NEW YORK, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Beanstalk to Extend Talking Friends' Characters into Multiple Product Categories to Engage Users Offline, Connecting Digital and Physical Properties
Beanstalk, a leading global brand licensing agency and consultancy, today announced that it has been selected by Outfit7 as the exclusive, global licensing agency for Talking Friends, the wildly popular series of mobile applications that have become a pop culture phenomenon. Beanstalk will be tasked with launching a worldwide licensing program across multiple categories for Talking Friends, its series of mobile applications and its cast of characters including Talking Tom Cat, Talking Ben the Dog and Talking Gina the Giraffe, among others.
The Talking Friends franchise, which launched in July 2010, has become a sensation with the media and millions of fans of all ages the world over. Each of the Talking Friends apps features a unique, heartwarming, and fully animated 3D character that comes to life when poked, tickled, and played with on mobile touch-screen devices for the iOS and Android platforms. The interactive character repeats everything a user says, and the apps allows fans to create customized videos of their interactions with the Talking Friends and share them via Facebook, YouTube, MSS or email. Over 400,000 videos are spread virally every month.
Since its launch in July 2010, the Talking Friends Collection of apps have been downloaded over 135 million times with upwards of 10 million people a day engaging with one of the Talking Friends characters. Talking Tom Cat ranked No. 3 among the free applications on Apple's App Store for iPhone in 2010-—ahead of Angry Birds, Google, Twitter and Apple's iBooks. The recently launched Talking Tom Cat 2 was downloaded 4.5 million times in the first week and reached the No. 1 chart position in over 70 countries. More than 15,000 Talking Friends user-created videos have also been uploaded to YouTube, generating over nine million views. The Talking Friends franchise cuts across multiple age groups with millions upon millions of users every day.
Beanstalk will launch a global licensing program for the Talking Friends characters with innovative licensed products that incorporate specific play patterns and interactive features unique to each character. Select products will incorporate developmental elements of the characters such as speech, music, co-ordination, reading, writing and sensory interactions.
Like Talking Friends' cast of digital characters, the licensed products will engage users differently depending on the user's age and provide the same unique connections and game experiences that have made the application so popular. The licensing program will have a two-pronged focus with consumer products designed for the user demographics -- children ages 2-8 and tweens, teens and adults.
"Outfit7's objective is to combine innovative and creative design with loveable characters that capture the imagination and hearts of people of all ages," said Andrej Nabergoj, CEO of Outfit7. "We call our apps the Next Generation of Entertainment because they were inspired by the new generation of mobile touch devices, leveraging their advanced technical features to create simple, engaging apps that people can enjoy alone or together. We chose to work with Beanstalk because they too have a history of innovation and the pioneering spirit we seek in all of our partners, as well as the capabilities and experience needed to extend our brand across the globe. Consumer products, both digital and physical, are a key part of our long-term strategy to expand the franchise across various platforms and categories."
The program will extend Talking Friends' amusing and engaging cast of characters into a range of product categories including toys, games, apparel and accessories, social expression, arts and crafts, electronic accessories, home décor and health and beauty, tapping into best-in-class licensees. The program will be available across multiple retail channels including online, mass, mid-tier, drug, grocery and specialty retailers. Products are slated to rollout in 2012 with a limited launch for Holiday 2011.
"Expanding the Talking Friends franchise into the real world through creative and innovative licensing and brand extension programs is truly an exciting prospect for Beanstalk and representative of an important emerging trend in the world of entertainment," said Michael Stone, CEO of Beanstalk. "While video games, digital and online properties have a long history of brand extensions and licensing, we are just witnessing the tip of the iceberg for app brand licensing. This is the new frontier of licensing and we are delighted to be a part of it. Apps have become such a mainstream part of our lives now that they occupy the same kind of loyalty and affinity as movies, television programs and other entertainment properties."
With more than 135 million downloads since its launch in July 2010, Outfit7 is the world's leading creator of mobile entertainment. Its Talking Friends collection has become a major phenomenon, with characters featured on ABC's "Modern Family" as well as NBC's "Today Show." There are currently 11 characters in the Talking Friends collection including Talking Tom Cat, Talking Tom Cat 2, Talking Ben the Dog, Talking Lila the Fairy, Talking Gina the Giraffe, Talking Baby Hippo, Talking Larry the Bird, Talking Harry the Hedgehog, Talking Santa, Talking Bacteria John, Talking Roby the Robot, and Talking Rex the Dinosaur. Outfit7 has offices in Palo Alto, California and Ljubljana, Slovenia and is committed to building the world's leading next generation entertainment company.
Beanstalk, a global brand licensing agency and consultancy, extends brands through the strategic and creative development of licensed products. The company works with blue-chip brands and other high-profile clients to leverage licensing as a strategic tool to enhance brand awareness, increase consumer touch-points, and generate revenue. Beanstalk also offers a breadth of additional licensing services including direct-to-retail program management, license acquisition for manufacturers, celebrity/expert talent management, and TransAct™ customized legal and financial services.
Beanstalk is the licensing agency of record for over 50 world-class brands and has developed thousands of brand extensions in every major product category, resulting in nearly $2.3 billion in retail sales in 2010 alone. The company is headquartered in New York, with offices in London, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and Hong Kong, and affiliates throughout the world. For more information, please visit http://www.beanstalk.com.
Beanstalk is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. Diversified Agency Services (NYSE: OMC). Omnicom (http://www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company.