Following in the footsteps of Shanghai, where a much larger set-up has been in place for five years, CTI launched its studio in Hong Kong this summer at the Fortune Metro Plaza. Natalie Chiu, GM of CTI told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the company is planning to open branches in Taiwan and Singapore as well.
There are 12 Barbie-themed stories, including The Princes & The Popstar, Mariposa, Swan Lake and Princess Charm School. CTI has publishing copyrights for six other classic fairytale stories including Snow White, Cinderella, Nutcracker and the Sleeping Beauty.
Chiu told Campaign Asia-Pacific that Hong Kong parents love to dress up their children like princesses or princes, and the studio can digitally turn them into the cartoon characters. The photographs can be printed in fairytale-book format, and the entire production process normally takes one to two months.
The target audience is mainly girls aged between 2 and 10. Chiu said girls generally love the “transformation” experience, as they like doing their make-up and hair and posing. The plan is to add more characters, like Peter Pan for boys, later this year, she added.
“There is an educational element to all of this," she said. "There are some stories like Thumbelina where moms can play a role, too, and when the girls get older they can show the storybook to their children and share with them the experience,” Chiu said.
Chiu noted with as smile that the target market is very defined. “When girls are older than 10, they don’t want to be dressed up as a princess any more—they prefer to be pop stars!”
On the marketing-front, CTI has used PR agency mon1group for media relations, and is doing promotions on Facebook and parents-related websites. The company will also partnering with Toys R Us and Mattel to do a marketing promotion based Barbie's Mariposa character in early October.