Description: A 40-episode, half-hour animated series from Nickelodeon about the adventures of a silly, sloppy dog and a sarcastic, prissy cat who are joined at the hip. The show’s humor stems from the conflict and power struggle that occurs as the two opposing personalities, who really do like each other, learn to get along. It will launch in October 1998 on Nickelodeon and targets six- to 11-year-olds.
Licensees: Mattel is the master toy licensee. The odd visual nature of the characters allows room for the development of products, like bendable, stretchable toys, that play up the show’s physical humor. Nickelodeon currently has several CatDog licensees on board, but is keeping them under wraps until the program’s October launch.
Promotional Partners: Nickelodeon has established several promotional partners, and is currently working with them to develop campaigns targeting the six to 11 age group. Partnerships will be made public closer to the fall release of CatDog.
Media Support: Nickelodeon is promoting the series on its channel, as well as on its Web site (www.nickelodeon.com). The site has step-by-step instructions on how to draw CatDog, as well as an interview with Peter Hannan, the show’s creator and artist. A CatDog short will be shown at Nickelodeon attractions in seven amusement parks across the U.S. this summer. It will also precede the Rugrats movie in 2,000 U.S. theaters in November. Mattel will run a national television advertising campaign, and retailers will promote CatDog products in their catalogues and flyers.
Retail: All major department stores will carry CatDog licensed items, and a major advertising campaign is planned for early next year. Retail rollout will take place in February 1999.
The Final Word: Given the unique visual nature of the animated characters, early market testing received favorable responses from kids because they found the cartoon humorous to look at, as well as to listen to. Nickelodeon is working on a promotional and licensing campaign that will play up the characters’ personalities.
‘We don’t have a formula that we apply to every property,’ says Ann Sarnoff, executive vice president of consumer products and business development for Nickelodeon. ‘We approach each property individually and that allows us to develop new campaigns and programs more easily. This is certainly the case with the new CatDog series. If our early testing with kids is any indication, the property will be successful as a program and a licensed product.’ MM