My name is Samantha and I’m a Gleek. But am I ashamed? Hell, no. I’ll happily admit that during season one, I became slightly addicted to finding out the fortunes, and misfortunes, of the William McKinley High School Glee Club.
And I’m not the only one.
“I think one of the main reasons Glee [has captured the imaginations] is that it’s so multi-layered,” says Louise Collins, UK licensing director at 20th Century Fox Consumer Products. “As a show, Glee is quirky, smart, engaging, positive and uplifting, recession busting fun. Music is a fundamental part of the show, with hit songs from across the ages – range from contemporary (Take a Bow) and rock classics (Total Eclipse of the Heart), to musical theatre numbers (Defying Gravity, Wicked) which appeal to both males and females, teens and adults alike.
“The diverse range of characters is also integral to the success of the show, with adults being able to relate to Sue and Mr Schu and teens identifying with the Glee club members. The key attributes of the show – humour and music, singing and dancing – are universal and are exportable on a global level.”
Season two is due to hit US screens at the end of September – although we’ll have to wait slightly longer for it to reach the UK – and a third season has also been confirmed. The second part of season one has just been released on DVD, while a complete season one box set will be available in time for Christmas.
And the licensing activity is ramping up, too. There are 18 licensees currently in the UK covering seven key categories – apparel, publishing, health and beauty, jewellery, accessories and gift and games. A focused range of product is launching this autumn, steadily building for 2011.
Partners so far include Smith & Brooks, BC International, BB Designs, Roy Lowe & Sons, PMD, FB Beauty, Danilo, UK Greetings, GB, Pyramid International, Headline Publishing Group (worldwide), Konami (worldwide), Underground Toys, Mattel (worldwide), Bon Bon Buddies, Character World and DNC.
“Our intention has always been to launch, build and sustain a licensing programme for Glee for the long-term,” explains Collins. “The first tranche of products will be pulled together with a creative look using the slogans from the show such as ‘I’m a Gleek’ and ‘Free your Glee’. As the foundation of the merchandising programme, the apparel category will lead Glee’s product roll out using bold, stylised designs and will launch at retail this autumn.
“Health and beauty, jewellery and gifts will also be strongly featured in the initial roll out of products including Konami’s Glee Karaoke Revolution video game in November. Additional categories such as home décor, food and promotions will be introduced through 2011 and beyond.”
FCP will be aligning with the home entertainment division of Fox on the roll out, and, promotionally, is looking for the right ‘brand fit’ partners to support Glee at retail level. Key retail partnerships are due to be announced at Brand Licensing Europe, says Collins, while New Look has already got off to a strong start with its exclusive tees.
“We’re very mindful of delivering product that captures what teenagers and young adults want to purchase, and the right graphic execution and handwriting,” Collins continues. “It is essential we work with the right licensees and retail partners to ensure Glee is merchandise in appropriate locations in the right stores.”
The momentum for Glee shows no signs of slowing down – indeed, A-list stars are queuing up for cameos (with Britney Spears being the latest), further proof if it were needed that the popularity of the series is sky high.
“The studio’s commitment to a third season is a really positive sign,” Collins concludes. “Not only will this ensure we have new content and broadcast exposure, but will ultimately build on the growing Gleek movement.”