If you “tawt you taw a puddy tat” or you’ve been asking yourself “What’s up, Doc!?,” it might just be because the beloved characters that have made such sights and sayings part of the universal lexicon are hotter than ever. Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) is looking to turn up the heat next week in Las Vegas as it showcases a robust Looney Tunes licensing program for retailers and licensees from around the world at Licensing Show 2012.
“The Looney Tunes are everywhere right now — animation, theatrical shorts, online, video games, home video and, of course, merchandise. All of this activity and success is driving our opportunities to develop a refreshed and ever-expanding product line for fans of all ages,” said Brad Globe, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
The Looney Tunes resurgence began with the launch of The Looney Tunes Show on Cartoon Network last year. The show, produced by Warner Bros. Animation (WBA), immediately took off in the ratings — delivering a 5.2 rating with Boys 6-11, and eventually hitting a season high 6.6 rating with the same Boys segment in conjunction with a nationwide retail promotion orchestrated by WBCP. During its first season run, The Looney Tunes Show out-delivered Cartoon Network’s primetime rating average by +28% with Boys 6-11. Even ratings for the classic Looney Tunes airings saw a 20% spike in Boys 6-11 rating throughout The Looney Tunes Show‘s first season. (Source: Nielsen Galaxy Explorer, Live+SD US AA%.) At the same time, it has begun its global domination as The Looney Tunes Show hits international airwaves beginning in September 2011, and is now being watched by fans of all ages in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina,Colombia and Mexico.
The Looney Tunes characters also returned to their roots in the past two years with the release of a number of all-new animated 3D theatrical cartoon shorts. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures in conjunction with family-friendly feature films, the shorts were created using state-of-the-art CG animation and rendered in stereoscopic 3D. The two most recent films — I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat and Daffy’s Rhapsody — featured the voice of the legendary Mel Blanc via original songs he recorded in character in the late 1940s and ’50s. Both I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat and 2010′s Road Runner and Coyote short Coyote Falls made the Academy Award® shortlist for Best Short Film (Animated) and were nominated for an Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject.
“We hold the Looney Tunes characters in the highest regard, and being able to help revitalize this franchise is an amazing opportunity and a privilege,” said Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation. ”I am very pleased to see that our efforts have been received so well not only by the audience but also by the licensing community.”
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment recently announced Cartoon Universe , a free-to-play, online world that will provide a safe, social environment for young kids to go on adventures, solve puzzles and play games with their favorite Looney Tunes characters, among others. Launching in North America in fall 2012 and international markets in 2013, Cartoon Universe will introduce a whole new generation to the animated antics of the Looney Tunes.
“The Looney Tunes characters have been enjoyed by generations and we are bringing them to life in a new way with Cartoon Universe , an online game filled with safe, social worlds designed just for kids,” said Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
“We are very pleased with the incredible cross-company content support for the Looney Tunes. It’s really unprecedented and it has allowed us to re-establish our licensing and merchandising program while re-engaging with fans from around the world,” added Globe.
A key component of Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ Looney Tunes merchandise program is master toy licensee The Bridge Direct, which is developing a comprehensive collection of products based on the classic Looney Tunes and The Looney Tunes Show. The multi-category product line, available at retail stores nationwide in fall 2012, will include plush, figures, playsets, vehicles and role play items.
Other WBCP licensing partners and new projects featuring the Looney Tunes include:
- In the EMEA region, Looney Tunes fans can look to brands such as Monnalisa, Dolce & Gabbana, Braccialini, and ICE Iceberg for high-end apparel and accessories, and partners like United Colors of Benetton, which sold over 2 million pieces with their first collection alone that featured the likenesses of favorite Looney Tunes characters.
- WBCP has also partnered with sports associations such as Lega Basket (Italy), the Basketball Federations from the UK, Germany, Spain (FEB, Men’s World and European Champions), andFrance (Women’s European Champions), to encourage kids to be and stay active. These partnerships, on behalf of the Looney Tunes Active! initiative, positively promote a more active lifestyle and the participation in physical activities through team sports.
- French technology manufacturer EMTEC has created a line of Looney Tunes-branded USB keys for children and adults who want to save their data in a fun, memorable way – with more than 1 million units sold in less than a year.
- Also in France, French food retailer Systeme U and WBCP continue their strong partnership, having developed more than 100 food products and sold over 50 million items to date that use theLooney Tunes characters to make healthy eating a more enjoyable and whimsical proposition for kids as part of the Looney Tunes Active! initiative.
- Encouraging kids to be physically active with Looney Tunes Active!, Nestle Waters continues its successful ongoing global partnership to create Looney Tunes branded water bottles – which has resulted in the sale of more than 1 billion water bottles since the partnership began in 2001.
- In the Australian market, fine jewelry maker Worth & Douglas is partnering with WBCP for an exciting new jewelry collection of earring, rings, pendants and charms featuring the belovedLooney Tunes character, Tweety.
- In South America, Hopi Hari, a leading theme park in Brazil, together with WBCP, has developedInfantasia, a new Looney Tunes themed area for kids inspired by The Looney Tunes Show that features the iconic characters in an environment that delivers fantasy and fun.
- In North America, Six Flags continues to offer the Looney Tunes a mass presence as the beloved characters are showcased in more than 11 Six Flags theme parks around the country, and inMexico.
- Warner Bros. Consumer Products Japan is partnering with apparel retailer Seiyu for an exclusive line of kids apparel and fashion accessories inspired by the fun and unpredictable world of The Looney Tunes Show.
- Junkfood continues to support the Looney Tunes with their innovative, trend-setting apparel, including t-shirts, which feature their unique branding of character graphics.
- Trunk has extended its partnership with WBCP and will introduce Looney Tunes apparel in specialty and department stores with their latest collection of classic and new designs, bodies and fabrication which feature the Looney Tunes characters with a new fashion-forward style.
- Long-standing global partner Hallmark will bring the Looney Tunes characters to every special occasion with a new licensing program that will include character-inspired greeting cards and timeless holiday Looney Tunes Keepsake Ornaments featuring Yosemite Sam, Tweety, Wile E. Coyote, Taz and Pepe Le Pew . Tweety will also be featured in Hallmark’s popular “Girl Mini Collection,” available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores.
All of the above initiatives and programs complement the robust Looney Tunes activities that are currently activated in the marketplace, including:
- Theme Park Entertainment:
- In addition to Six Flags and Hopi Hari, Warner Bros. Movie World Australia and Parque Warner in Spain bring the Looney Tunes characters’ irreverence and fun to millions of guests through these world-class theme park operators, including Six Flags, Hopi Hari, Village Roadshow and Parque Reunidos. With dozens of fun-filled rides, high-energy live shows and an array of themed merchandise, the Looney Tunes are integrated throughout these parks, offering guests unforgettable experiences. New rides, live shows and character-themed areas all over the world are set to debut later this year.
- On Stage Live Entertainment:
- Bugs Bunny at the Symphony is the original concert series celebrating the 22nd anniversary of Bugs Bunny on Broadway, the record-setting orchestra-and-film concert which created a new genre of symphony orchestra concert in 1990 when it debuted at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre. To date, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony has become the most successful and enduring film-meets-live orchestra concerts of its kind, playing to a record-setting two million people and spanning six continents.
- At Grocery:
- In Germany, WBCP retail partner Aldi has sold more than several million Looney Tunescereal packs to date.
- In Italy, WBCP and retail partner Coop have brought a wide selection of Looney Tunes-themed food items into 1500 stores beginning in 2011.
- In Turkey, Ulker has sold 100 million Smartt Looney Tunes food products to date.