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India’s moonshot launches craze for merchandise, Retail News, ET Retail

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Chandrayaan-3-themed do-it-yourself space kits, hampers, tees, stationery, backpacks, models of rockets, collectibles and other merchandise are seeing a ten-fold surge in demand on ecommerce platforms and retail shelves after India’s historic moon landing on August 23, executives said.

ISRO has tie-ups with 19 merchandise partners for categories such as apparel, stationary, backpacks and DIY rocket kits.

“ISRO and Chandrayaan-3 have become household names now,” said Bhavik Vora, founder and chief executive of brand licensing company Black White Orange, which sells merchandise officially registered under ISRO through its own A47.in virtual store, Amazon and Ajio. ISRO merchandise categories in top demand, he said, include T-shirts, iron-on badges, hoodies, caps and posters.

“ISRO has also commissioned A47 to create badges for their Gaganyaan project,” Vora said.

HDFC Bank, Uber, Myntra, ITC, Amul, Zupee, Zomato, KFC and PepsiCo’s Lays are among brands that have capitalised on the historic event with Vikram lander-theme inspired consumer marketing or social media posts. Many of these have launched collectibles or limited-edition packs to tie in with the Vikram lander’s soft landing on the moon.

“Seeking associations with ISRO and Chandrayaan have become universal in appeal for the last three days; it’s gone beyond its niche appeal for space enthusiasts and students,” said Gaurav Marya, founder and chairman of retail, licensing and franchising consultancy Franchise India, which is also a licensed merchandise partner of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in India.

ITC has launched a limited-edition dessert, Lunar Dulce de Leche Choux Bun, under the ITC Sunfeast Baked Creations brand name in celebration of Chandrayaan-3. The dessert resembles the moon along with a chocolate replica of the Chandrayaan-3 rover. The company also undertook moment marketing campaigns on social media using brands like Aashirvaad, Bingo!, Sunfeast, Farmlite, Sunfeast Bounce and Classmate.

Many of these brands are seeking strategic partnerships and collaborations across space-related products.

“We are getting queries in large numbers for licensing partnerships with ISRO. Chandrayaan-3 has been the game changer, across all space-related merchandise categories,” Marya said. He added that categories which have approached his company for licence partnerships include makers of lifestyle and fashion, stationery, games and backpacks.

“We’re over the moon as the #FantasyOfEveryHeart has finally transformed into a splendid reality,” ITC posted on Instagram on behalf of its Sunfeast cookies brand. “Over the moon.. the feeling of happiness when your investments bear good returns,” HDFC Bank said in campaigns released on social media. Domino’s Pizza linked the event to a successful delivery status, while cab hailing service Uber ran a pun which said: “Location par aa gaya hun (I’ve reached the location)”.

Space-related branded merchandise sales run into billions of dollars globally. A part of this market remains unorganised, though.

  • Published On Aug 26, 2023 at 04:21 PM IST

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