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Q&A: VP of global brand management Leila Pirnia dishes on DIC Entertainment’s new direction

DIC is changing, and VP of global brand management Leila Pirnia is helping it along. The goal is to steer the company away from its production focus and into fully integrated brand management territory. This should prove to be a busy year with the re-launch of the Mommy and Me brand and a new boy-centric brand. Pirnia sat down with KSD to discuss.
April 13, 2007

DIC is changing, and VP of global brand management Leila Pirnia is helping it along. The goal is to steer the company away from its production focus and into fully integrated brand management territory. This should prove to be a busy year with the re-launch of the Mommy and Me brand and a new boy-centric brand. Pirnia sat down with KSD to discuss.

How are you going to make the Mommy and Me franchise viable again?

We bought this brand five years ago and we did a few things with it originally that didn’t seem to fit with the Mommy and Me concept, so we took a hiatus and gave the brand a rest. The re-launch plan involves go direct-to-mass retail with everything incorporating Mom’s experience with her baby including meal-time, bath-time, travel products, sleep-time and potty-training products, as opposed to doing traditional licensing deals. For the accompanying website, instead of it just being a database, we are really going to offer rich content. For example, we will have forums for Moms with children at various stages of development and an activity calendar listing age-appropriate events and milestones.

When can we expect it?

The plan is to bring it to retail this fall, and content will be rolling out in ’08. We will then launch with more partners and entertainment content a couple of quarters later. It resonates with parents everywhere; the key was figuring out how to make it into something parents need and want at retail. The old content was for the most part a licensing program with a few categories filled here and there. There was no unified umbrella for the brand and to make it relevant to mom….That’s where the activity-plan strategy comes into play. Our products will be organized and branded with the activity plan concept and will also have input from child-development experts so that a mom knows that the products will enable her child to grow.

In a nutshell, what is DIC’s new strategy?

We are taking a richer approach. It’s a function of where the market is going and where the industry is going…It just made sense to not just launch a show, but to launch a brand, to look at all the businesses and opportunities. We don’t launch a brand if it’s just going to be a TV show. You have to be in publishing, you have to be online, you have to be in video, and you have to be in licensing.

Where is DIC going in the future?

DIC has primarily been focused on girl-targeted brands, so we are looking at doing more content for boys. In the fall of ’07 or spring of ’08 we are going to launch a boys property – a domestic show tentatively titledI Was a Teenage Dinosaur that will launch on our CBS block. This one made a lot of sense because there is a void in the marketplace. Dinosaurs have an established play pattern that resonates with boys. We are building a program that incorporates all the essential play patterns of dinosaurs along with a compelling story line.

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com

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