intelligence as a consumer.

Here’s a crazy idea: Why not let the movie stand on its own merit, and then release merchandise that’s just, I don’t know, stuff you can buy without gimmicks or catches. I know, I know—that’s just crazy talk.

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One thought on “The Turtle marketing machine

  1. Ugh, doesn’t over-advertising just drive you insane? It seems like anytime a semi-prominent kid’s movie opens, that’s all you see and hear for months before and after. I’m also tired of it, and I don’t even have kids! I have to say, though, that I am feeling very nostalgic thanks to this wave of new movies based on old cartoons and comics. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers (well, more Transformers, but I was a turtle fan, too) bring back so many memories from my childhood that the over-marketing hype hasn’t really bothered me that much. I’m more afraid of what they’ve done to my beloved cartoons than how they’re trying to push them on a new generation of kids. I don’t really remember the marketing of movies when I was young, but I don’t believe it was anywhere like it is today. They really should let the movie stand on its own and stop trying to sell it with toys.