Head of TV and family entertainment franchises at Warner Bros. Entertainment explains why Scooby-Doo remains one of the firm's best-selling licensed properties ever.

Warner Bros.’ Ian Marshall on the enduring appeal of Scooby-Doo

What is the secret to Scooby-Doo’s success, what gives the brand its enduring appeal across generations and demographics?

It’s impossible to pinpoint a single reason why Scooby-Doo is so successful in the region. Great characters, excellent content and our complete commitment to evolving the franchise in line with consumer trends are key factors, and our outstanding broadcast partnerships with the BBC and Turner are key too. 

Nostalgia also plays a huge part as parents who love the show introduce their kids to it in the knowledge that it offers spooky-fun that is wholesome and safe. I think that there’s a sense of security to be found in the Scooby formula, the viewer knows what to expect but has great fun as we watch the classic mystery play out in a fun and often silly way to try and find out ‘Whodunnit?’ as we “unmask” the villain. 

Can you give me an update on the upcoming Scooby-Doo activity?

Scooby-Doo is supported right across TV, home video, online and gaming content, plus an all-new big screen movie that has now been confirmed for 2018. 

This October has seen the premiere of the new animated television series “Be Cool Scooby-Doo” on Boomerang and a special LEGO Scooby-Doo 22-minute feature that will air on Cartoon Network during the October half term supported by an on-air stunt. 

“Scooby-Doo and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery” will also be released as a direct-to-DVD feature, that will undoubtedly help to maintain the status of Scooby-Doo as the UK’s No.1 kids non-theatrical Home Entertainment Franchise. 

How important is the digital space for a brand like Scooby-Doo? Do you have some examples of how digital has been successfully used?

Digital is ubiquitous especially when targeting the native ‘single screen’ generation for whom digital ‘just is’ and always has been. We’re thrilled to offer young fans and their parents the all-new www.scoobydoo.com website from WBCP as Scooby and the gang continue to have a large presence across all social media platforms – YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest as well as 27 million fans on Facebook. 

In the UK, we’ve also created ‘on-air off-air’ campaigns across Turner platforms that drive kids from broadcast to online and back to broadcast. These integrated initiatives allow us to map the child’s journey from broadcast to online and they ensure that brand hits every possible consumer engagement touch point.

How closely do you work with the other Warner Bros. divisions to ensure a cohesive Scooby-Doo programme? 

All plans are created cross divisionally with our franchise team aware of all programs to help collaboration and coordination. Our brands are viewed holistically to ensure that the brand is always put first and resources and opportunities are maximised.

How have you seen the character change during your time at WBE? How much of a challenge is it to keep the brand fresh and ensure that it continues to stand out from newcomers to the market?

Our commitment to the Scooby-Doo franchise sees a constant stream of new content for the brand from the Studio. Each new incarnation possesses a refreshed look that keeps fans and retailers engaged, this helps us to retain a competitive edge. 

In the new show “Be Cool Scooby-Doo,” subtle differences to the animation style have been made and the scripts have been modernised to include current trend references and language, for example ‘beard’ jokes that are very topical and relevant to today’s audience. 

The core DNA of the brand – the big reveal, the core personality traits of each of the characters and spooky-fun remain untouched though, so it still is and always will be the Scooby-Doo that we know and love. 

What do you see the future being for the franchise within the home entertainment space?

Scooby-Doo is part of our past, present and is a core pillar of the Studio’s strategy for future growth. Few franchises can boast such a depth of appeal amongst girls, boys and adults and through our commitment to new content, including the new feature film confirmed for 2018, I have no doubt that Scooby-Doo will retain it’s top-dog position as the UK’s No. 1 Non-Theatrical Kids Home Entertainment Franchise for many years to come.

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