Using its formidable broadcasting and marketing muscle, the Turner organization is mobilizing all its divisions to help make 1996 “The Year of Jonny Quest,” with plans to blitz the marketplace with “Quest” toys, interactive products and apparel in advance of the new “Quest” TV series, which launches in the fall of 1996.
“This is without a doubt the largest corporate initiative that we’ve undertaken since Turner acquired Hanna-Barbera in 1991,” says Helen Isaacson, senior VP and general manager of international licensing and marketing for Turner Home Entertainment.
The new 65-episode series is being readied by Hanna- Barbera, and will boast “an extremely innovative, no-one-has-done-it-before, no-one-else-can-do-it play pattern,” says Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert.
A favorite of baby-boomers since it premiered in 1964, the adventures of 11-year-old Jonny Quest and his globe-trotting professor father were television’s first action-adventure cartoon.
To update the classic, the producers have aged Jonny to allow for a measure of teen angst and have added a regular female character. Seibert sees the new series as an antidote to a market dominated by spandex superheroes, and all the characters have been redesigned to reflect the increasingly popular Japanese animation style, rather than the comic-book look of the ’60s.
In terms of marketing, Isaacson is “looking for power partners.” The company has finalized a deal for a master global toy license with Lewis Galoob Toys.
Isaacson adds that the company also will be working closely with individual licensees to implement a marketing plan tailor-made for each territory.
Another key element of the master licensing plan is the creation of a single dedicated logo and branding artwork for all “Jonny Quest” retail items, the first such effort for a Hanna- Barbera or Turner property.
So far, only Disney has been able to put that kind of marketing horsepower behind an animated project, though Seibert is quick to note, “They do an amazing job but they don’t have the television resources that we have.”
Turner plans to follow up “The Year of Jonny Quest” with similar campaigns for “The Jetsons” in ’97 and “Scooby-Doo” in ’98.