“You’ve got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying … in sweat”.
It’s one of the most famous film lines of all time – uttered by dance teacher Lydia Grant to her students in the 1980 film, Fame. Now Debbie Allen (the actress who played Grant) is back, as a new-look Fame for the Noughties generation hits cinemas. It has a lot to live up to – the original movie bagged two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and several Emmys, as well as grossing $200 million at the box office. It also spawned a successful TV series which ran from 1982 to 1987.
Luckily, the themes from the film still resonate with today’s audience, and Rocket Licensing is preparing to make the most of the hype and press coverage to launch its licensing programme.
“Sadly, both Charlie [Donaldson] and I remember the original iconic film and TV series well,” says Rob Wijeratna, joint MD of Rocket. “We knew that the brand evoked such a passionate response from so many people including ourselves, so we’re thrilled to be working with MGM and Lakeshore Entertainment on the UK licensing campaign for the new film.”
Some 17 licensees have already signed up to the programme for the new-look Fame: Alfred Frank & Bartlett (sunglasses), Aykroyd & Sons (nightwear/underwear), Bacup (shoes), Blues Clothing (kidswear), Bravado (t-shirts), Character World (home textiles), Danilo (cards/calendars), GB Eye (posters/prints), International Greetings (stationery/bags), Kinnerton (confectionery), Penguin (publishing), Roy Lowe & Sons (socks/leg warmers), Spearmark (lunchware/tableware/drinkware), Susan Prescott Games (activity games), TDP Textiles (nightwear/underwear), VMC (accessories) and Zeon (clocks/watches).
It’s a packed schedule already, but Wijeratna is still hoping to find partners in the toiletries, healthy and beauty, jewellery and celebration cake sectors, too. The merchandise, he says, is all “fun, funky and fashionable”.
To boost the range at retail, Claire’s has put together a comprehensive range of product, while Debenhams is featuring an exclusive Pineapple Fame classic range to tie in with its 30th anniversary. Rocket also worked closely with Penguin Books on the Waterstones’ Dance events held earlier this month, while Matalan is running a ‘Money Can’t Buy Fame’ promotion.
As well as the ‘new’ Fame, there’s also a ‘classic’ licensing programme. There is a separate style guide for this, with product – including ladies apparel from Somerbond and leisurewear from Blues Clothing for Pineapple/Debenhams – having a more retro look.
So, can Fame do it again? Wijeratna seems to think so. “The same themes still resonate strongly in 2009,” he says. “Kids today still want the chance to live out their dreams and achieve real and lasting fame. They still really relate to kids with talent and dedication, working hard in a competitive environment and dealing with school work, friendship, romance and self discovery. In 2009, perhaps even more so than in the early 80s, it’s only those kids with that innate talent and discipline that ultimately succeed.
“The film and DVD will continue to get great exposure, so will further build the brand’s iconic status. We’ll also continue to develop new and innovative product with our licensees to satisfy this demand.”