It’s not everyday that a property created for core kids finds a teen following at the same time, but Cartoon Network Enterprises believes it has found just that with Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. The CN original series created by PowerPuff Girls mastermind Craig McCracken seems to be striking a chord with a number of demos, and so the company’s consumer products arm is setting out to build a junior girls program.
Mid- and specialty-tier apparel manufacturer Mighty Fine is already on-board, and Christina Miller, VP of consumer products at CNE, is hunting for more apparel and accessories partners to create a broader presence this year.
CNE tested teen waters last fall with a young men’s T-shirt line from Logotel, which experienced solid sell-through rates at exclusive retailer Hot Topic. Miller is looking at the teen girl market now because the company’s quantitative and qualitative research has revealed that both older girls and younger boys like Foster’s, which allows for the development of two merchandising programs simultaneously. ‘It might be harder if it was the other way around,’ Miller admits.
As the initial Mighty Fine line featuring knit and fleece tops (US$25 to US$60) for teens begins to hit retail this spring, master toy licensee Mattel will be rolling out two SKUs for kids five and up. Trouble Makin’ Blooregard R/C (US$24.99) is an electronic version of Mac’s manic sidekick Bloo that moves, spins and can say more than 15 phrases, while the Hoop ‘N’ Holla Basketball Game (US$19.99) features a talking Bloo basketball.
Miller is looking to round out Foster’s teen girl range with accessories, stationery, health & beauty, electronics accessories and tote bag licensees. And she says the property’s marketing push that kicked off in 2006 with a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float and the November debut of Good Wilt Hunting (the Foster’s movie) will continue well into 2007.
Since hitting the airwaves in fall 2004, Foster’s has built its fan base steadily, and the number of users registered at its year-long online game Big Fat Awesome House Party is sitting at around 9.6 million.