Nickelodeon Consumer Products has always been a very careful merch strategist, waiting for its properties to build solid fanbases on-air before taking them out at retail. So it’s not surprising that the division has moved just as slowly with its first web-based property everGirl.
Three years in the making, the tween girl lifestyle brand debuts on-line this month at www.evergirl.com, with a product range featuring 20 licensees rolling out exclusively at Kohl’s in July.
The site is designed to introduce the property’s four strong-minded characters – Joy (fashionista), Hope (brainy student), Skye (athlete) and Starr (musician). A series of webtoons will outline the girls’ backgrounds and chronicle their efforts to fulfill their dreams at everView Girls’ School. Tweens can play games and participate in various self-discovery activities like poetry and diary writing, art projects and music composition, as well as filling out the everScope interactive survey to determine which everGirl personality best matches their own.
With a network that reaches an even boy/girl split of roughly 400,000 viewers each week, TV might have seemed like a more obvious launchpad for this property. But Leigh Anne Brodsky, executive VP of Nick Consumer Products, says a web debut was the ‘smart way to go,’ especially with a recent study conducted by AOL and Digital Marketing Solutions showing that 20% of seven- to 12-year-olds in the U.S. go on-line every day.
The everGirl site will give girls a home base that keeps them connected with the brand, which will be very important in lead-up to the merch program’s launch this summer. everGirl products will be housed in in-store boutiques at 542 Kohl’s across the U.S., and the range will include apparel, cosmetics, school supplies, accessories and home décor SKUs. At present, there’s no plan for a toy or doll line in the initial offering.
Clothes will be the centerpiece of the roll-out and are designed in four distinct groupings – one for each everGirl. Tweens can go into the store and choose the styles that embody their favorite character or the one most like them as determined by the on-line questionnaire. Clothing hangtags will sport character-specific symbols, and the products themselves will feature customization elements and correspond to the personality of one of the four everGirls. Joy’s clothing line, for example, will be cutting-edge trendy to match her interest in fashion.
Brodsky sees everGirl as a consummate, multi-platform brand. ‘We will talk to girls in many different forms, whether it’s through the web, promotions, fashion, books or pop music,’ she says. Brodsky adds that an everGirls TV show is not in the cards for the immediate future.
Nick is putting its full marketing might behind the brand and will broadcast promo and teaser spots early this year. everGirl will get an additional profile boost in March, when Swedish all-girl teen band Play releases a new CD that includes the official everGirl theme song. A video will follow shortly after.
Brodsky maintains that everGirl is ‘not a knee-jerk reaction’ to recent tween girl hit properties like Bratz. She says everGirl creators Sam Freeman (VP of brand and property development) and Angela Santomero (co-creator of Blue’s Clues) intended everGirl to help tweens cope with self-esteem issues and work towards their personal aspirations. ‘There did seem to be a void in properties/brands that addressed those issues,’ says Brodsky. Accordingly, the everGirls represent different ethnicities and ‘are not exaggerated in any way,’ she says. ‘They look like real girls. There are aspirational aspects to their lives, but their goals are potentially attainable. It’s not a fairlytale world.’