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10 Minutes With … Pudgy Penguins on Licensing NFT Properties

License Global speaks with Luca Schnetzler, chief executive officer, Pudgy Penguins, to discuss the growth of licensed NFT properties.

Ian Hart

May 10, 2023

6 Min Read
Luca Schnetzler, chief executive officer, Pudgy Penguins
Luca Schnetzler, chief executive officerPudgy Penguins

Pudgy Penguins is a Web3-born brand that fosters creativity, freedom and community, producing content, merchandise, toys and digital collectibles. Retail Monster, one of License Global’s Top Global Licensing Agents 2023, is vertically licensing North America and EMEA/Japan for Pudgy Penguins, while signing on sub-agents for elsewhere.

License Global: What can you tell me about the history of the Pudgy Penguins IP, how it came about and its relationship with licensing?

Luca Schnetzler: Pudgy Penguins is one of the Top 10 NFT projects in the world; it has done over $400 million in digital collectible sales. Our vision is to build Web3’s first great IP company, so we’re creating content, creating product and doing everything you would traditionally do when building an IP company, but just adding the layer of tech of the blockchain that makes it a better value proposition.

Pudgy Penguins began back in August 2021. Today, we are breaking through into the traditional media world, rapidly gaining popularity on Instagram, GIPHY and other social networks. We're also about to launch our toy line with PMI Toys, which will be in mass market retail the next couple of months.

With a fairly new IP, how do you stay on top of what is trending and what is going to work well with your fans?

Our cheapest digital collectible is about $9,000 and we have about 10,000 of these collectibles. We probably trade about a million dollars a day worth of them. So, from this perspective we have a community of maybe 6,000 people who are all heavily invested in Pudgy Penguins, and they are our feedback loop. I think that is the core advantage to Web3, we have an edge in that this community has spent tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, on these digital collectibles. I see it as them building the brand with us; we are doing it together. They come from all walks of life; they put their money where their mouth is and together, we curate products that everyone in the community wants.

Pudgy Penguins Huggable Plush

Pudgy Penguins Huggable Plush

What is it about the Pudgy Penguins brand that so appealing and what resonates best about it with audiences?

I think people love penguins and I think we have the best penguin IP ever made, there’s just a natural connect there. Our brand is all about impacting people in a positive way, our whole ethos is about helping people. If you look through our content, through our strategy, through our product, we're either trying to make you laugh or smile, trying to give you a positive affirmation and make you feel better, or a piece of relatable content that you can share to your friend or a family member. That is the basis of our brand, and we believe that if you make other people feel good, they’re going to support you.

You’ve mentioned there is a toy line coming out, how do you help to convince a licensee to engage with the IP to move the conversation forward?

$400 million in digital collectible sales is no joke. We have an affluent user base that I think very few toy companies or IP owners in general have. We have people who have spent millions of dollars on one Pudgy Penguin digital collectible, which is not like anything else in the traditional IP space, so I think that is where our edge currently lies.

Pudgy Penguin Plush Buddy

Pudgy Penguin Plush Buddy

Who is the core audience for the brand and what licensed consumer products does the IP achieve the most success with?

I think the digital collectible is targeted towards parents, somebody who’s tech savvy who wants an IP that they can resonate with at home, from a family perspective. When you look at our edge in the Web3 space, we’re really the IP that families purchase, or that a parent will purchase because they want to get their child involved. I think from a traditional standpoint, our core demographic is boys and girls aged seven to 13.

Are you able to share anything about the toy line that's coming out? What kind of products can we expect?

We’re talking action figures, we’re talking plush, we’re talking a bunch of different products. But the cool part about it is their digital experience. So, we’re not only bringing NFT IPs to the real world, we’re also bringing NFT technology to the form of unlockables. I believe our unlockable is a better value proposition than anything that toy businesses have ever seen.

Pudgy Penguin Action Figure and Accessories

Pudgy Penguin Action Figure and Accessories

What trends are you noticing in the NFT/Web3 space now and how challenging is it to keep on top of what consumers want in such a fast-paced area?

I see us as a leader in this space, so we're not chasing a narrative; we’re the ones creating it. That’s the beauty about being in the position that we’re in. By cheapest, quote unquote, floor price, we’re the fifth biggest NFT projects in the world. So, being in that top five, you lead, you don’t follow. We create our own trends.

What do the next 12-24 months look like regarding some of your key IPs, is there anything you can share with us?

We have huge partnerships and huge tech releases that we’re due to release over the next couple of months. Where I see the space going in the next 12 to 24 months is pretty simple. I think this is the future of collecting. I unequivocally believe this. I think if you look at digital collecting versus physical collecting, digital collecting has all the pros of physical collecting, with none of the cons. It’s a better form of collecting and I think this business will dominate the $400 billion collecting market cap that is the collecting business today.

We want to collaborate with other IPs. We want to bring people into this lucrative Web3 world. People see the opportunity; they just don't know how to get involved. We’re looking to collaborate with other IPs and we want to leverage our core competency and our expertise in our field to work with other people that have core competencies and leverage in their field. So, animation studios, gaming companies, other toy companies, other IPs.

Pudgy Penguins will be exhibiting at Licensing Expo, June 13-15 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Retail Monster will be showcasing NFT/App brands (Pudgy Penguins, Color Collab), Video Game brands (Apex Legends, Fall Guys) and Lifestyle Brands (emoji & Afro Unicorn) at Licensing Expo.

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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