With 40 years of heritage, License Global looks back at the history of the “Care Bears” brand with Robert Prinzo, head, global licensing, Cloudco Entertainment, and glances ahead at the next couple of years for the IPs such as “Care Bears” and "Madballs".

Ian Hart, Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA

March 31, 2023

4 Min Read
Dare to Care Bear.
Dare to Care Bear.Cloudco

License Global: “Care Bears” celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2022, can you tell me a little about the history of the IP and its journey in licensing? 

Robert Prinzo: The “Care Bears” franchise was created by American Greetings Corporation in the early 1980s, and the first line of Care Bears was introduced to the world in 1983. Initially featured on greeting cards, their popularity led to the production of animated television shows, feature films and licensed products. 

Today’s licensing program includes various consumer goods, such as clothing, bedding, toys and games. Over the years, the franchise has evolved and expanded, introducing new characters, storylines and product lines to keep the brand fresh and interesting. 

Robert Prinzo, head, global licensing, Cloudco Entertainment

Robert Prinzo, head, global licensing, Cloudco Entertainment

Why is the “Care Bears” brand so appealing, and what resonates best about it with audiences, enabling it to achieve such longevity? 

The “Care Bears” brand has maintained its popularity for over 40 years due to a combination of factors, including its strong nostalgia factor, relatable characters, positive messaging, broad appeal and emotional connection with its multi-generational audience. The characters are easily recognizable and have become beloved icons in popular culture worldwide.

Wet n Wild Care Bears collection.

Wet n Wild Care Bears collection.

How do you keep a brand like “Care Bears” fresh for existing consumers while evolving it to meet the needs of new consumers? 

To ensure the brand’s continued success, we prioritize staying true to its core values and essence while introducing new and innovative products, experiences and collaborations that cater to evolving market trends and consumer preferences. This involves actively listening to feedback from existing customers, using data and analytics to identify emerging trends, collaborating with partners and continuously innovating to stay relevant in a competitive market. 

Why does the “Care Bears” brand lend itself so well to fashion collaborations and licensing in general? 

The “Care Bears” brand's broad appeal and enduring popularity have made it an attractive licensing opportunity for a diverse range of partners, including those seeking to engage with multiple generations of fans. Its colorful and whimsical aesthetic translates well into various product categories, including fashion, which has allowed for a wide range of creative collaborations that resonate with fans. 

Care Bears x Teddy Fresh apparel.

Care Bears x Teddy Fresh apparel.

Cloudco has recently entered the world of NFTs and the metaverse with several IPs, including “Care Bears” and "Madballs". What prompted that move, and how do you see the brands developing in that space? 

Our move into the world of NFTs and the metaverse is a key part of our ongoing strategy to explore innovative ways to engage with fans and offer unique experiences. NFTs provide a thrilling opportunity to create limited-edition digital collectibles that fans can own and trade, while the metaverse allows for immersive virtual environments in which fans can experience and interact with our brands in new and exciting ways. We see this as a natural extension of our licensing program and are thrilled to continue exploring these spaces. 

"Madballs" is a very different brand from “Care Bears,” but it is also a brand that has been around for a long time. What licensing opportunities are consumers looking for when it comes to this brand, and how do you seek out potential licensing partners for it? 

"Madballs" has developed a strong following among fans of geek, horror, punk and skate culture, which makes it a sought-after licensing opportunity for partners operating in those categories. We actively seek out partners who share our vision for the brand and can bring a unique perspective and creative approach to "Madballs" products and experiences. Unexpected yet thrilling collaborations, such as our partnership with Garbage Pail Kids, remind fans of the brand's "gross-out" ‘80s roots and are highly successful.

Madballs Avatars

"Madballs" Avatars.

What do the next 12-24 months look like for the “Care Bears” and "Madballs" IPs, anything you can share with us? 

Over the next 12-24 months, we intend to expand the “Care Bears” and "Madballs" franchises through exciting new collaborations, innovative product offerings and immersive experiences. We are excited about the future of these beloved franchises and are confident that they will continue to engage multiple generations of fans around the world. 

Cloudco Entertainment will be showcasing many IPs, including “Care Bears” and "Madballs" at Licensing Expo, which takes place June 13-15 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Register for Licensing Expo 2023.

About the Author(s)

Ian Hart

Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA, License Global

Ian joined the License Global editorial team in May 2022 as digital editor for the U.K. and EMEA, becoming Senior Digital Editor in April 2023.

Ian is a huge fan of sports and entertainment brands and, as a father, toys and kids' brands are a large part of his life!

He has been at Informa (formerly UBM) since 2018, where he was previously the editor of SHP, a B2B digital publication aimed at health & safety professionals.

Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in B2B trade print media, in the automotive sector, working on various publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

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