More Licenses to Love

2005 promises to be a year filled with candy license opportunities—what’s not to love?
Candy and characters—it’s a great pairing. “They are two of kids’ favorite things,” says Kelly Gilmore, vice president of toys and theme park licensing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
And with the 2005 new kid movie schedule mostly finalized, the license/candy duo is under the bright spotlight again. “Robots,” “Star Wars,” “Batman,” “Chicken Little,” “Cars,” “Harry Potter” and more—they will all show up on candy shelves in perfect sync with their big screen debut.
While the kid movie opportunity in candy licenses seems to be growing, industry players say they are just being leveraged more. “The opportunity has been there since the big success with ‘Lion King,’” says Deirdre Gonzalez, vice president of marketing for Cap Candy. “It’s just that today movie licenses are becoming more of a priority for much bigger candy entities. But for the rest of us, the [smaller novelty] candy manufacturers, we have been in this kind of licensing for a long time.”
Beyond movie properties, kids’ television properties are doing well, too, according to Gilmore. “For example, take Scooby-Doo,” she says. “Even though he doesn’t have a movie in 2005, he’s on the Cartoon Network and the Kids’ WB!, and millions of kids tune him in each week. Scooby-Doo appeals to a younger audience but is popular with both girls and boys.”
Other “evergreen” properties such as Looney Tunes, Marvel, and Care Bears are currently being reported on candy makers’ hot lists too.
Here are some of the things retailers and consumers can look forward to from a few of the top candy/license players.
Au’some Candies Inc.
You won’t find this creative candy company jumping on just any license. “We are always looking for new licensing opportunities, however, we are very selective on the licenses we choose,” says Rose Downey, marketing manager. “We do a lot of research before we approach a new license. Licensing is a part of our candy business, however, we do not rely solely on licensing. We still have our core business, and that is creating interactive, fun candy, as well as a newly developed fruit snack line.”
That said, Au’some has recently launched its American Idol Candy Line, which includes American Idol Pop Mic, American Idol Bubble Gum CD and American Idol KLIK’S.
“These three items were created around music,” explains Downey. “We have timed our product launches perfectly to maximize the Christmas sales potential for stocking stuffers, as well as the launch of the TV Show in January. ‘American Idol’ excitement is a yearlong process as the show runs from January through June, and during the summer months, the American Idol concerts kick off.”
CAP Candy
With its Hasbro toy connection, Cap Candy is known for putting play value in candy, and the company is ready to tie into five 2005 movie releases: “Robots,” “Star Wars Episode III,” “Chicken Little,” “Cars,” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
For “Robots” in March, the company will be releasing Spin Pops (in Rodney and Fender characters); Pop Toppers (in Rodney and Piper characters); and a brand new item for Cap called Magna Muggz. With this item, kids can create instant character makeovers with a magnetic lollipop wand.
For “Star Wars” in May, Cap will be unveiling Pop Toppers (in Darth Vader, Chewbacca and Yoda characters); Spin Pops in full body action figures (cult figures Darth Vader wielding his light saber and Chewbacca taking aim with his crossbow); and another new item for Cap—Spliquid Light Saber Candy—an authentically styled Jedi weapon filled with tasty liquid candy that shimmers and floats.
As for the Star Wars license itself, she says, “We did some special items here because this is the very last ‘Star Wars’ movie for all time, and so it’s the last merchandising program in candy. This has been a franchise like no other in the history of franchises.”
For “Chicken Little” premiering in June, Cap will offer Pop Toppers (in Chicken Little, Fish Out of Water and Baby Alien characters); Spin Pops (in Chicken Little and Baby Alien characters); and Treat Keepers (in Chicken Little, Fish Out of Water, and Baby Alien styles).
Plans for products that will correspond with “Cars” in November and “Harry Potter,” have not been announced.
Flix Candy/Imaginings 3
 This forward-thinking novelty candy marketer believes in a mixed bag of licensed candy—from retro properties to hot new movie offerings. According to Mike Cavalier, marketing manager, the company currently offers several candy licenses that it believes will have staying power well into 2005. Those include:
Lil Bratz. “Bratz continues to be the top-selling collectible doll and will be strong for the foreseeable future,” says Cavalier.
Care Bears. “This retro property is as hot as you get right now,” he says.
Incredibles. The DVD release in March will be a strong rallying point, according to Cavalier.
Scooby Doo. “This remains the top everyday/classic property for both boys and girls alike,” he says. “It reaches a wide age range and has seasonal application.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “They are back,” maintains Cavalier. “The cartoon is doing well and this property continues to have a growing retail presence.”
Magic 8-Ball. This is a “great retro product that captures the attention of both kids and adults,” Cavalier states.
Beyond established licenses, the company will be unveiling its Batman lineup of new candy items around the upcoming Batman movie, “Batman Begins,” to be released on June 17.
“They will not be out until June, but they will be great,” promises Cavalier. “This is a big summer movie and a big promotional opportunity for novelty candy.” The word from Warner Brothers is that one of the Batman items released from Imaginings 3 will be a Batman Light Up Bat Signal Lollipop.
Taste of Nature 
Extremely selective in its licensed candy picks, Taste of Nature likes to bet on evergreen properties such as Spiderman and Care Bears.
“We are continuing to see strength in our Care Bears as our Care Bears Gummi Bears enters new markets and experiences superb sell-through,” says Scott Samet, co-president of the company. “And we continue to consider licenses on a very selective basis. Only licenses that fit into our core competencies will be applicable to pursue.”
Teddy’s Friends
This new player to candy licensing is targeting the 2005 Valentine’s Day season with its NECCO Sweetheart Greetings, a candy and plush pairing. With a candy license from NECCO, the company has created two sizes of its original Bear Sweetheart Greetings and a newly unveiled Raggedy Ann and Andy Sweetheart Greetings.
“The NECCO Sweetheart Greetings were created simply to capitalize on the most recognized non-chocolate Valentine candy packaging in the industry—NECCO Sweethearts candies,” says Debie Brandt, president of Teddy’s Friends.
While Teddy’s Friends has “done very well combining big brand candy with its custom characters such as bears and bunnies, we have found that the utilization of nostalgic industry icons or licenses has greater sales volume potential,” explains Brandt. Thus, the pairing of NECCO Sweethearts and Raggedy Ann dolls. “We currently feature nostalgic licensing with established longevity,” she adds.
Raggedy Ann items were chosen specifically because 2005 celebrates the 100th anniversary of the beloved rag dolls. In addition to the Valentine’s offering, the company is developing candy/gift items to add to its Raggedy Ann line for Christmas 2005.

Coming Attractions: 2005 Movie Release Schedule:

February 11
Pooh’s Heffalump Movie,
Walt Disney Pictures

March 11
Robots, Twentieth Century Fox

May 19
Star Wars Episode III,
Twentieth Century Fox

May 27
Madagascar, DreamWorks

June 3
Herbie: Fully Loaded,
Walt Disney Pictures

June 17
Batman Begins,
Warner Brothers

July 1
Chicken Little,
Walt Disney Pictures

July 1
Fantastic Four,
Twentieth Century Fox

July 15
Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory,
Warner Brothers

July 22
Pink Panther, MGM

October 7
The Wallace and
Gromit Movie, DreamWorks

November 4
Cars, Walt Disney/Pixar

November 18
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Warner Brothers

November (TBA)
Iron Man, New Line Cinema

December 9
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,
Walt Disney Pictures

December 21
Zathura, Sony/Columbia