Merchandise boosts ‘K-On!’ movie sales

May 6th, 2011 by Felicity Hughes

Though the “K-On!” movie is yet to open in the future on Dec. 3, J-Cast observed that on movie tickets completely sold out on April 29. Why had the sales spiked so much prior to the movie’s release? It turns out that ardent fans were desperate to get their hands on limited-edition merchandise.

Movie goers who order a ticket to see “K-On!” in advance get the perk of a clear plastic file that depicts a character from the anime drama. There are five files to collect and fans have been buying up to five tickets together in order to collect each one. Some fans even camped over night to get their mitts on these desirable slivers of brightly colored plastic. Stocks are now running low and a cinema in Kumamoto, for instance, reports that it has run out of the special files.

“K-On!” merchandise has been insanely popular. Back in November last year we reported on Lawson’s “K-On!” campaign. The convenience store sold specially branded K-On! snacks as part of a special campaign, some of which were so popular that they immediately sold out. This caused a huge commotion on the net among disgruntled “K-On!” fans who pride themselves on owning complete collections of all “K-On!” merch.

If you haven’t heard of “K-On!” before, here’s the takeaway: It’s a gentle, light comedy, bursting with saccharine sweet cuteness. Debuting in April 2009 on TBS, it follows the fortunes of five cute high school girls who decide to start a music club and a rock band is born.

The runaway success of the K-On! movie campaign is sure to inspire marketers to get busy to create similar limited-edition items.

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4 Responses

  1. If you watch anime and you have not ever heard or seen K-ON, you my friend, are very sheltered.

    Marketing merch like this in Japan is probably the easiest thing to do to make money. Otakus will do anything to get limited edition items, or even multiple copies of something. I remember about 3 years ago when the Don’t say lazy single came out, someone bought 11 copies. ELEVEN.

  2. Actually, the article above is not correct. The movie opens on December 3, *2011*, which is still months away. The movie presale tickets with special merch went on sale at the end of April.

    It’s still worth noting that tickets for a movie screening nearly seven months away sell out this quickly. However, the fans haven’t been cooling their heals for the past few months waiting for special merchandise to come out like the article says.

  3. Dear Brian. Thanks for your correction, we’ve now altered the article accordingly.

  4. Yes, I’m not sure how much should be drawn from these kinds of campaigns. I think a lot — maybe most — films, both foreign and international, have merchandise. The K-On seems to be a wider campaign than usual but that’s just an anecdotal judgement. Importantly, we don’t actually know how much was produced in the first place so even if the goods “sell out” it’s ambiguous as a denotation of success. Of course, with anime and so forth there will always be a stronger sense of the fanatical and the target may well be a more definable group of consumers.


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