The Source finds out how the classic brand remains on-trend 68 years into its tenure.
It’s been a very busy time for the Peanuts brand over the last couple of years. In June 2017 DHX Media acquired the entertainment properties from Iconix Brand Group, which included 100% controlling interest in Strawberry Shortcake and an 80% controlling holding with Peanuts (the remaining 20% interest is with members of the family of Charles M. Schulz).
And, in just January of this year CPLG was appointed to represent the brand in the UK, France, Turkey and Greece, building on its existing programmes in Iberia and MENA.
2015 was a particularly big year for the brand – it was the 65th anniversary of the comic strip, the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and, of course, the release of The Peanuts Movie.
“The Peanuts Movie in particular, provided us with a new way to get in front of kids and introduce them to Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang,” kicks off Melissa Menta, svp marketing and communications at Peanuts Worldwide. “What’s great about Peanuts, is that even 68 years into its tenure, it’s constantly reinventing itself in the licensing world – and that’s a testament to the genius of Charles Schulz and what he created.”
So why decades on and with plenty of other cartoon characters nipping at its heels is Peanuts still so universally popular? The answer is simple according to Melissa: “Peanuts is a brand that appeals to all demographics – young and old, boys and girls. Charles Schulz imbued his characters with universal, human truths, and that is what makes it so appealing today.”
Maarten Weck, CPLG md for Northern Europe (UK, Benelux, CEE & Nordics) concurs, adding that: “Peanuts is very active in making sure their brand is on trend. They realise this by trendy style guides, great worldwide collaborations and very cool special projects.”
One such recent special project is The Peanuts Global Artist Collective. Peanuts Worldwide has partnered with seven fine artists from around the world and invited them to reimagine the beloved characters in public art installations around the world.
“Over the last several months, fans in seven global cities have been able to view some of this unique art in public murals,” explains Melissa. “Going forward we will see the project expand into other areas that we aren’t able to announce at this time. What we can say is that phase one, the public murals, is only the beginning.”
Peanuts Worldwide also recognises that new content will be a strong driver for the brand. “Now that we are a part of the DHX Media family we are exploring new avenues for content, but when it comes down to it, our social media channels are one of the key ways we are able to stay top of mind and in front of fans every day,” says Melissa. “Projects like the Peanuts Global Artist Collective or our global touring exhibit, Snoopy and Belle in Fashion, also keep the brand fresh and speak to different demographics.”
Closer to home, Maarten reveals that there are currently 20 local partners in the UK and the brand has a vast number of global deals/DTR deals which are represented in the UK. “Apparel continues to be a key category with various best in class licensees on board the programme all being supported by the compelling continuous global collaborations who want to be part of the Snoopy story,” he says.
Since January, Maarten and the team have experienced “huge excitement for the brand”.
“We will already be announcing at least seven new partners in the next month which is testament to the strength of the brand and demand from retail. Outside of apparel we are looking to expand further into homewares and gifting categories, but have also had strong interest in FMCG categories,” he adds.
And in other territories….
Pau Pascual, md of Iberia and MENA, CPLG
“We’ve been representing Peanuts for more than 18 years now and we represent the brand in Spain, Portugal and recently we expanded to Middle East and North Africa.
We have 30 licensees across multiple categories. From apparel, footwear and accessories to plush and a great publishing program. Our regions are mainly driven by apparel and fashion so our main partnerships are our DTRs with Inditex Group but also with other big retailers such as Women’Secret or Mango.
CPLG was somewhat a pioneer in bringing the first DTRs to the region and Peanuts has always been part of such long-term partnerships.
Our goal is to consolidate our core consumer and expand to the others. We’re launching a national ‘Peanuts baby basket’ campaign which is going to be shared across hospitals, midwifes and doctors for all pregnant women and new-borns.”
Joachim Knoedler, md of France and Germany, CPLG
“In France, the brand is already visible across a number of fashion collaborations with capsule collections at Eleven Paris and Paul & Joe with further ranges planned for this year, plus a collaboration with Parisian label Swildens launching in the summer.
In addition to fashion collaborations, we are continuing to develop a more classic licensing programme though back to school collections, publishing, apparel and gift, as we prepare for the 70th anniversary of the brand in 2020.”