Licensing Diary: The Pink Panther

GM Consumer Products is taking a step back into the past to bring the Pink Panther into the future....
June 1, 1997

GM Consumer Products is taking a step back into the past to bring the Pink Panther into the future.

By designing a new logo and developing new product concepts that reflect the original 1960s look of the character, MGM expects it can keep the wily cat in the pink for years to come.

‘People love this character and our goal is to have the merchandise line reflect its inherent strength,’ says Doug Gleason, senior vice president of marketing for MGM Consumer Products.

A new style guide with all-new artwork has been created to capture the classic elements of the character coolness, sophistication and a debonair manner on product. A new merchandising logo has been designed to appeal both to children and to adult consumers, and the new designs will have a hip retro feel.

Availability of the classic Pink Panther cartoons makes it an opportune time to embrace the original attitude of the character. The old episodes recently began running on Cartoon Network. MGM’s home entertainment division will release new cartoon compilations later this year for home video. Both MGM and its licensees believe returning to the classic and silent look of The Pink Panther best showcases the character’s strength and the interesting aspects of his personality. The New Pink Panther Show, a syndicated series with episodes featuring a speaking Pink Panther, ran for three seasons.

New brand concepts will broaden the range and quantity of Pink Panther-related products. For example, instead of one T-shirt made for all consumers, MGM envisions distinct apparel lines specifically targeting kids or adults. At the Licensing Show, MGM will share these new product concepts with current and potential licensees.

‘The key with the Pink Panther is to make sure that he is used in a way that’s consistent with his personality and is there to entertain, as opposed to a hard sell,’ says Gleason.

Some key moments in Pink Panther licensing history:

- 1964: The Pink Panther appears in the opening credits of the film of the same name. For the next two decades, he becomes a staple of Saturday morning TV and movie shorts and appears in the credits of subsequent Pink Panther movies.

- The character grows into a major licensing property, with over 200 worldwide licensees in categories ranging from children’s Halloween costumes to home insulation.

- 1988: The Pink Panther balloon debuts at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

- 1993: A new syndicated series featuring a talking Pink Panther debuts. It runs for three years.

- Mid-1990s: The Pink Panther continues as a strong licensing presence internationally. IBM uses him as a European spokespanther to introduce a new laptop computer.

- 1997: Cartoon Network begins running the original Pink Panther series. New style guides and logos are designed to capture the classic feel of the character. Discussion for a new live-action Pink Panther film and an animated cartoon short begins. If produced, The Pink Panther will return as a silent comic.

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