MGM has announced plans to extend its brand into the categories of lifestyle, apparel and accessories. The new line, the MGM Brand Portfolio, will consist of six collections-MGM Original Flick, MGM On Location, MGM Academy, MGM Classic Collections, MGM Trademark and the kid-targeted MGM Rising Star.
Each collection has been designed with the purpose of incorporating an aspect of the Hollywood spirit-as it has been interpreted through MGM Studios-from the 1920s until the present, says Linda Berman, executive vice president and general manager of MGM’s consumer products division.
Rising Star will skew to preschoolers up to kids age 10. In describing the philosophy behind the collection, Berman says, ‘Rising Star is not about Hollywood kids, it’s about the spontaneity and creativity of kids putting on a show in their backyard,’ qualities, she says, that are evident in the products’ use of bright colors and in their handmade appearance.
In creating the concept designs for the Rising Star collection, MGM conducted a number test group studies with kids in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York to see what kinds of products they found the most interesting. Berman and her team even hired some children to help design a number of the prototypes.
‘In the original creative brief I wrote for Rising Star, the idea that really drove the design process for everyone on the design team was that Rising Star should look like a line that was designed completely and totally for kids by kids. If it looked like adults had designed it for kids, then it probably wasn’t Rising Star.’
At present, in addition to creating a product catalogue with one of its retail partners, Neiman Marcus, MGM is accepting proposals for licenses for Rising Star and the other five collections.
MGM’s decision to launch major brand extension without developing a chain of MGM theme stores, breaks with the current trend in studio merchandising, as evidenced by the Disney Store and Warner Bros. Studio Stores. It’s a decision, Berman says, that makes sense for MGM. ‘The equity that we have is in Hollywood glamor and style, and I don’t think studio stores, in their current conventional form anyway, are the most glamorous environments.’ SA