Firstly, could you give me a brief history lesson on Scooby-Doo?
One of the most successful characters in the history of Hanna-Barbera Studios is a Great Dane bearing the moniker Scooby-Doo. Scooby began life in the animated television series Scooby-Doo Where Are You? and went on to star in many more series, including two successful movies.
The idea for a mystery-comedy show was originally pitched as 'Mysteries Five' for five main characters, with four teens taking the lead. It wasn’t until it was decided to make the dog the star that the format gelled. The fact that Scooby created a whole new genre of cartoon and has become an enduring icon is a testament to the people behind this lovable Great Dane.
How many licensees are now involved with the programme (in the UK and worldwide)?
Can you list some of the most successful merchandise categories for the brand? Scooby is very strong in the toy and home entertainment categories in particular - can you talk a bit about what we can expect to see from these going forward?
Scooby-Doo was, uniquely, both a Top 10 Boys and Top 10 Girls property in 2007, according to NPD’s License Tracker. The character toy range continues to grow steadily with S/S08 retail sales up 15 per cent vs S/S07. The current range from Character Group, which includes Scooby Doodle-Doo, Scooby Hide ‘n’ Seek and the cool new Scooby Snack Action Game, to name but a few, will be supported by extensive TV advertising this Q4.
Following further investment, brand-new lines are planned for 2009. These include Mystery Mates Figure Packs, Mine Car Mayhem Stunt Set, Sleuth Play Set and Glow in the Dark Stretch Scooby. Character Group will support the 2009 range with TV advertising both in SS and AW09. We are delighted with the success of the Character product to date, and anticipate strong growth next year.
Home Entertainment also continues to thrive. Named as the biggest-selling, non-theatrical kids franchise in 2007, Scooby-Doo certainly has top-dog status. The next release, Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King, is due to release on October 20th. This feature-length performance, with strong Halloween content and a special, spine-tingling lenticular packaging, is supported by a national marketing and public relations campaign. The Goblin King will reign supreme.
A full slate of releases is planned for 2009, including two, brand-new direct-to-dvd, specials, one of which is a live-action format that visually harkens back to the two previous live action theatrical releases. This live action/CG movie goes right back to the very beginning and answers some of the basic questions on how the gang originally came together: Why is Shaggy a vegetarian? Why does Fred wear that ascot and perhaps, most importantly, where did the group of fearless heroes find everyone’s favourite, lovable dog? Both feature releases will be supported by a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes TV advertising.
Additionally, there are plans to release a Scooby-Doo video game in A/W09.
In addition to this robust activity, Scooby-Doo returns to the stage with a brand-new live show. Scooby-Doo and the Pirate Ghost will tour 36 venues in UK and Ireland from February through October 2009. Supported by a significant marketing campaign, the live show presents a wide range of cross-promotional opportunities for our partners.
Are there still categories which you are looking to move into?
We have had some success with Scooby-Doo retro t-shirts and we are now looking to take Scooby further into the adult gift market.
You mentioned that there are new plans to define the property and focus on the 'making scary fun' element. Can you tell me any more about that?
An extensive research project including qualitative and quantitative research was recently conducted in order to identify and reassert Scooby-Doo brand DNA for today’s consumer.
Consumers confirmed the core brand positioning of 'Scooby is the dog that can do it all', and validated the key Scooby brand essences of 'scary fun', 'solving the mystery' and 'hip and cool'.
While Scooby-Doo is loved on many levels, we will concentrate on the brand’s engagement that comes with the parade of paranormal prowlers who bring mystery and intrigue to the storyline.
The humorous exploits, foiling the crime and the 'big reveal' all conspire to Scooby making 'scary fun' and it’s this proposition that will underpin all areas of the UK business moving forward. A new creative direction will help amplify the message and there is a stream of compelling ideas to drive product innovation and excitement around the brand.
What do you think is the secret to Scooby-Doo's longevity? Why do you think the character has managed to appeal to various different ages throughout three decades?
Scooby-Doo is a real pedigree. The great cast of characters and mix of scary monsters, mystery and humour appeals to all ages. Through the introduction of regular, new content and strong creative programmes, Scooby-Doo has been able to keep generations engaged and excited while still remaining fresh. Parents also have a strong connection with the brand as it holds nostalgic appeal for them too.
Where do you see the brand in five years time?
Scooby-Doo is evergreen and will continue to entertain generations to come. Scooby has been most popular and commercially successful in the UK, US and France, and we are now also seeing significant increased popularity and business in Italy, the Eastern European markets and Greece. We’re planning for increased growth in those markets in the next few years.