While the Turtles have enjoyed nearly a decade of success, Street Sharks are just beginning to sink their teeth into the merchandise world. Surge Licensing president Mark Freedman believes that these ‘jawsome’ creatures, who star in a weekly animated syndicated series, have as much growth potential as the Turtles did at a similar stage in their life.
In only their first year, Street Sharks ranks as the second best seller (behind Star Wars) in boys action toys for 1995, with sales approaching $100 million. Street Sharks sold out two weeks before Christmas.
Created by Street Wise Designs with J’e Galliani, the Chew Crew had stirred interest at Mattel but it was only after Freedman was able to put together a syndicated animated deal with DIC Entertainment that the toy company signed on as the master toy licensee.
Now, Street Sharks have over 50 domestic licensees, including Random House (storybooks), Chef Boyardee (pasta products) and Buena Vista (home video). They were recently featured in a successful fourth quarter fast food promotion with Taco Bell.
Freedman has chosen a similar licensing strategy for the Sharks as he did with the Turtles. First he signed a toy licensee. He followed this with the animated series and now has designs on a live-action movie. He believes the long-term prospects for the Sharks are very high.
Freedman encourages licensees to work with each other to cross-promote the property. When Mattel g’es to Toy Fair and hypes its Street Shark merchandise, it can inform retailers that the product will receive advertising and marketing support not only from Mattel, but from other licensees that promote Street Sharks on their brands.
‘What it’s all about is to make these toys a phenomenon,’ Freedman says.