It was only a matter of time until Thing One and Thing Two made their way to China. And in an effort to serve the ever-growing appetite in Asia for US-bred properties, San Francisco-based L&M agency Global Pursuit (a joint-venture of Gamania Digital Entertainment and Brand Reality) has sewn up the exclusive licensing agent rights for the Dr. Seuss brand in the country, along with Japan, India, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia.
“It is just one of the brands that we grew up loving,” says Cynthia Money, president of Global Pursuit. “We believe there is enormous potential to capitalize and expand upon the current awareness of Dr. Seuss across Asia. It’s an iconic brand.”
Global Pursuit’s connections in China, with offices in Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, will give Dr. Seuss Enterprises the “eyes on the ground” required to properly shepherd the ancillary extension of its Asian publishing program that was established in 2006.
Currently, 16 Dr. Seuss titles have been released in the Chinese market by China Translation and Publishing, and another 17 bilingual books (Mandarin/English) have joined them through a deal with Chinese publisher Beijing Oak Tree Books.
“There is already a great connection there,” says Money. “They use the books to teach English, so some of the kids market is already familiar with the characters.”
Since the ink is still fresh on the contract, the partners are in the process of plotting their strategy. Money says the initial push into the territory will concentrate on landing licensees for apparel, accessories, toys, plush and greeting cards.
In terms of distribution, she says the team will take a “focused approach” to a complex retail landscape. “We are going to look for a couple of retail partners,” she says. “For the right partners, we will look at exclusive launches.”
The program is concentrating on China, but will also be extended to South Korea and Southeast Asian countries like India, Thailand and Indonesia. While the Seuss portfolio includes numerous established characters, Money says the program is likely to focus on the familiar fun-loving and mischievous Cat in the Hat at the outset. “It’s just the most recognizable and classic,” she concedes.