We’re Having a Party

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

When stumped for a great marketing idea, celebrate an anniversary. Every property passes one at some time, and although it’s a widely used idea — especially now amidst an ongoing retro trend in the entertainment industry — it can still be unique to your brand. And, if all goes right, notoriously picky retailers might even throw you a party.

At the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s annual Licensing Show in June, a slew of anniversaries were noted from the Pink Panther’s 40th to Sesame Workshop’s 35th to even Blimpie’s 39th.

The licensing industry grew 4% in 2002, after a mere 1% hike in 2001.

“Character and entertainment licensing is staged for a comeback,” says Jordan Sollitto, executive VP-worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

Warner Bros. is relying on its stable of franchises, including Scooby Doo, Looney Toons and Harry Potter, to connect with retailers. “When we talk to people, we are talking much more broadly than a movie,” he says.

Over the hill

Apparently not wanting or willing to wait to celebrate the big 4-0, Blimpie and Rocky & Bullwinkle are pulling out the birthday cake for the sandwich chain’s 39th anniversary and the animated duo’s 39th year in syndication.

Throughout September, Blimpie, Atlanta, will distribute coupons for $3.90 off the Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends Complete Season 1 DVD in its 1,650 locations. When New York City-based Classic Media releases the home entertainment version on Aug. 12, videos will include a “buy one six-inch sub, get the second for 39 cents” offer.

P-O-P materials in Blimpie locations support and select restaurants will hold anniversary parties and play segments of the animated series on TVs. Plus, employees will wear R&B shirts.

“It’s the perfect match between two organizations who understand humor and it’s very tongue-in-cheek directed toward our adult demographic,” says John Fraser, VP-marketing at Classic Media. In fact, adult premiums are being discussed.

Elsewhere, Classic Media is plugging its Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town DVD with a program in Walgreen’s 4,000 stores. Window clings and end caps that include a Santa video loop on a TV monitor support, as do TV and radio ads. The displays go up Nov. 2.

The ever sly Pink Panther is not afraid to turn 40 next year. And Santa Monica, CA-based MGM Consumer Products this holiday season kicks off a year of festivities.

In April 2004, MGM Home Entertainment releases a seven-DVD Panther box set. Panther cartoons are slated for a return in 2004 and a daily comic strip premieres in first quarter 2004.

“We haven’t over-exposed him and the anniversary is perfectly timed with the popularity of retro characters,” says Trish Halamandaris, VP-worldwide marketing at MGM.

Consumer products will span high-end domestic goods to a line of baby apparel. Everything will be designed by a West Coast artist named Shag.

Sharing Care Bears

Although only 20-something years old, American Greetings’ Care Bears have also gotten a new look and fresh marketing support. Musicland and Mervyn’s through Sept. 6 are teaming with the property for a promo targeting teens and tweens. A sweeps in Musicland’s Suncoast and MediaPlay locations offers a 2003 VW Beetle tricked-out with Care Bears product.

Another promotion in Mervyn’s 265 stores is slated for November. New York City-based Joester Loria Group, Care Bears’ global licensing agency, brokered both deals.

Care Bears, says Debra Joester, president and CEO of the agency, have gone beyond retro and have become a classic. “Children don’t have nostalgia, they simply like Care Bears now,” Joester says.

Sesame Workshop’s Tamra Seldin agrees that for children, it’s about the characters. “It’s about what’s relevant to them today,” says Seldin, VP-marketing and global consumer products at New York City-based Sesame. Sesame is gearing up for its 35th anniversary in November 2004 with various promotional overlays.

Hot wheeling

Meanwhile, El Segundo, CA-based Mattel’s Hot Wheels is rolling out a line of licensed apparel and action sports gear.

A group of pro extreme sports athletes are showcasing the line during a 40-city Hyper-Hot Wheels stunt show touring this summer and fall, rolling out the ramp at various locations including Toys ‘R’ Us stores, Wal-Mart and state farms.

Pokémon, the former next-big-thing, is now concentrating on joining the evergreen property ranks, says Bruce Loeb, VP-marketing for New York City-based Pokémon USA.

This month, Pokémon teams with the New York Yankees for its second plush giveaway day. On Aug. 9, toys — along with a $5 coupon to the Pokémon Center NYC — will be given to the first 25,000 kids.

Another animé property, ShoPro Entertainment’s Hamtaro is collaborating with Burger King for a four-week Kids Meal/Big Kids Meal program. P-O-P via Equity Marketing and TV spots from Campbell-Mithun support. Wunderman, New York City, handles premiums.

A Hamtaro Halloween Special on Cartoon Network will coincide with the effort in October. But first, Hamtaro has a date with Smucker’s Snackers for a 13-week back-to-school promotion. Grape and strawberry three-pack Snackers packages will contain one of five different Hamtaro trading cards. Single packs will include a mail-in offer.

P-O-P displays and an FSI via Chicago-based Flair Communications support. Westcott Marketing Group, Seattle, negotiated and manages both the BK and Smucker’s efforts.

MegaMan blitz

He hardly looks 15 years old, but MegaMan is celebrating the milestone with $5 million to $6 million in tie-ins through year-end with a heavy fourth-quarter push.

The marketing blitz supports videogame publisher Capcom Entertainment’s licensing deals for the animé character, whose TV show MegaMan: NT Warrior debuted on The WB in May. Six new videogame titles hit shelves this year.

Sunnyvale, CA-based Capcom tapped Visionworks, Orlando, FL, to negotiate marketing partnerships and oversee promotional plans. (Partnerships were in negotiation when the WB deal came through.) All partners create their own programs with an assist from Visionworks.

MegaMan appeals to gamers age six to adult. But Capcom’s goal is to brand game titles, not just build character awareness. “Videogames try to embrace the way theatrical companies do premieres,” says Visionworks President Tom Abramson, a Sega of America marketing veteran. “It’s a consistent problem with videogames to let the character get detached from the game. But our tie-ins are dead-on to the niches Capcom wants to reach, so we can ignite sell in, title launches and sell-through.”

The slate of promos lets Capcom reach different audience niches via different channels. Cinemark Theatres features MegaMan in its Summer Movie Clubhouse program with Nintendo game giveaways and lobby signage in 300 theaters. Moviegoers enter the random-draw sweeps via mail or in-lobby displays.

J&J Snacks will target middle-school kids with an in-school sweepstakes, Minute Maid MegaMan Mondays, supporting J&J’s licensed Minute Maid foods. On six Mondays, kids choose a Minute Maid frozen dessert with their cafeteria lunch. Packages direct kids online to vie for a grand-prize trip to Capcom’s U.S. headquarters to be a game developer for a day. Other prizes include a college scholarship, game consoles and MegaMan games. The campaign runs October through December in 6,000 schools.

Pik-Nik Foods this month breaks its first-ever promotion with an on-pack sweeps on 5 to 10 million packages of Shoestring Potatoes. The promo targets kids with on-pack art and quelches parents’ desire for a healthy snack alternative. Kraft Foods’ CandyStand.com runs a banner ad.

ASAP Popcorn puts MegaMan on 10 million packages for a sweeps awarding Nintendo GameCube consoles, videogames and apparel, running through September. Four-color packages are shaped like MegaMan characters, and keep their shape once the popcorn is popped. Capcom opened retail doors for ASAP, winning shelf space for popcorn in videogame outlets.

Big Red Soft Drinks breaks a holiday promo in November with a national sweeps behind a licensed MegaMan-brand soft drink, with display support. “Big Red took a leap of faith and let us change their packaging,” Abramson says. “They’ve embraced MegaMan to the degree that many have embraced The Hulk.”


Related Posts

Chief Marketer Videos

by Chief Marketer Staff

In our latest Marketers on Fire LinkedIn Live, Anywhere Real Estate CMO Esther-Mireya Tejeda discusses consumer targeting strategies, the evolution of the CMO role and advice for aspiring C-suite marketers.


Call for entries now open