Sony Pictures Bets on Licensing Flashback

With a robust number of licensees to support their newest projects, Sony Pictures Consumer Products is hedging on nostalgia to promote its films. Here, Jamie Stevens, executive vice president, worldwide consumer products, explains why they want to go back to push things forward.

Why is Sony taking a nostalgic route with its licensed products?

We have a vault of great classic films that are shared and enjoyed by generations of fans. We have found that pop-cultural driven moments bridge generations and keep our brands relevant. Many films from the '80s and '90s are also on trend right now, which also provides a perfect opportunity to reintroduce nostalgia products.

How will this approach target new and old fans of the franchises?

Nostalgia is the key trend and these franchises continue to grow in popularity because the storytelling and characters have a timeless quality. The products are also a big factor as they appeal to multiple generations through classic imagery and new art that is based on pop cultural trends. We will continue to reinvigorate our iconic franchises that present the biggest growth opportunities for old and new fans.

Do any of the new products hover between "then" and "now?"

Ghostbusters is a great example. It has multi-generational appeal, which is greatly due to a sustained marketing effort on the part of Sony Pictures and Ghost Corps. Recent examples of products that live between the then and now timespan include our "Stranger Things" x Ghostbusters Reebok special edition retro-sneakers that coincided with plot points in the Netflix original program "Stranger Things" and our new and upcoming "Ghostbuster World AR "mobile game. Technology is finally catching up with some of the concepts in the first film that fans can experience in a whole new way.

Which of the new franchises are going into evergreen territory?

Sony Pictures' Peter Rabbit film is a good example. After the success of the film, many retailers have expressed interest in developing ongoing seasonal opportunities. They really loved that a classic heritage brand is now presented in a contemporary context that speaks to a new generation. The success of the film and consumer products give us an opportunity to reinvigorate the franchise and appeal to a new audience.

Why is Sony targeting some of its new franchises for more seasonal opportunities?

We have a number of films that in the last few years of our motion picture slate have content that is specific to the traditional seasonal calendar. Films like The Star, Peter Rabbit and Hotel Transylvania fall into that seasonal specific calendar. What I think is more interesting is how we have transformed a seasonal Halloween-centric business, like Hotel Transylvania, into a 365-day-a-year business. Fans everywhere can stock up on Hotel Transylvania toys, apparel, publishing, games and more just in time for the third film Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation, in theaters July 13. Master toy partner Jazwares will lead the program with a line of toys that will kick off the biggest consumer products program ever for Hotel Transylvania.

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