As a newbie kid property starting from scratch, Warner Bros.’ Osmosis Jones is struggling to climb from Harry Potter’s shadow to kid top-of-mind. A difficult task, but still a property to watch thanks to a solid pledge of long-term support from Time Warner.
Warner went all out last June, announcing not only a spring 2001 movie release, but also a full merch program, a fully integrated marketing campaign across all divisions (nothing to sneeze at, including music, publishing, on-line and home video), and most notably, an animated TV series set to launch on Kids’ WB! after the film.
The announcement marked one of the most comprehensive long-term programs for a completely untested property, and a big leap of faith for George Jones, Warner Bros. Consumer Products president of worldwide licensing and Warner Bros. Studio Stores. ‘This is something we’ve always wanted,’ Jones says, ‘because from a retailer’s point of view, it helps them to make a commitment to a movie, you know that the property’s going to give you some legs.’
Jones says that like any untried property, Osmosis Jones was initially a hard sell to licensees, but the program is falling into place thanks to the recent addition of master toy Trendmasters. Other licensees being announced at Licensing 2000 include: Giant Merchandising, Headstart, High Point Accessories, Issac Morris, Monterey Canyon, PCA Apparel and Pyramid Accessories, all in the apparel and accessories category, along with At-A-Glance Group/Mead Corp. and Bakery Crafts for gift and novelty and Pyramid Accessories for stationery.
According to Jones, the property has hit kid franchise written all over it for three reasons: The movie has a distinctive animation style, it’s funny, and it has built in boy-appeal thanks to its blend of action, adventure, vehicles and weapons.
Jones says the merchandise program will gear up with the prerelease marketing about six to eight weeks before the movie’s debut. The mass and mid-tier program will then ride out the release hype as long as it can (feature windows usually last about 90 days). As the feature program winds down, the TV series will start airing on Kids’ WB!, and a heavily-supported video release (VHS and DVD) will help maintain momentum. Finally, after the series has aired for a few months, the second phase of the merchandise program will kick in. This will be less of a blow-out and more of a steady program, offering TV series-based product on a continuous basis.