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Special Report: Licensing International ’97: Universal delivers Hollywood

A year ago, Universal Studios Consumer Products Group came to the Licensing Show in New York hoping to create some buzz around its ambitious feature The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which opened in theaters last month....
June 1, 1997

A year ago, Universal Studios Consumer Products Group came to the Licensing Show in New York hoping to create some buzz around its ambitious feature The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which opened in theaters last month.

The objective was to stand out with The Lost World as the consumer group’s flagship product. Universal followed up with The Lost World as its marquee property at the American International Toy Fair in February.

But now, the strategy has shifted, and Universal is coming to Licensing 97 with a bigger booth and a new marketing statement.

This year, Universal is taking a broader approach, marketing the Universal name as an umbrella brand.

‘Our booth is going to feature the Universal brand, which will drive all our properties focusing on kids and classic properties, as well as action/adventure,’ says Nancy Goldston, senior vice president of marketing for Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.

This positioning derives from research that shows that for consumers, the Universal name delivers the Hollywood experience. The message will be underscored at the Universal booth, with a broad array of properties that represent the kind of diversity that people associate with Hollywood. They include such children’s properties as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Babe (the sequel), Curious George, Crash Bandicoot, Team Knight Rider and The Land Before Time.

Other Universal properties that have wider consumer appeal include Woody Woodpecker, Rocky and Bullwinkle and such shows as Hercules, WAR and Time Cop.

‘We will be talking about Universal as the Hollywood experience in a number of ways,’ says Goldston.

Universal will try to reinforce the Hollywood theme through an eclectic portfolio of ‘looks’ in apparel and merchandise, from classic to hip and from overstated to understated, again, mirroring the wide range of styles that are present in the contemporary Hollywood lifestyle.

‘We want to say that Universal is in touch with that,’ says Goldston.

Universal is also taking a new approach to children’s fashion, which Goldston describes as ‘irreverent and attitudinal.’

‘We think that Universal has a unique personality that kids can relate to,’ says Goldston, who adds that one of the studio’s priorities is to help retailers by providing products that stand out.

‘There are so many products vying for opportunities at retail today. And many have shortened life cycles. We’re looking to build evergreen products that have longer life cycles.’

Greater awareness of retailers’ needs has in some ways changed the dynamic of the annual Licensing Show, says Goldston.

‘It’s not just a matter of building excitement for licensees, but building excitement that translates through to retail.’

Goldston adds that at this year’s Licensing Show, more buyers are looking for evergreen properties rather than quick hit successes.

‘People are looking for properties that they can invest in, and they want to feel confident that they are working with a company that feels the same way. People are looking for partnerships and long-term relationships.’

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