MGM targets Latin America

Will market Pink Panther, Rocky

MGM's iconic Pink Panther character and fellow studio heavyweight Rocky are spearheading a major marketing and merchandising push by the studio in Latin America -- with Argentina and Chile as the initial main markets.

New York-based Big Tent Entertainment has entered into an agreement with MGM Consumer Products to become the exclusive licensing agent for Argentina and Chile, the two companies announced Thursday. "Latin America is a burgeoning marketplace for branded entertainment and I believe it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future," said Richard Collins, president and CEO of Big Tent.

Paul Flett, vp worldwide marketing and promotions at MGM, added that the characters of Pink Panther and Rocky have remained hugely popular in both territories over the years -- with Panther TV episodes still airing there to buoyant numbers.

"We love the way things are trending there, " Collins said. "The population is growing, the middle class economy -- particularly in Argentina -- is burgeoning and we like the way retailers are going to market."

There will be a multilevel approach to the marketing, with Pink Panther apparel and other merchandise appealing to the youth market, plush toys and other products from the "Pink Pan and Friends" cartoon series appealing to a younger kids and tween demo, and Rocky product selling to an older segment of the population, Collins said.

Big Tent will be responsible for supporting MGM Consumer Products' entire portfolio of properties, including such other brands as Robocop and the third-party property Highlander. Big Tent will develop a customized marketing plan for each MGM property, aligning them with appropriate partners. Focus for licensing categories will include apparel, accessories and stationery, as well as identifying promotional partners.