Benton worked with Dylan's to create exclusive new artwork featuring It's Happy Bunny enjoying Dylan's Candy Bar treats. The artwork appears exclusively on product, including candies, chocolates, cookies, apparel, stationery and plush, and will be available at all five Dylan's locations, as well as retail locations where Dylan's products are sold worldwide.
It's Happy Bunny has been a hugely successful property since it was introduced a decade ago. "The property is doing well internationally, as well as surging in the U.S.," said Benton. "We're in the big stores like Walmart and we're signing new deals all the time. That's an accomplishment for a property that doesn't have a television tie-in." Over the past 10 years, the property has generated roughly $1 billion in retail sales.
"IHB is back in more specialty stores
Postal said some new product categories for IHB are electronic categories, such as an iCardWiz app for the iPhone and iPod touch, online games at
, electronic accessories and all things animating the "bunny."
"I start by identifying what doesn't exist in the market, then work on how to fill it. If it's already in the market, you are too late. It's better to be early, even a year early, and have the market catch up," Benton said.
His designs have proven that the strategy works. Jokobo, a line of sketchbook illustrations with visual gags, has found its audience with younger consumers who relate to the humor. Jokobo apparel can be found at retail outlets such as Urban Outfitters and Strawberry stores.
Benton's "Dear Dumb Diary" series of books have made The New York Times bestseller list three times and are currently in film development. His "Franny K. Stein" series also has received awards and remains very popular with kids. "There are 4 million books in print right now," he said. New licensing agreements with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Scholastic have recently been signed.
After spending years focusing on Happy Bunny, Benton is branching out with some new and some revamped properties. The Misters, a property that had been big for Benton since the 1980s, has been redesigned and introduced to the market on a line of gift products from Blackjack. "The Misters is a fun, joke gift line for men that fills a niche in the market," said Benton. "Blackjack is doing a T-shirt and boxer line and it's been successful."
Kissy Doodles and JK Monster, both targeted at younger kids, are also being expanded. JK Monsters apparel is being sold at Fred Meyer and Journeys Kidz. Meany Doodles and Vampy Doodles are in Sears and Journeys Kidz stores.
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