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Pink Panther Turns 45

It's been 45 years since The Pink Panther debuted as an animated character in the 1964 film of the same name, and MGM Studios is using the 45th anniversary to give the iconic character a different look and—at l

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

It's been 45 years since The Pink Panther debuted as an animated character in the 1964 film of the same name, and MGM Studios is using the 45th anniversary to give the iconic character a different look and—at least in Japan—a new color as it works to introduce the brand to a new generation of fans.

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With more than 300 licensees worldwide, the Pink Panther's licensing program runs the gamut from toys to high-end fashion, and MGM hopes to expand that scope in 2010 when it debuts the animated series "Pink Panther & Pals" on the Cartoon Network. The series will debut in spring 2010 and appeal to a younger audience in the 4-to 8-year-old demographic that skews slightly younger than its traditional audience of teens and tweens.

"We think it's a great opportunity to introduce The Pink Panther to a whole new generation," says Trisha Samuels Laudisa, MGM Studio's executive director of worldwide licensing and consumer products. "The character in the show will have the same personality as the original Pink Panther but will be a mischievous teenager instead of an adult."

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MGM will use the Licensing International Expo to debut the first sneak trailer from the series, one that also will appear on The Pink Panther 2 DVD due out June 23. MGM has just started to build a licensing program around the animated series that will include apparel, stationery, publishing, back-to-school and interactive games with a target launch for fall 2010, giving the show a six-month window to establish itself. "We're going to introduce the first licensees for Pink Panther & Pals at the Licensing International Expo and use the show to sign new licensees," says Samuels Laudisa.

The studio has teamed up with Rubicon to produce the first 26 episodes of the series. The cast will feature old favorites from the original "Pink Panther" animated show, like Ant and Aardvark along with Hoarse and Dog and Big Nose, the Panther's arch-nemesis.

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While Pink Panther & Pals is the biggest licensing initiative for the brand this year in the U.S., MGM has efforts under way in other countries. Japan has long been one of the most lucrative licensing markets for The Pink Panther, and MGM is teaming with Avex Nation—a summer music festival featuring Japan's top musical acts—to make the Pink Panther its symbol for the 2009 event, where he'll be colored blue in keeping with the festival's blue color scheme.

"He'll be the unofficial mascot, and the theme will be the Pink Panther goes blue," says Warren Schorr, executive director of worldwide marketing and retail development for MGM Studios. The company also is teaming up with master licensee Sanrio Japan for a line of Pink Panther & Pals products that will include youth fashion.

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MGM also is keeping the brand fresh in high-end apparel. It has a new line of men's dress shirts from Thomas Pink that debuted in stores in February 2009 with the theatrical release of The Pink Panther 2 and has teamed up with Comme de Garçon for a line of young men's apparel. And it has a deal in place with Cris Conefezioni for a "Pinko" line of women's apparel in Europe.

And MGM is continuing its long affiliation with manufacturing giant Owens Corning, which adopted The Pink Panther as its spokes-icon 25 years ago. Owens Corning is now using the Pink Panther in its new "Pink is Green" campaign, which promotes the use of Owens Corning pink insulation as a way to conserve energy and protect the environment. "It's a continuation of a partnership that goes back 25 years and is one of the longest and most successful of its kind in the industry," says Schorr.

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