Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012 - (Page S49)

Licensing SEGA OF AMERICA INC. Playing a Good Game After 21 years, SEGA of America has plans for more growth with its Sonic the Hedgehog character. t is a rare accomplishment to create a character that keeps connecting with audiences after many years, but this is a task that SEGA of America Inc. manages time and again, according to Chris Ironfield. “[We] continue to generate innovative content that moves the industry forward,” he says. Ironfield is the director of licensing for the San Francisco-based SEGA of America, the U.S. branch of SEGA Corp. Based in Tokyo, SEGA specializes in interactive entertainment and software products for multiple platforms, including computers, wireless devices and products from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment. SEGA’s well-known video games include “Altered Beast,” “Golden Axe,” “Shinobi” and “Jet Set Radio.” But its most popular property at the moment is “Sonic the Hedgehog,” the titular character of several games centered on the fastest blue hedgehog in the world. This year, Ironfield says, SEGA of America celebrates the character’s 21st anniversary. “He was developed in the early 1990s, when SEGA realized they needed a new, edgy mascot to promote the company,” Ironfield explains, noting that both SEGA Corp. and the company’s U.S. operation collaborated on the character together. Since then, the Sonic character has starred in several games, and Sonic-related products are strong competitors to I Nintendo, LEGO- or Disney-related items. “There appears to be an upsurge of demand by retailers and consumers for Sonic in the market,” Ironfield says. “We continue the creation of new product categories that meet the demand.” Customer Connection Ironfield says Sonic merchandise appeals to two very different groups of consumers. The first are four to 11 years old who are familiar with the Sonic character’s modern look, which is taller and more athletic than its original incarnation. “He has really evolved through the years, but he has maintained his personality,” Ironfield says. “If you think about it, [many] global icons such as Mickey Mouse have evolved over the years, but have retained the true sense of the character.” For children, SEGA of America “offers an extensive range of products including toys, games, apparel, comics, food, home and party goods so kids can connect with their favorite character,” he says. The other is the retro program, which consists of adults, teens and gamers who are more familiar with the Sonic character’s original look. “We’re able to create unique apparel, accessories, collectables and toys Chris Ironfield San Francisco May/June 2012 retail merchandiser 49

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012

Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012
‘Push’ vs. ‘Pull’
Narrow Your Band
Celebrating in Style
Give a Little Something Extra
Charm City Cakes
LazyTown Entertainment
Binny’s Beverage Depot
Vallarta Supermarkets Inc.
Cintron Beverage Group
Total Wine and More
Golfsmith International Inc.
Barrow Fine Furniture
Hedahls Auto Plus
Kopp Drug Inc.
Grafton-Fraser Inc.
Intelligent Office Canada
A1 Counting Solutions
New & Notable
Focus on Licensing - May/June 2012
2012 Preview
Franchising Facts
Hello Kitty Charm
Playing It Up
Saban Brands Powers Up
Mars Retail Group
SEGA of America Inc.
Major League Baseball Players Association
Universal Partnerships & Licensing
Remington Arms Co.
Cartoon Network Enterprises
Hybrid Apparel
Agile Network
New & Notable

Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012