You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Office

2007 Hot Property

Principals: Greg Daniels, series exec producer; Kim Niemi, senior VP of video, music and product development, NBC Universal Television; Cindy Chang, VP of worldwide business development, Universal Studios Consumer Products Group; Debbie Luner, VP of worldwide marketing and brand management, USCPG

Licensees include: Corbis, Hallmark, Andrews McNeel, IndiaGames, Mumbo Jumbo and others

The story: A unique relationship with consumers distinguishes this boutique program from bigger, more traditional merchandising approaches.

NBC Universal Television Distribution has worked with “Office” producer Reveille Prods. on a line of apparel and novelty products sold exclusively at NBC’s online shop nbcuniversalstore.com and Experience storefront in New York.

Three seasons into “The Office’s” Stateside run on the Peacock, the merchandising focus is on what Jeffrey Rotenberg, the Experience Store’s marketing director, terms “connector” products — items imported directly from the workaday world of Dunder Mifflin, the show’s fictional paper company. Fan favorites include the bobblehead figurine of Dwight Schrute that the uberachiever himself (Rainn Wilson) received as a Valentine’s Day gift in season two ($19), and the terry bathrobe that boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell) wore proudly in season three’s holiday episode ($65).

While NBC employs the “connector” approach with other top shows like “Friday Night Lights” and “Heroes,” “The Office” remains its leading merchandising property.

Rotenberg says the NBC U/Reveille team is readying by-audience-request bobblehead versions of the entire “Office” cast as well as a replica “Dundie Award” trophy.

“Office” exec producer Daniels notes that NBC and Reveille together pull product ideas from the show’s dailies. “The fun,” he says, “is trying to get the merchandise ready in time for the airing of the episode.”

As the property enters the general licensing market, Universal Consumer Products Group partners include Basic Fun for talking keychains and pens, MJC for young men’s and juniors’ T-shirts, Corbis and Hallmark for greeting cards, and Andrews McNeel Publishing for a 2008 day-to-day calendar.

On the interactive side of the biz, Universal Mobile Entertainment licensee IndiaGames is developing a follow-up for its “NBC’s The Office” mobile game, which launched across U.S. carriers last June. Meanwhile, casual games publisher Mumbo Jumbo, in collaboration with Universal Pictures’ digital platforms group, will release a game based on the show this fall for online download as well as Sony’s PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS.

POV: “What we’re doing is more organic to the show than what typical licensing would be,” Niemi says. “You’re not going to see just a (show) logo on a shirt. It’s less about quantity and more about things that really resonate with the fans.”

More Scene

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

  • KiKi Layne and Stephan James'If Beale

    Regina King Praised by 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Co-Stars for New 50/50 Initiative

    Two days had passed since Kiki Layne and Stephan James had attended their first Golden Globes and the “If Beale Street Could Talk” co-stars were still trying to wrap their heads around having been there. “It was such a special night — and pretty unreal,” says James, who was also nominated for his work opposite Julia Roberts [...]

  • Steven Van Zandt, Edie Falco, Tony

    'The Sopranos' 20th Anniversary Reunion: Cast, Producers Remember James Gandolfini

    Jan. 9’s 20th anniversary reunion of the cast and producers of HBO’s “The Sopranos” was a raucous family gathering from its first moments. “I saw a picture of myself in the newspaper,” series creator David Chase said at the start of the event. “And I thought, 20 years. Jesus Christ.” “People come up to me,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content