'Peanuts' goes digital
Published: Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.
The “Peanuts” gang is coming to smartphones, e-readers, Facebook and Twitter, in a far-reaching digital marketing campaign from the brand’s new owners.
“Kids don’t encounter comics in the same way that we did,” said Paige Braddock, creative director at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates in Santa Rosa.
“If you want to reach them, you have to be where they live,” she said. “And they live online.”
The new digital apps are coming from Peanuts Worldwide, a joint venture between the family of “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz, who died in Santa Rosa in 2000, and Iconix Brand Group, a New York licensing company.
Iconix owns 80 percent of Peanuts Worldwide and the Schulz family owns the rest. They bought the brand for $175 million from E.W. Scripps Co. in April, 2010.
Later this year, Peanuts Worldwide and a game developer will launch a free game for smartphones and tablets featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Lucy, Linus and other characters. Users can pay for advanced features and related products.
The application is being developed by Beeline Interactive, which had hit games with Smurfs’ Village, Zombie Cafe and Lil’Pirates.
Classic “Peanuts” titles “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” and “Happiness is a Warm Blanket” will be in digital format for the first time through Barnes & Noble Nook applications.
Titles also will be downloadable from digital publisher Comixology for Apple’s mobile devices.
And starting next month, vintage “Peanuts” comic collections for mobile platforms will be sold at Apple’s iTunes.
Peanuts Worldwide also is expanding games and interactive offerings at its website www.peanuts.com and has launched a Facebook page that now has 850,000 fans worldwide.
Meanwhile, fans can follow Peanuts on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Snoopy.
“Peanuts” had little online presence until the new owners took over last year, Braddock said. “The creative staff wanted to see ‘Peanuts’ in all these new venues, but we needed help to make it happen,” she said.
Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates is providing art and design work for the new apps.
It’s important to maintain the authenticity of “Peanuts” characters, Braddock said. “We want to make sure it stays true editorially,” she said.
Since 2010, Creative Associates has doubled its Santa Rosa staff to 19, adding specialists in animation and social media. It also has moved to a larger office on Airport Boulevard.
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