News in Brief

A more organic approach to food licensing
April 1, 2005

A more organic approach to food licensing

Sesame Workshop and Scholastic Entertainment have both hooked up with new organic food partners to make a healthier statement in the grocery aisle. The Workshop and Earth’s Best are cooking up a line of Sesame Street breakfast and snack foods, which started rolling out in U.S. supermarkets and health food shops in February. Specially designed for toddlers, the low-fat/low-sugar cereals, cookies, crackers and snack bars will be enriched with vitamins and minerals. Clifford the Big Red Dog is also part of a more nutritious breakfast this month as the star of his very own organic cereal from Cascadian Farms. Out at retail now, Clifford Crunch borrows shapes from TV series, including Cleo’s bow, a paw and a school bell, and the oversized pooch’s image is splashed on the front of the cereal box.

Mastering the masters

One-stop shopping was the name of the game in the lead-up to Toy Fair, with many licensors and licensees inking master deals just before the show. With Japanese popstar comedy Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi performing well and greenlit for another 26 episodes, Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have tapped Mattel to launch a master toy program this fall. Rolling out internationally outside of Japan, initial product will include fashion dolls and minidolls based on the J-pop celebs, plush toy versions of their real-life pet cats, playsets, accessories, role-play SKUs, musical and electric toys, games, puzzles and vehicles.

In other import news, ShoPro/Viz has locked up master Latin and North American licensing rights to ninja-inspired manga franchise Naruto from TV Tokyo and Shueisha. Born in Japan’s Shonen Jump magazine in 1999, Naruto now consistently ranks as one of the top graphic novel titles at U.S. retail. Pierrot’s anime series based on the property launched in 2002 on TV Tokyo and is considered to be one of the most popular animated shows in Japan’s history. ShoPro/Viz will likely look at toys, trading cards and video games first as it plans to expand Naruto’s State-side presence.

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