Net enters competitive novelty item biz
Next time you’re in the market for singing toilet paper, think of NBC.Peacock’s entry into the competitive novelty item biz is tied to its new Thursday night laffer “Outsourced.” The show, which centers on a novelty company that outsources its sales calls to India, has inspired a whole line of products to be developed and sold by NBC retail operations and the NBC Universal TV consumer products group. NBC’s online store has already started selling common novelty fare like hand buzzers, cheese-heads, rubber chickens, whoopee cushions and toilet bowl mugs — all of which have been seen on the show. But going forward, Peacock has bigger plans for “Outsourced” merchandise. The network is in talks with a real-life novelty company to start using the name Mid-America Novelties, as on the show. Right now, items for sale like the cheeseheads are already widely available in the novelty marketplace. Other products making their way soon to the NBC store, following an appearance on “Outsourced,” include a “fanny fart bank,” a double barrel beer guzzler helmet and the aforementioned singing toilet paper. But the consumer products group is also working with “Outsourced” writers to take made-up products written for the show and turn them into actual, exclusive items for sale. “They’re coming up with some unique items,” said Kim Niemi, senior VP of the NBC U TV consumer products group. “Those items will be branded as coming from Mid-America Novelties. The show is a natural for this kind of thing.”
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