While not exactly putting all its eggs in one basket, Turner Cartoon Network Enterprises is grouping its properties into sets of umbrella brands. The goal is to extend their reach and category coverage across EMEA.
‘It was a way to offer a multitude of opportunities for our partners,’ says Alan Fenwick, VP of Turner CN Enterprises. It essentially gives licensees a bit more bang for the buck, he adds.
To start, there’s CN Originals, which focuses on the broadcaster’s first crop of series that started airing after its 1992 launch, such as The Powerpuff Girls. It’s designed to capitalize on teen and young adult nostalgia for the shows from their younger days. Then there’s CN Pop. This brand is aimed squarely at kids four to 10 and encompasses comedic series currently in regular rotation on the network and free-to-air channels throughout Europe and other territories. Camp Lazlo, Chowder, Codename: Kids Next Door, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and My Gym Partner’s a Monkey round out the package.
Notably, the idea of placing together CN’s comedy series, which aren’t an obvious fit for hardlines licensing categories like toys, originated in Latin America, where price-points on licensed hard goods also make them a much tougher sell than soft goods like t-shirts or food-related promo items. Interestingly, Turner CNE is looking to employ the concept across the globe, starting with the UK and Europe.
‘Rather than have a partner have one brand on one t-shirt here and one backpack here, we have grouped them together,’ says Fenwick. For the licensee, it means being able to acquire rights to all the brands with one deal, rather than seven separate ones. And they are able to put CN Pop branding on products at their discretion.
Fenwick explains that the brands have complementary attributes, such as being fun, optimistic, and are all in some way connected to food. ‘So CN Pop lent itself to a cafe promotion with British Home Stores in the UK,’ he adds. In August, the retail chain BHS, which concentrates on selling apparel, kitchen goods and furniture, partnered with CN to rebrand the kids menu in the 123 cafés across its 186 locations. What turned out to be CN Pop meals featured a sandwich, yogurt and drink, packaged with a free piece of fruit, an activity sheet and crayons.
Turner CNE is now targeting softlines licensees to pick up the program, so new style guides for the umbrella brands are scheduled to roll out in Q1 2011. Fenwick and his team are looking to fill back-to-school, party goods, accessories, bedding and stationery categories.