Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 20
"Our approach to accomplishing our goals over the
next 18 months will be to raise the bar in sales, marketing,
creative and client service," Stevens says. "These type of
changes are critical and help attract best in-class partners.
We are committed to driving innovation, being a partner
companies like to work with and creating exciting products
across key categories. We will accomplish our revenue goals
and develop products that appeal to consumers by having
great content, products and the support of our agents,
licensees and retailers around the world."
Sony plans to launch each property uniquely, as they
each require different licensing strategies based on the
property, target audience and the specific brand DNA,
"That's one of the things I love about my job," she says.
"Every day I'm working on three of four projects with
varied target demographics, which is exciting. We strive,
from a consumer product standpoint, to create innovative
and fun products that appropriately represent our intellectual properties.
"Our approach changes when we are dealing with a new
film versus a franchise," Stevens continues. "Our team does
a critical review of the marketplace and one of the key
aspects of our strategy is to be able to pivot when necessary
to make the most out of marketplace feedback and opportunities that lead to growth in both revenue and long-term
collaborative partnerships. We are committed to building
franchises with more output than ever, and a commitment
to service and working with our partners to innovate so
that our products and properties come to life in the
most enterprising and exciting ways."
Stevens notes that it is "not about logo-slapping" in every category. "It's about
being able to bring that product to life
through the characters in our films," she
says. "For Smurfs, which is a great franchise, the products look fantastic and we
are able to translate those characters into
products that kids will enjoy."
To date, the Smurfs franchise has
generated nearly a billion dollars in global
box office sales. Smurfs: The Lost Village - which
Stevens says is "fully and beautifully animated" - will
be released April 2017.
"We are very excited about Smurfs. It is a fun adventure
and we have some great partners on board, " she says. We
believe this fully animated film will put us on a better path
with audiences and consumers alike. This is a key aspect
of the long-term strategy as the look certainly elevates the
product. This is evident with our master toy partner Jakks as
they have brought the wonderful world of the Smurfs to
life in unique and exciting ways. People go to the theater
looking for a great experience. There's humor and heart in
this film, so all of that really makes for a great experience."
The Next Level
The new animated film The Emoji Movie will make its
debut this summer. Sony Pictures is taking advantage of
a key moment in time, as emojis are the fastest growing
language in history with 6 billion sent out every day,
according to Stevens.
"This movie finally takes you inside the secret world of
your smart phone, where all your favorite emojis live and
work inside the text app, hoping to get picked by their
user," she explains. "Each one only has one facial expression
except for the hero of our film Gene,
who can express every feeling and has
no filter for his emotions. He teams
up with his best friend Hi-5
and a computer genius
called JailBreak to find
the code that will
help make him
each with its own