Fox is attempting to recalibrate its marketing machinery to support a strategic effort to develop more event films and enduring media brands.
Top priority is to guide the licensing strategy for Fox's first animated-event film, "Anastasia," hitting theaters in November.
`ANASTASIA' SOLE FOCUS
In terms of movie properties, Fox is making "Anastasia" its sole focus in 1997, underscoring the importance of the studio's event-film strategy and its move into Disneyesque animated features.
Fox is investing $100 million in an animation studio and is at work on its second feature, a sci-fi epic called "Planet Ice," due in 1999.
"This is a risky business, and Fox is making a huge investment in money and time. But when you win, you win big," said Pat Wyatt, the licensing and merchandising unit's president. "Rupert Murdoch has given us the marching orders to make `Anastasia' the greatest marketing event Fox has ever undertaken."
Fox and parent News Corp. are planning to pull out all the stops for "Anastasia"-look for prime-time TV specials and promotion on Fox Children's Network. News Corp.'s FSI unit will produce magazine and newspaper inserts for the film and its licensees. TV Guide is being brought into the mix.
Marketing plans for "Anastasia" may call for Fox TV and print ads directly backing licensees' efforts. Fox isn't using an outside agency.
The unit's promotions department has signed Burger King Corp. as fast-food partner and is negotiating deals in the auto, candy and package-goods categories.
LICENSES TO 40-PLUS COMPANIES
The support of major marketers is usually an essential ingredient for Hollywood licensing divisions. Ms. Wyatt said Fox has sold licenses to 40 to 45 companies.
Mr. Bruderer is a former director of brand management at Applause, a licensing company; previously, he was a Mattel product manager. Ms. McCollough had most recently been marketing director at Neutrogena Corp.; earlier she was associate marketing director at Max Factor & Co.