Nick to adopt a hybrid strategic approach while going back on-ground in summer: Viacom18 head of marketing – kids TV network Sonali Bhattacharya

Sonali Bhattacharya

Nickelodeon is well known for its Kids’ Choice Awards (KCA) which is committed towards empowering and encouraging young audiences to voice their choice. After a month-long promotions and campaigns KCA is all set to culminate on 27 March. This year, the kids broadcaster went a step further by launching a mega metaverse award show. The awards show will come to life in a screening at Decentraland, the place of the first ever Metaverse concert. Animation Xpress got in touch with Viacom18 head of marketing kids’ entertainment cluster Sonali Bhattacharya to have a detailed conversation on Kids Choice Awards, marketing strategies and their plans to incorporate metaverse in future Nick IPs.

The seventh edition of KCA is the desktop first experience curated for audiences across the globe to provide families with one of its kind immersive entertainment experiences. Sharing more details of the metaverse concert, Bhattacharya added, “Nickelodeon is the first in the category to foray into metaverse and we are doing that with Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards which culminates on 27 March. In addition to 14 screens and simulcasts that would happen on that evening is the first-ever metaverse screening of KCA. It is truly a  big innovation in this space as nobody in this category has done it so far. We are really excited to roll it out. The interesting part in this is we are bringing it to the audience in a desktop version, so there is no need for any headsets, Oculus VR glasses. The audience just needs to click on the link and be part of a metaverse. It is a very pioneering step in this direction.”

Talking about last year’s KCA success and the way forward, a proud Bhattacharya said, “Last year KCA was a whopping success and it continues to be successful even this year. We garnered almost the same number of votes as last year, nearly 1.5 million votes. For me this year KCA is an even bigger achievement than last year because now everything is completely opened up in terms of engaging online. Schools are following hybrid models, people are moving to a more normal routine than before, and despite that we were able to witness that excitement and energy around KCA and the voting didn’t drop off. It is a really big achievement for us and proves to us that if you do campaigns based with strong insights then it definitely works. KCA empowers kids to voice their choice.”

The kids channel is also actively involved in collaborating with Influencers and bloggers such as Siddharth Nigam, Cahat Tewani and Saru Mukherjee to engage with kids. “Influencer marketing works very well for the kids category as they are the first movers and early adopters of trends. Influencer marketing gained momentum and it is only going to increase in the next couple of years. With the rise in video content platforms with numerous acts that have been offered currently allows users to generate content and put themselves out there like never before. We do depend on that and choose our influencers very carefully. We work and collaborate with them to create the best content and experiences for our kids through Instagram reels, YouTube, TakaTak, Facebook and all possible mediums,” Bhattacharya said.

Nickelodeon strongly believes in delivering meaningful messages to kids through their effective campaigns like #Togetherforgood, #Takeabreak and many more. Sharing her insights on how a channel plays a major role in disseminating valuable messages, Bhattacharya expounded, “More and more brands are aspiring to do with the audience is to communicate and send them messages that actually have higher purposes. In addition to the other filters like entertainment, engagement, connecting at the right place at the right time in the right way, purpose has also become the most important part of every brand. Our recent initiative #Togetherforgood is based on our lessons learnt from pandemic. We discovered a lot of people are going through mental well being crises and we did not see the conversation around mental wellbeing and wellness among kids.

Being the leader in the category we took it upon ourselves to have that very meaningful conversation with children and as well as with their parents. These things gave rise to initiatives like #Takeabreak, where we encourage kids to de-shed all their stress, worries and do whatever it takes to make them feel happy and relaxed. For my mind it is very important to disseminate meaningful messages to the kids as it will bring change in the society.”

Shedding light on how Nick is planning to approach kids as things are getting back to normal with kids back to school and everything opening up, Bhattacharya shared, “We will make attempts to go back on-ground in summer months. It is the most important time of the year for Nickelodeon. Lot of our tent-poles, campaigns and initiatives take peak form in the summer months and we do wish to go on-ground in the next couple of months if situations are better. But our focus on virtual and multi-screen strategy will continue to be as before and we will continue to engage kids through every possible consumer screen and will definitely take the hybrid approach.”