New York’s Scholastic Media is launching an infant and toddler merch program inspired by Clifford the Big Red Dog, its animated TV series that has been airing on PBS Kids for nearly six years.
Because Clifford’s core audience is made up of kids ages three to seven, Scholastic hadn’t considered mounting an infant goods program until recently. The results of in-depth consumer research recently conducted for Scholastic by New York-based Insight Research changed the IP owner’s tune. It suggested babies and moms, not just preschoolers, are drawn to the giant canine’s clumsy but lovable presence.
The research indicated Clifford’s bold, red color attracts tiny tots, while the show’s warm stories featuring lessons about growing up appeal to caregivers. Most importantly, it showed Clifford as ‘a perfect complement for bedtime or bonding opportunities,’ senior VP of marketing and consumer products Leslye Schaefer says. The big old hound is perceived as family- and baby-friendly for a number of reasons: He’s been a familiar character in people’s lives for more than 40 years, he’s got an easy-going personality, and the Clifford stories consistently provide a feeling of safety. Scholastic intends to make these qualities – known, trusted, loved, easy, safe – the foundation of its Grow With Clifford consumer products program.
Grow With Clifford sports a new style guide packed with playful poses of the red canine. Pastel colors such as periwinkle, and baby-friendly patterns serve as backdrops for Clifford’s bold, bright color – the quality that attracted infant attention in the first place.
Schaefer’s aiming to land infant apparel, crib sheet and blanket, baby toy, feeding item and home furnishing licensees to kick off the soft launch at specialty and mid-tier retailers sometime in Q3.
Scholastic may sign up a few of Clifford’s existing licensees, but the entry into previously untapped categories means Schaefer and her team will primarily be on the hunt for new partners. TA