When it comes down to space, you have Captain Kirk, Captain Picard, and now, Captain Simian. This is the prediction, at least, from Rob Hudnut, one of the executive producers of Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys.
The show begins with Charlie, the unwitting chimp who is lost in space during the early attempts at unmanned space flight during the 1960s. An encounter with an ancient race from another planet, which mistakes him for an emissary from Earth, turns Charlie into Captain Simian, a creature now armed with intelligence, new technology and weapons.
Monkeyshine Productions, the creator of Captain Simian, partnered with Hallmark Entertainment for the half-hour program. The show, which is targeted at kids six to 11 years old, will launch in September on Sunday mornings as part of Bohbot’s Amazin’ Adventures block. During October, it will air for an hour at 9 a.m., and will increase to a half-hour six days a week during November.
The Marketing Concept
Hudnut explains: ‘We will be to science fiction what The Simpsons are to the family sitcom. We are writing real science fiction stories in a real universe, all of which is thrown into great comic relief with our her’es being monkeys.’ Hudnut g’es farther in saying that ‘we want it to become a classic, just like Star Trek has become a classic. It’s always tricky in the children’s business, which is so fashion-driven, to build a long-term brand, but by creating compelling characters and doing a high-quality production, we intend to create something that will be on the air a long, long time.’ Gary Bressack of Monkeyshine Productions, also an executive producer of the show, adds that ‘this is a genre that attracts the most obsessive fans.’
Denise Shapiro, head of licensing for Hallmark Entertainment, describes the marketing execution for Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys in terms of a rolling 18-month calendar of promotions. ‘We are working closely with Bohbot in the States using promotional activity that is classic with their syndication roll-out techniques. Most of Bohbot’s promotions will consist of view and win.
‘Bohbot’s Web site will also provide the ability to do Internet interviews in the near future for the program,’ adds Shapiro. ‘Mattel will have a combination of national and spot advertising. Some of the promotions that we are putting into place have the classic media attached and some have location-based media, such as in-store productions. Hallmark is looking at a lot of trade promotions with a coordinated effort on the part of the licensees. The trade activities are very strong domestically and around the world. We are bringing on board a PR firm to help in the effort of developing a strategy.’
Hallmark Entertainment is currently looking at how it can support its global toy, licensing, publishing and network partners to make appropriate marketing decisions that will bring value around the world. While there are some overarching themes for the global plan, Hallmark Entertainment is very conscious of the cultural uniqueness presented by each market.
The key partnerships for Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys revolve around Monkeyshine Productions and Hallmark Entertainment. Bluebird Toys will produce toys and distribute the products in the U.K. and Ireland. Mattel has rights to the rest of the world. An additional partnership has been formed between Hallmark, the sister company of Hallmark Entertainment, lending a greeting card and paper products line to the table and distribution in 28,000 stores.