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April 6, 2018
Johanne Broadfield, vice president, Cartoon Network Enterprises EMEA
Turner's Cartoon Network Enterprises EMEA is firmly positioning itself as a network that has "something for everyone" as the international offices gear up for two major consumer product programs that support the re-energized and re-vamped series "Powerpuff Girls" and "Ben 10."
"In terms of our consumer product business, we've traditionally been a channel that overindexes on boys' properties–seven out of the top 10 TV series on pay TV in the U.K. are from Cartoon Network–but we are now seeing success with our CP ranges beyond the boys' aisle," says Johanne Broadfield, vice president, Cartoon Network Enterprises EMEA. "We're seeing this cross-appeal from who's tuning in–especially girls–particularly in Europe and across the U.K. It comes down to the appeal of the great content we have on-air."
And with two major reboots this year for the company, offering something for all audiences will not be a problem for CNE.
Originally debuting in 1998 and an evergreen property for network, "Powerpuff Girls" returned to the small screen this spring in EMEA markets, rocketing to the top of the kids' charts in the U.K., United Arab Emirates and South Africa, as well as taking top rankings in Portugal, Poland and more. (The series was also No. 1 in the U.S. for kids ages 6 to 11.)
With an eye toward what's current now in the kids' content space, "Powerpuff Girls" brings back the original trio of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup as they fight evil all while embodying the true essence of strength, sisterhood and the value of humor.
For "Powerpuff Girls," product across all categories will play an integral role in the property's brand extensions, but fashion will lead the charge.
"I would say that anywhere girls are playing, interacting or spending time, you will be able to find 'Powerpuff Girls' product there," says Broadfield.
In the fashion segment, the ranges are broad and intended to appeal across a wide demographic–there will be apparel for both girls and teens, as well as women. In fact, women's apparel debuted first for the brand, a strategic approach.
"Because we have the heritage there, we actually launched with the 'Powerpuff Girls' apparel first for women," says Broadfield. "We localized the ranges as well."
In Poland, for example, the fashion label Bizuu created a "Powerpuff Girls" capsule collection in cooperation with CNE. With an emphasis on "feminine strength and energy," the range of jackets, coats, knit blouses, sweaters and jeans hit the runways this summer.
"We had an amazingly fun and impactful launch with the Polish brand Bizuu for their winter range that delivered nearly $1 million in media value when we added together all the women's fashion, national TV and national press components," says Broadfield. "The capsule collection has received a lot of critical acclaim and shows how this brand will continue to develop itself in the adult fashion space."
According to Broadfield, CNE will look to evolve this localized apparel strategy across other European markets.
Other consumer product categories will also be receiving a strong push from the "Powerpuff Girls" brand, including toys, gifting, homewares, publishing and back-to-school.
Global toy partner Spin Master will be the first to debut its range of product in Q1 of next year in the EMEA regions, with additional categories rolling out on a similar timeline.
In the U.K. alone, licensees such as Joanne Stoker (shoes and handbags), Blues Clothing (apparel), Forbidden Planet (gifts and accessories), Corsair Toiletries (personal care), Blueprint Collections (stationery) and Poplar Linens (homewares), among many others, are on board to roll out product for the brand beginning early next year.
Globally, licensees such as William Lamb for footwear and kids' bags (the U.K.), Pretty Ballerinas for footwear (global) and Party Center for partyware (the Middle East) are also on board, as is Bioworld for a multi-territory agreement to produce apparel and accessories.
Although "Powerpuff Girls" is at its core a girls' brand, its appeal is broad, with varied demographics and even cross-gender appeal.
And that's a statement that CNE can make across the board, despite its historically male-skewing content.
"Our fans are there and they go beyond the clearly defined but narrow demographic of just boys," says Broadfield.
But strictly in the boys' space sits the newest iteration of "Ben 10."
For more than 10 years now, "Ben 10" has held boys' imaginations captive the world over, continuing to retain fans even when no new content has been on-air.
"The interesting thing about 'Ben 10' is that its online games still perform the best on our website and drive the most fan engagement and traffic," says Broadfield. "The brand continues to resonate with boys and has never gone away."
The app, "Ben 10: Cavern Runs Lite," remains Turner's No. 1 app of all time with 4.3 million downloads to date.
According to Broadfield, the property has maintained ongoing consumer product programs in various dominant markets including the U.K., Latin America and Asia, and continues to be a top three boys' brand in countries in the Middle East, South Africa and Turkey.
But, she says, the re-launch will be a flagship of the CNE consumer product strategy moving forward and a big emphasis for the group.
"We're looking to make a very big bang with the re-launch," says Broadfield. "We are taking all of the learnings from the past and adding new tools that are at our fingertips now such as digital and experiential that will be incredibly important in engaging with a new generation of boys for 'Ben 10.'"
The new series will return to its original roots and focus on the core of what children first loved about the show–the relatability of the character, his ability to transform and the multitude of aliens, coupled with action and humor.
"Ben 10" will roll out to EMEA and Asia Pacific audiences first this fall on Cartoon Network channels, followed by a broader TV launch in North America and Latin America early next year.
To support the brand's growth, Playmates Toys has been tapped as the master global toy partner for "Ben 10" and will create a full line of toys based on the series that will hit retail in fall 2017. It's a line that has CNE quite confident.
"The level of excitement in the room when Playmates presented the various product for all regions was palpable," says Broadfield. "We love how they approached 'Ben 10'–whether it's how they have taken the Omnitrix to the next level or the action figures or the larger play sets and environments, the toy range is just magical."
Broadfield says that early product testing among both users and retailers is only further bolstering CNE's excitement for the range.
"I do not have one tiny doubt that this toy range will not excite our fans," she continues. "The range is huge and going to build season to season, with a product highlight at each rollout. I think the Playmates collection is going to deliver something that is missing now in the boys' toy category."
Further building on the digital side is increased investment into the space by CNE with new content particularly for YouTube, the "Cartoon Network Anything" app and a series of shorts to be used across several formats.
The bottom line? There is truly a property to fit every fan of CNE properties, whether they be male or female, child or adult or any age in between.
"'Something for everyone' is a great tag line, and our fans have led us to it," says Broadfield. "Cartoon Network fans are incredibly important to us. We see girls liking our shows just as much as boys, and even their parents are engaging. There has been a broadening of appeal, particularly where we see our products appearing and listed at retail, that is more than just for boys. The franchise focus of 'Ben 10' and 'Powerpuff Girls' will only drive that focus even more."
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