Pingu gobbles up Lettuce Club collaboration in Japan

Tokyo-based Sony Creative Products, the Tokyo-based licensing manager for Pingu’s growing programme in Japan, has kicked off the year with a special Pingu collaboration with the women’s lifestyle magazine, Lettuce Club.

Lettuce Club is published by Kadokawa Corporation – a major name in lifestyle, fashion and entertainment magazines in the Japanese market. It’s a market in which SCP has been entrusted to grow the Pingu brand on behalf of Mattel.

In order to win one of a number of prizes, competition entrants were asked to come up with an original recipe themed around Pingu, his family and his friends, turn it into a meal and then send the recipe and a picture of their edible work of art to the magazine.

Entrants had to use real food and were invited to tweet the recipe or post it to Instagram by using a dedicated hashtag, with the chance for the winner to see his or her recipe featured in Lettuce Club magazine, Lettuce Club news and Pingu’s official homepage. There were also special prizes of Pingu-themed goods for the best recipe ideas.

The competition, which ran from late February to early March, is the latest in a number of collaborations and agreements that underline the appeal of the world of Pingu and his friends and the success of the new, entirely Japanese-made-and-produced computer-animated TV series Pingu in the City.

Pingu in the City launched on the NHK ETV channel – which is owned by Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK – in October 2017. This new version of the Pingu story brings the titular character and his family from their small village to the big city, where Pingu meets many other fascinating penguins, finds out about what they do and – inevitably – gets into trouble.

The success of the new series in Japan is expected to extend into other markets after the announcement last year of a new distribution partnership for Pingu with Sony Music Entertainment España, S.L. (SME). The Madrid-based music publishing and distribution company will distribute Pingu in the City in a number of European and Latin American territories.

Other collaborations and promotions since the launch of the new series have included a Pingu-themed café in Shinjuku, a Pingu-themed shopping event in one of Japan’s best-known and biggest shopping malls in early 2018, and a Christmas collaboration with Sunshine Aquarium, a popular city aquarium in Tokyo.

Takeshi Nakamura, global business group licensing manager, Sony Creative Products Inc., said: “This competition has captured the fun and charm of Pingu and his friends in a delightful and original way. It’s been wonderful to see how the readers of Lettuce Club have brought some of their favourite children’s characters to their specially designed meals.”

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent some six years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobHutchins3 if ranting is your thing...

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