September 24, 2012 at 9:45 am by Ted Mininni
When Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme park ride became a movie sensation, it surprised many critics. Yet, there have been four blockbuster films to date with more planned. Light-hearted and nonsensical, the franchise has struck a chord with people around the world. The stunning success of Hasbro’s Transformers franchise is legendary. Marvel Entertainment’s “The Avengers” may even top Transformers over the long haul. Buoyed by fans’ enthusiastic response, Hasbro’s G.I. Joe hit the silver screen, followed recently by “Battleship”, loosely based on the classic game with mixed results.
Some critics have blasted films based on toys, games or theme park rides as a crass, opportunistic means of capitalizing on a well-known brand. Others say that there’s a “lack of creativity” in the film industry when these are sources of inspiration. Some say that our culture is becoming shallow. There may be some truth to this, but:
A blockbuster film doesn’t ensure blockbuster licensed products. Licensing program design is crucial to the success of properties. It’s important to create a visual vocabulary that encompasses the assets of these properties at a glance as well as those that elicit emotional responses. What are the cues that made the property powerful in the first place? Design a licensing program and style guide around that. A well-designed style guide allows licensees flexibility with diverse design assets that are on-trend yet align perfectly with each property’s unique visual aesthetic. This is how licensed consumer products will find success.
No matter how many licensed products fill retail stores, a well-designed licensing program will achieve immediate recognition and relevance, eliciting those all-important emotional responses. That’s what leverages the power of pop cult properties and turns them into licensing juggernauts.
Categories:Licensing, Licensing Program Design, Consumer Products, Entertainment