July 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm by Ted Mininni
Trendwatching.com for July 2012 focused on the latest consumer trend, what they dub “Newism: why consumers crave the new”. Yet, at the tail end of the newsletter these words appear: “Last but not least, it does not mean all consumer attention will be focused on the new. There will still be endless value in heritage brands, known to deliver constant, trusted quality and provenance. There will be value in well-told, compelling stories. In comfort. In tradition.” Well put.
Many marketing articles discuss innovation and the need for a constant stream of shiny, new, aaaah-inspiring consumer products. You know, restless consumers demanding the latest, when they want it, and how they want it delivered. Do they want incremental improvements? Not so much. Exciting, stimulating, out-of-the-box items? Yes. So why the interest in retro among kids’ entertainment brands? After all, kids are interested in interactive technologies to play games and connect with their peers. How do retro brands fit the picture?
I’ve got some theories about this and they’re more than gut feelings since we’ve worked with kids’ brands for two decades now.
Hence the reemergence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Smurfs, Cabbage Patch Kids, Transformers and a host of other classic brands. Notice how their toy power has also led to blockbuster movies, digital games and licensed consumer products. They’re hot and happening. All over again.
Trust. Value. Quality. Heritage. A great story. Ever-important in a world where so many brands disappoint. Yet all of this isn’t enough. It takes great consumer product and package design to enchant and connect with kids. And that all starts with pulling comprehensive licensing program and packaging program style guides together for retro properties.
There’s nothing stodgy or dated about what we developed for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Retro licensing program style guide. Its design elements recall vintage assets in a manner that’s fun for today’s kids as well as their parents. There’s lots of latitude for licensees with imagery that can be used on products in every conceivable category, yet the look and feel is unmistakably true to the original TMNT franchise. Familiar character- and property-specific phrases combined with classic imagery that we all know and love establish authenticity and retro appeal for this licensing program.
The same is true for our approach to the Transformers Classic licensing program style guide. A variety of badge and pattern designs, and the design of the guide itself, were inspired by design and pop cultural trends from the 1970’s, American WWII propaganda and Japanese movie posters. There can be little doubt that that the design elements for this licensing program recall the Transformers’ vintage birth during the 1980’s, yet convey a cool, current vibe.
The development of a well-conceived and executed licensing program style guide ensures that retro brands will appeal to today’s kids and their Generation X parents. Knowing which visual assets speak to the heritage and strengths of these properties while adding a more modern sensibility help make that all important emotional connection.
Categories:Licensing, Branding, Package Design, Licensing Program Design, Consumer Products, Entertainment, Marketing to Kids