By Cathy Rose A. Garcia, Associate Editor
NEARLY 5,000 Disney-branded products are sold every hour in SM shopping malls throughout the country, according to officials of The Walt Disney Company (Philippines), Inc. and SM Lifestyle and Entertainment, Inc.
In the last three years, Disney and SM have worked together, leveraging on the strengths of their brands to drive business growth for both companies.
“The main reason (for the partnership) was we wanted to establish SM as a key destination for Disney properties. We like to work with global brands like Disney, they’re the best licensor in the world. For us being the largest mall operator, the largest retailer in the Philippines, we also want to work with the best,” Myra Eugenia I. Moñozca, vice president for licensing and partnerships at SM Lifestyle Entertainment, told BusinessWorld in an Aug. 17 interview.
Disney-SM’s multiyear partnership covers theatrical promotions, retail and special activities. The two companies brought Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars movies to life through retail and entertainment experiences at SM shopping malls throughout the Philippines.
Veronica Espinosa-Cabalinan, general manager of The Walt Disney Company (Philippines), noted the Disney brand has become stronger in the Philippines as a result of the partnership with SM.
“The partnership helped drive business growth for us. The data showed close to 5,000 Disney products are sold per hour in SM malls. Year on year, since the partnership, we have had double-digit growth in our Disney character business with SM Retail,” she told BusinessWorld at the Disney office in Taguig on Aug. 17.
“Two out of three Filipinos are Disney fans. With that fact and the quality products we have available in retail, it helps us build the connection with Filipino fans and audience,” she added.
Ms. Moñozca noted Disney now contributes approximately half of overall sales of character brands in SM. Also, Disney licensees in key categories such as apparel, accessories, footwear and toys have been able to generate 80% of their sales from SM stores.
DISNEY EXPERIENCE AT SM
SM malls have become a showcase for Disney films, as well as its well-loved characters. Last December, all 55 SM malls throughout the country featured Disney-themed Christmas displays under the “We Love Disney” campaign.
“The malls pride themselves in providing the best possible family experience for our customers every Christmastime. We know the nature of our Filipino customers. You can basically do everything at the mall now, go to mass, shop, eat, watch a movie… Having that thematic experience like We Love Disney campaign added to that excitement during Christmastime,” Ms. Moñozca said.
Ms. Cabalinan noted these displays, which featured Mickey and Friends, Disney Princesses and other popular characters, helped bring the Disney experience to more Filipinos.
“As you know, especially in the provinces, one of the aspirations of some Filipino families is to be able to go to Disneyland. Now this type of installation brings them close to that type of experience, one where they can also experience in Disneyland,” Ms. Cabalinan said.
More than a third of screen share for Disney films in the Philippines are accounted to SM cinemas, allowing the movies to reach audiences in Visayas and Mindanao wherever there are SM malls.
“Aside from driving business growth, it provided us increased engagement with fans, connecting to fans not just in Metro Manila. We have to build our strengths in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and that’s what the partnership is about also, reaching areas with fans that we are unable to connect with,” Ms. Cabalinan said.
With a slew of new movies coming out in the next few months, Disney and SM expect to continue bringing unique, “money can’t buy” experiences for fans at the malls.
“What’s exciting is Disney churns out new properties and movies every year, just based on theatrical slate for next year, there’s so much more we can do with theatrical promotions with Disney… We will support it on ground with activations, retail campaigns as well. With new movies comes greater opportunities to do something different year on year,” Ms. Moñozca said.