In September 2018, AnimationXpress reported about Imagica, India’s theme park destination foraying into the field of animation. This plunge marks an addition of another feather to its cap, after winning the ‘Best Licensee Award in the Theme & Amusement Park industry’ at the India Licensing Expo 2018.
Associating with one of India’s leading animation hub, Artha Animation and production house A Richer Lens Entertainment headed by Vivek B. Agrawal, Imagica is set to successfully establish an intriguing and unique concept through its slate of animated series featuring ‘Stars of Imagica’ which will possibly have 13 hours of content.
This is first of its kind deal as part of its 360 degree marketing campaign for owned IPs that will find the popular homegrown characters of Imagica to spread magic on screen through exciting animated content.
“We’re developing a slate of shows around Imagica’s key characters, Tubbby, Bow-Wow, Rajasaurus, Roberto and Toota Phoota. Each show will be episodic in nature, consisting of anywhere between 12-26 episodes. Depending on the characters, the shows target different age groups, so our offering is really comprehensive in terms of the age range and variety of concepts and theme that it covers,” mentioned A Richer Lens Entertainment chief creative officer and writer-director of the series Avantika Hari Agrawal.
These endearing characters are already cherished by more than 75 Lakh guests till date through varied rides, shows based on them, meet and greets at Imagica, as well as through lovable and quirky merchandise available at retail stores that customers have taken home as souvenirs.
Imagica Jt CEO Dhimant Bakshi said that at Imagica, they strive towards introducing innovative methods to reach out to consumers with quality entertainment and since Imagica’s characters are loved far and wide, they are aiming to go beyond just that with an interesting animated content.
Hari Agrawal, who helms the project, is a multi award winning director. She’s the recipient of the National Award and many international awards for her debut film Land Gold Women. For three years, she served as creative director for Growl Media, a Dubai based agency which created Appykids, a brand for children’s content. Under her leadership, the IP of Growl grew tenfold. What started as app character, grew to have animated cartoons, books, games, teaching aids and merchandise. Under her, the animation of the series’ will be produced by Artha Animation.
She continued on the inspiration for coming up with the idea of creating this animated series and said, “Children are our inspiration. Their curiosity, their ability to absorb, assimilate and apply knowledge is wondrous. For too long, the dissemination of knowledge to children has been rigid, forced and uni-dimensional. We hope that our shows encourage children to retain their innate curiosity and explore the world around them, filled with adventure and wonder.”
Being a joint venture, the IP of these shows will rest between Adlabs Imagica, A Richer Lens Entertainment and Artha Animation. When asked about the process of making of the series, Artha Animation CEO Gaurav Malhotra commented, “We are keeping our content revolving around the targeted age group and drawing inspiration from the new age parents who resort to animated and interactive content to teach moral values to their kids. These conversations are given utmost importance to drive us further to create the best content possible for them.”
Bakshi added on the similar line, “Each of Imagica’s characters have their characteristic traits which are well established in consumer’s mind so we ensure, that the new stories being developed are in tandem with these personalities. We are really happy with the way things are proceeding and are sure that audience will receive the series very well.”
The animated series is built on the personalities of the characters, along with storyboards that talk of different situations that these characters get into. Some are everyday stories and some are fictional adventures!
Each show covers a different concept. With Tubbby, the elephant, the makers will be covering all the preschool concepts of colours, numbers, shapes and so on through story, song and activity. Tubbby’s show is built around the premise of ‘Respect yourself, respect others and respect the environment’.
Detective Bow Wow, the detective dog is a slightly bumbling detective who solves strange cases using his trusty assistant robot, Toota Phoota’s math skills to defeat his arch nemesis, Selective Khao Jhao.
Rajasaurus, on the other hand is a time travelling dinosaur, who takes us through history’s most iconic moments and makes us a part of them. With them is Roberto, a lion chef from Italy who shows the process of how food lands up on your plate in a fun way.
All of these shows will be made in 3D as it will enable the characters to seem real and relatable, which is especially crucial considering the attention of children. The makers are still finalising on the platforms to air the series and as A Richer Lens Entertainment CEO Vivek B. Agrawal informed, “We will be approaching various TV and OTT platforms, post we have trailer ready for showcasing.”
Bakshi also hinted on plans of merchandising the characters, “We already have an established merchandise segment around our characters worth Rs 20 Crore per annum. This is solely from merchandise sale at Imagica and online on major e-commerce platforms. Animated content around our characters is a part of our 360 degree content marketing campaign wherein we have associated with various organisations and outlets for widespread consumption of the Stars of Imagica. Our character merchandise is already present across Hamleys, Zontom stores and at major e-commerce outlets, apart from multiple retail stores inside the park. Through these activities and consistent marketing of Imagica as a brand, we are sure that the character merchandise business would grow significantly.”
Additionally, Imagica have ventured into a partnership with education and innovation company, Neltas for educational content through their characters for children from second to fifth standard. They associated with Cello for their ‘Back to School’ products line with licensing of Imagica characters, and Havmor with a licensing deal of Imagica’s mascot-Tubbby, to feature on Havmor ice creams.
Imagica is a beloved destination among children of all ages and this is their first attempt at bringing that experience into people’s homes. Hari Agarwal further noted, “We intend to make the brand an integral part of children’s lives, so we ensure that our content has to be high quality and wholesome. Today’s parents are active, participatory and desire that their children consume content that is non-offensive, non-violent and teaches values, culture and social truths with just the right balance of education and entertainment. To empathise with these needs, we’re keen to take on the challenge of entertaining and educating their children in new and exciting ways.”
Having received immense love and recall for the characters both at Imagica and outside, this step will ensure Imagica’s consistent presence in consumers’ lives through content that caters to the young ones in the family. We hope to see this project coming through, with flying colours and get all the love it deserves.