Universal Consumer Products Group is open for monkey business. With a 2-D animated film and TV series based on classic chimp Curious George in the works for 2005 and 2006, UCPG has announced its licensing program plans and is on the hunt for licensees.
For the past seven years, the company has run a classic Curious George program in high-end gift and specialty stores. But it’s looking to take the movie/TV product to mass and target a two- to five-year-old core demo.
According to Amy Taylor, VP of marketing and creative, UCPG is entertaining proposals from licensees in all categories, but is concentrating on a few key ones right now. Plush (particularly interactive) is the top priority, followed by apparel and home accessories & furnishings including small chairs, toy boxes, bedding and throw pillows. Health & beauty aids, cake decorating kits, birthday party supplies and interactive educational games are also being looked at.
Products based on the movie and TV series will have a richer, more saturated color palette and, along with standbys George and The Man in the Yellow Hat, will draw upon new characters that were just being written into scripts at press time.
Products in the new line should start rolling out eight weeks before the film’s November 4, 2005 release date. Taylor says the film’s merch program will center around humorous property elements, while the TV series that’s in development with Imagine Entertainment and WGBH Boston will spawn more educational products geared around science, technology and math. ‘It won’t be Bill Nye,’ says Taylor. ‘But it will have science and math lessons for younger kids.’
The classic program inspired by the water-colored book illustrations will continue, and Taylor notes that these lines are doing well with tween/teen girls in Target, Nordstroms and Mervyn’s. In fact, Mervyn’s has sold out its stock of Curious George junior girls pajamas, and Target has reordered the junior T-shirt line.