From the Greater Amusements, First and Oldest Motion Picture Trade Journal, Jan. 4, 1963:
Building daily from the premise that “when you’ve got a winner everyone wants to get in on the act”, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s gigantic nationwide Showmanship 63 Campaign to Launch Billy Rose’s Jumbo is a large, all-inclusive advertising-promotion-exploitation-publicity campaign.
The first public multi-facetted program was put on view for millions of sidewalk New Yorkers as well a national television score by MGM and New York’s Radio City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. On board the giant “Jumbo” float in person was Jimmy Durante portraying the role he created for the film, that of circus master. He was joined on the giant “Jumbo” float by the equally-famed Corps de Ballet of Music Hall.
Steven Boyd, who also stars, visited New York for a second round of publicity meetings; Durante also flew to Gotham from Las Vegas for a quick press party hosted by MGM and his appearance in the parade and then jetted back to the West Coast for a turkey dinner with his family, and producer Joe Pasternak was on the road for a 15-city stopping at the key spots when the film opened as the Christmas attraction.
During Macy’s parade more than 10,000 specially-imprinted “Jumbo” balloons were distributed along the parade route. The same type of balloon will be available in quantities for each engagement.
To meet the heavy demand for holiday bookings of the film, MGM initiated an initial print order numbering 400, and more than 350 theatres presented the attraction during the Christmas-New Year holidays. It is the largest print order to come in more than a year.
Backing the film will be promotion and exploitation from several firms tied in with an overall budget exceeding $2,000.000
Headed by a million dollar plus promotion budget firmed by Quaker Oats and the Independent Grocers Alliance, the film will by ballyhooed via albums and single records, department store promotions, toys, balloons, special touring costume displays, floats in numerous holiday parades around the nation, heavy coverage in the nation’s magazines, and newspapers and special theatrical materials and publicity.
Quaker Oats Tie-in
Quaker Oats Company’s $1,000,00 tie-in program includes free tickets (for children accompanied by adults) distributed in a 50,000,000 packages, plus offering as a premium a specially designed toy of the “Jumbo” elephant and smaller models of four Jumbo friends – a lion, seal, tiger or clown.
The premium and ticket plan is being heralded in national magazine, newspaper, radio and television advertising and via extensive local supermarket and grocery store displays. The tie-in with Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) embraces newspaper-TV-Radio advertising, store level exploitation with an initial budget of $500,000 covering the 7000-member grocers. It is the most expensive IGA tie-in in the grocer associations history, and was affected through meetings of MGM executives and Donald Grimm, president of IGA, and other IGA executives.
Columbia Records is betting that its original soundtrack of Jumbo, featuring Rodgers and Hart Songs sung by the star of the pictures and one of its all-time top warblers, Doris Day, will be one of the hottest selling albums of the pre-Christmas season and is backing this theory with heavy advertising and promotion.
With an initial pressing of 100,000 copies of the album merely to fill the first shipments on orders from distributors and dealers, Columbia predicts the album will top any previous film sound track ever issued. The disk features Miss Day’s singing of such popular hits as “Over and Over Again, Circus on Parade, Why Can’t I, This Can’t be Love, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, My Romance and Little Girl Blue” On some, Miss Day is joined by others of the same Cast – Durante, Boyd and Martha Ray as well as a large choral ensemble and the MGM symphony orchestra.
MGM Records will issue a special LP featuring music from the film score played or Ornadel, also with heavy advertising backing, and Verse Records will have a special new pressing of “The Rodgers and Hart Songbook” which is one of Ella Fitzgerald’s monumental best sellers. This also is to receive special pre-Jumbo-opening advertising and exploitation.
Record distributors around the nation as well as MGM field press representatives are making these albums available to disk jockeys, music critics and other key opinion makers, and radio-TV personalities.
To augment these displays, MGM Studios has assembled exhibits of the more than 200 costumes of the early 1900s from department and chain store windows. The picture to tour for display in principle stores that participated before Christmas had the Jumbo theme for merchandise tied in with displays of costumes and records. Post-Christmas sales will be identified as Jumbo Events.
In addition to the MGM field staff and representatives of the various companies tied in with the film, MGM arranged for “special attraction” representatives when it is provided publicity kits for all the various acts, now touring the U.S. and Europe circus acts which appeared in the film. These with numerous circuses, serve as walking advertisements for the film.
Size, scope and entertainment value of the film, determined at special screenings, has resulted in heavy play in national, regional and local magazines, this phase having been kicked off with a cover story in Look Magazine early in fall.
Special mailings of features and color and black and white art to newspapers, trade magazines and other media has resulted in excellent coverage as well, this expected to be much intensified as bookings open. Additional MGM through Precis magazine, has initiated a special mailing to more than 21,000 house organs, small magazines and weekly newspapers, offering special features, photos and mats.
The studio has begun a Jumbo Bulletin Service for theatres, field representatives and other outlets, and in line with the bigness of the picture and its box office prospects, currently is preparing the largest and most extensive press book since that for Butterfield 8 more than a year ago.
The world premiere of the film was at New York’s famed Radio City Music Hall, followed by the most important theatres in the land. These were backed by a mammoth newspaper, radio and television advertising campaign at opening and where openings and where openings are coincidental with special events, tie-ins have been effected. Participation with a float in the annual parade of the roses in Pasadena, Calif., on the day of the Rose Bowl game, was included.
Robert Mochrie, general sales manager of MGM, said “Exhibitors are anticipating exceptional grosses for this blockbuster. It is an ideal entertainment package that will make it one of the most popular films ever made. We at MGM are delighted to release such a picture in the great tradition of MGM entertainment.”
To coordinate all the various phases of the campaign selling Jumbo, MGM executives have been holding regular meetings in New York and at the studio as well as in other key cities, and also have been conferring at frequent intervals with executives of those companies participating in the massive program.