April 6, 2018
FremantleMedia is gearing up to support its new series "American Gods" with a product suite fit for fans of the property, both old and new.
Andrea Brent, senior vice president, licensing and franchise management, FMNA
FremantleMedia North America's Starz Original Series "American Gods" is poised to become the next must-see series, and Fremantle has a licensing strategy in place to harness the power of this new pop culture player.
The series has plenty of creative talent in its corner. Executive produced by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, the eight-episode series is based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling contemporary fantasy novel that boasts a star-studded cast including Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson, Orlando Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Crispen Glover, Emily Browning and Kristin Chenoweth. The series debuted on April 30 in the U.S. on the Starz network and will also go global on Amazon Prime Video this month.
"American Gods" follows Shadow Moon, an ex-con left adrift by the recent death of his wife, who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to conman Mr. Wednesday. Mr. Wednesday is a powerful old deity in disguise preparing for a war that's brewing between traditional old gods, with mythological roots from around the world, and new gods that have powers over technology and media. Shadow Moon is thrust into a hidden world where magic is real and where the old gods seek to defend their existence in a new America against the growing power of the new gods.
The series has been generating buzz long before its debut. Attendees at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con got a first look at a series trailer last summer after a panel discussion with some of the cast, and SXSW attendees were treated to a premiere of the show in March. Anticipation for the series has been "out of control," says Andrea Brent, senior vice president, licensing and franchise management, FremantleMedia North America.
"There's a lot of excitement around this show," says Brent. "The show has magic, mystery and eye-popping scenes. It really delivers on everything fans of the book and fantasy genre fans are hoping for and more, since the original characters have been expanded."
FMNA has built a robust licensing program to support the series launch with initial products rolling out now, with more to follow in 2018.
"Since it has recurring themes, interesting props and is visually stunning, the property lends itself to licensed product and unique consumer product categories," says Brent.
For example, items such as Shadow's coin and fellow character Czernobog's hammer are iconic among readers and will be touchstones for viewers of the series, so they are natural themes for collectibles.
The Crocodile Bar, the watering hole of the gods that is a regular location for the show's action, will be referenced on a barware line from licensee Dark Horse and will include a pint glass, shot glass and ceramic and metal steins based on props from the show. Dark Horse will also produce a sculpted coin replica pin, playing cards, coffee cups (including heat sensitive and ceramic cups), an embroidered patch, a coaster set, lenticular cards, lenticular posters, 3D crystal laser-etched cubes, journals/notebooks, an optical illusion mirror coin bank and other optical illusion novelty collectibles.
Licensee Rittenhouse Archives has also signed on for trading cards and albums. Funko will create stylized vinyl figures for both its Pop! and Dorbz lines, water bottles, lanyards and keychains; Titan will produce non-articulated vinyl figures; and NECA has articulated action figures, foam prop replicas and foam figures covered. Chronicle Books will publish a behind-the-scenes look at the making of season one, Rizzoli will produce wall calendars and Trends has signed on for posters and bookmarks. Ripple Junction is on board as licensee for men's and junior's t-shirts, tanks, fleece, fashion tops, jackets, socks, dresses, buttons, pins and stickers.
The show's characters also have catchphrases that are tailor-made for licensing.
"We're extracting signature taglines for apparel and other categories," says Brent. "For example, Shadow Moon's 'I don't believe in anything I can't see' catchphrase and Mr. Wednesday's tagline 'Damn right I'm a hustler, swindler, cheater and liar' will be licensed for product lines from apparel to stationery.
"We anticipate just as much interest in Britain as in the U.S., and quite a strong demand in Germany and in Australia as Amazon gets off the ground there," says Brent. "Those will be our key markets at launch."
In the U.K., Trademark Products is the apparel licensee for t-shirts, sweatshirts, vests and fashion tops; Forbidden Planet will also produce apparel and accessories; Pyramid Posters is the partner for posters, wall art, mugs, coasters, badges, stickers, key chains, notebooks, door mats, magnets and wristbands; and Danilo Promotions will create calendars and journals.
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