Year-long celebration planned for The Muppet Show
of License Magazine
Go Frog Wild! Celebrate this Anniversary with a Pig
The Jim Henson Company celebrates The Muppet Show's 25th Anniversary with key partner's special events and new programming. Believe it or not, it's been 25 years and a big anniversary like that shouldn't pass unnoticed, so The Jim Henson Company is planning to mark the occasion in a really big way: with a year-long celebration beginning this September and culminating on Sept. 24, 2002, Muppet creator Jim Henson's 65th birthday.
The 12-month event will serve as the flashpoint for a wide-scale Muppet launch aimed at enhancing awareness for the property and reaching new fans.
Expect new products on the market supported by a broad range of domestic licensees and between 40 and 60 global clients, producing a wide assortment of merchandise from low-tech T-shirts to cutting-edge interactive games.
These products have a built-in audience. This brand has a widely loyal fan base. "The Muppets have so many relevant attributes that resonate with kids, teens and adults," says Michael Polis, Henson's Senior Vice President Marketing Worldwide. "We have already seen significant results in Muppet focused trend-based apparel programs and video sales to teens and adults, respectively."
In the 25 years since the Muppet Show was introduced, Kermit, Miss Piggy and company have been part of the fiber of the television scene, appearing in movies, books, video games, and hundreds of television shows. Just recently you may have seen them on top-rated programs such as Hollywood Squares, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Today Show and the Tonight Show.
As a result, the Muppets continue to enjoy a 95% recognition rate among Americans!
Through a national direct response campaign with Time Life, 45 of the original Muppet Shows are available on video. The shows will be released on DVD this summer.
And there's a highly successful fashion program available at retail, now at Hot Topic and Gadzooks, featuring licensed T-shirts (by Changes) that have been flying off the shelves since their back-to-school 2000 debut. Acme, one of the hottest apparel manufacturers on the scene (recently featured in People magazine) has picked up the Muppet license.
The Jim Henson Company has several new Muppet projects in the works, all of which will feature the classic characters and introduce new members of the Muppet family.
"The Muppets will continue to delight teens and adults with lots of surprises in store," declares Betts FitzGerald, Senior VP Licensing. "We're collecting our forces and coming out with some really special projects, and we'll support them all with our highly innovative and fun marketing initiatives."
The global Muppet celebration will be supported by our European offices and licensing opportunities. "Henson will be everywhere, with over 20 worldwide agents in such countries as Mexico, England, Japan and Italy with an expanded effort in Asia," says Isabel Miller, Executive VP Consumer Products Worldwide.
Meanwhile, the first three Muppet movies will be released on DVD for the first time by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, starting with The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan in June followed by The Great Muppet Caper in July.
Among new products will be die-cast vehicles by Corgi, re-issues of classic Muppet Corgi cars from the 1970's, they'll hit retail in summer 2002.
Also on the Henson radar are Muppets board games, collectibles, plush and new posters and T-shirts based on The Muppet Show's original skits and classic characters (Pigs in Space, the Swedish Chef, Veterinarian's Hospital).
Also on tap is a first-ever fan gathering, MuppetFest! 2001 (produced by Creation Entertainment, Glandale, Calif.). Slated for September, the soon-to-be annual event will include panel discussions, auctions, contests, puppet workshops and demonstrations. Plans also call for a special presentation from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, as well as celebrity appearances and a merchandising area featuring new product as well as vintage memorabilia.
The Muppets will skate in the hearts of hockey fans next year via a multi-year, three pronged promotional effort with The National Hockey League (New York).
"This is a great marriage," says Polis. "We want to be fan accessible; and this permits Henson to push a cool character image."
The deal also is great for hockey, adds Alysse Soll, VP Fan Development, NHL Enterprises (New York).
"The NHL has the opportunity to leverage a relationship with characters that are known worldwide," Soll reasons. "We look at it as a worldwide opportunity, a real plus for our NHL clubs as well as NHL licensing, promotion and international marketing."
Partnering with evergreen characters, adds Soll, "made so much sense. The value of the Muppets is perfect. We can go farther together than we could go independently."
The strategic partnership calls for the Muppet interstitials to be shown on the overhead screen in the hockey arenas. Other elements of the promotion include premium night giveaways and a merchandise program at the venue.
New interactive games will combine both entities, featuring the Muppets vs. the NHL Mascots. The Muppets will participate in promotions surrounding hockey's all-star game next February, and a Mup Crazy event as part of the ad program for The Stanley Cup championship game.