The answer to the iconic question “What’s Up, Doc?” for Warner Bros. Consumer Products right now seems to be “A whole lot, thanks.” In advance of Licensing Show next week, WBCP is announcing an expansive new program for Looney Tunes, naming The Bridge Direct as the property’s first master toy licensee in seven years.
“The Looney Tunes are everywhere right now,” says Brad Globe, WBCP president. “Animation, theatrical shorts, online, video games, home video and, of course, merchandise. All of this activity and success is driving our opportunities to develop a refreshed and ever-expanding product line for fans.”
Driving the re-emergence of the IP is the success of The Looney Tunes series that bowed on Cartoon Network in the US last year. Garnering a 5.2 rating with boys six to 11 right off the bat, the series has continued to grow in popularity and regularly draws a 7.5 rating across the targeted demographic.
Additionally, the classic cast of characters can regularly be seen in three 3D theatrical shorts that have been attached to family-friendly films released by Warner Bros. this year.
With a bevy of new content, it’s not surprising that the company chose this time to get back into the toy business.
“We had been out of toys for awhile,” says Jordan Sollitto, EVP of international licensing at WBCP. “But The Bridge Direct is just terrific at what it does and it really understands these characters.”
The toyco is set to produce new plush, figures, playsets, vehicles and role-play items that are slated to hit mass retail across the US in fall 2012.
The property’s growing licensee roster also now includes Dolce & Gabbana, Braccialini and Diesel, which have sewed up deals for high-end apparel and accessories in EMEA, and French technology firm EMTEC, which has already found success with a line of Looney Tunes-branded USB keys for children and adults.
“I’ve been working with these characters for 18 years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much interest or excitement around the property,” says Sollitto. “I think with the economics of the world it is appropriate for licensees and retailers to be risk averse so a classic property is a good port in the storm.”
WBCP expects to continue to grow Looney Tunes’ international footprint, but it will also be using Licensing Show to concentrate on filling holes in the US program.
“In the US there is a particularly good opportunity,” says Sollitto. “With Cartoon Network airing the show, there are a number of categories that are ripe for exploitation in the US.”
Sollitto says WBCP will be on the hunt for US back-to-school, certain types of apparel and stationery partners, in particular, at the show which gets underway on Tuesday, June 12.