The first step in developing a successful licensing strategy begins with establishing what kind of property you are representing and then determining which medium-toys, apparel, publishing-best gets the property across to the consumer, says Carole Postal, regional vice president of sales, marketing and licensing for the Americas for Children’s Television Workshop of New York.
‘With Sesame Street, a TV-based children’s property, plush and toys are one of the best ways of combining what Sesame Street [represents for] children-[a property that is] both fun to play with and a beginning learning tool. From here, you can mount a fully integrated licensing program that allows the child not only to play and learn, but to wear the characters, identify with them, take them to school on lunchboxes [and] have parties with party goods,’ says Postal, whose assignments include Sesame Street, Big Bag and Plaza Sésamo.
‘This is also the nucleus for establishing a powerful brand that has impact not only on the children’s market, but on older siblings, parents and grandparents, who would all feel good about buying this product for the children.’
Postal also points out that Sesame Street spans generations.
‘There are over 50 million ‘graduates’ of the show-more consumers to extend the product line and the power of the brand,’ she adds.
The keys to creating a successful marketing program that extends beyond the ‘event’ license, adds Postal (who moved from Turner Home Entertainment in January, where she was instrumental in founding the Turner licensing and merchandising division), are exposure and visibility.
Sesame Street, now in its 27th season, is seen in 100 percent of the U.S. on PBS. ‘In some cases, we’re seen more than three times a day in any given market.’
Postal believes the hot licensing trend today is a revival of the classics. ‘Manufacturers and promotional partners have gone back to basics. They like to go with things they trust and [that] have built-in awareness. More and more, [consumers] and retailers are turning to classics.’
There is also a boom in marketing to the very young. ‘There are over four million babies born each year,’ notes Postal. And with this high number of births, more retailers are catering to the infant/toddler.
And, this has a direct effect on CTW and the Sesame Street brand, as well as shows like Big Bag, the new one-hour live-action show for preschoolers that airs Sundays at 9 a.m. on the Cartoon Network, and Plaza Sésamo, the Spanish-language version of Sesame Street that airs on Univision and PBS in the U.S. and is co-produced with Televisa in Mexico.