The Bugg Report had the chance to interview Janice Ross from American Greetings Entertainment and learn about all the latest news and updates on Care Bears.
I believe that the new series “Care Bears & Cousins” began to air on Netflix in November last year. How has the new series been received by Care Bears fans?
Care Bears and Cousins, the new Netflix Original series is reaching our expansive fan base and connecting with a new generation of children who are discovering Care-a-Lot and all the bear’s magical belly badge powers for the first time.
Speaking of Netflix; how have the new online streaming services added to your existing distribution model for media?
Netflix is a great platform to reach Care Bears fans of all ages and leads our content strategy, which includes traditional linear TV internationally with top broadcasters. We are also making a big investment on YouTube – a growing platform where we can engage children with themed compilations on the Care Bears YouTube channel.
In addition to this, I believe that Just Play are doing the plush and figurines for Care Bears & Cousins. Can you provide some detail on this and how these have been doing at retail globally?
Just Play has done a phenomenal job as our master toy partner and is introducing the Care Bears Cousins for fall ’16. This adds to an already successful toy line of the core Care Bears characters along with over 750,000 blind bags sold in 2015 in the U.S. alone. Turning to Australia, we are working with Funtastic who has introduced that market to the all new vibrant plush colour palette and expressive facial features which bring the characters to life.
Are there any exciting future plans that you are working on from a consumer products angle that you can share with us?
Care Bears is an evergreen brand with a multi-generation appeal so it’s exciting to have a diversified consumer products program that appeals to babies, kids, young trend-setters and adults. We’ll see this in full swing in 2017 when we celebrate the 35th anniversary with a nostalgic program that will feature the original look from the 1980’s as well as a core program that reflects the style of the CGI animation.
There are many Care Bears Apps on the App Store and Google Play. Are Apps still a major focus for you, in terms of keeping the Care Bears brand present in consumer’s minds?
Apps are a very important part of our brand strategy because we know it’s a relevant platform that reaches kids and parents and immerses them in a fun and entertaining Care Bears experience. We are particularly thrilled about our upcoming app launches which include Care Karts racing game with PlayDate Digital, Rainbow Slides digital board game with Tipitap and educational apps for learning Spanish (with developer TiptiTom Tales) and American Sign Language (with developer Ink and Salt).
Care Bears appeal to so many age groups and especially from a fashion angle. Are there any upcoming events or new promotions to come?
Care Bears has collaborated with a wide range of partners from Spanish designer Krizia Robustrella to Sanrio’s Kiki & Lala to alternative fashion brand, Iron Fist. What brings these diverse partners together is the strong connection their fan bases have with Care Bears. In 2017, as we begin our year long celebration of the Care Bears’ 35th anniversary, fashion and collaborations continue to be a focus with a variety of apparel and lifestyle products ranging from babies, kids, tweens/young adults to style conscious moms.
Care Bears were part of the White House Easter Roll in Washington, D.C. last year. Will we see Care Bears appearing in any major events again this year?
We participated in the White House Easter Egg Roll in 2015 and 2016 and look forward to our annual National Share Your Care Day on September 9th. Care Bears will also be part of the Hamley’s Holiday Parade in November 2016 (UK) and keep an eye out for more news on surprise appearances throughout 2017.
Taking some time to browse your Facebook page it is clear that memes and humour are a huge part of your marketing; is this a key to appealing to Care Fans in the older age brackets?
Care Bears appeals to a wide range of audiences, the parents who grew up with them and the new generation of kids now experiencing Care Bears. Humour is a great way to connect the wider audience, keep the brand relevant in the pop-culture sphere and encourage sharing and growth. One way we connect with our social media centric fan base is with trending buzzworthy images. In fact, our social media has inspired us to create a series of style guide supplements capitalising on the popularity of sharing emotions through images: Care-Emojis!
In this day and age, where there is so much negative news, it is really refreshing to see a brand like Care Bears provide light hearted humour and fun. Will this type of humour and fun remain a focus for Care Bears in the future?
Care Bears have been and always will be lighthearted, full of fun and focused on the values of caring and sharing. We’re looking forward to spreading more joy as we celebrate our 35th Anniversary in 2017 and reminding parents why they loved Care Bears and sharing that nostalgia with their children.
Thank you again for your time Janice, and we hope to speak to you again soon.