NEW YORK In the churn and burn world of entertainment, evergreen properties, without high-profile stunts or tentpole films, tend not to generate much heat.
Apparently that just doesn't apply to The Simpsons.
Burger King is partnering with the series for a global promotion launching this week. Centered around the Kids Meal, it includes 17 million premiums, custom-created TV spots and in-store and online media. It will roll out across 58 international territories, including Asia, Europe and South America.
BK's relationship with the yellow, animated family from Springfield goes back 16 years -- during which it has run 10 co-branded programs. "There's enough of a halo effect, and the property has such widespread appeal that it's not really necessary to have a movie or DVD release," said Cindy Syracuse, BK's senior director, cultural marketing.
BK, which launched the hugely popular Simpsonize Me online program around The Simpsons Movie in '07, will be the first partner to get its hands on the famous couch gag that leads every Simpsons show. The fast feeder's ad agency, Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, has created a live-action TV spot that plays off the opening sequence of the series with the family clowning around on the living room sofa. Collectible premiums in Kids Meals will follow that theme, snapping together to make a wacky tableau under the tagline, "Hang out with the Simpsons." The Pitch Agency, Los Angeles, helped create the program.
With the show's consistent track record, consumer products sales that now top $6 billion, popular Simpsons theme-park attractions in Hollywood and Orlando, and a movie that raked in $527 million worldwide, Fox can afford to cherry pick its Simpsons partners. "We look for the highest level blue-chip brands and partnerships with a major scope," said Howard Nelson, vp of worldwide promotion at Fox Licensing and Merchandising. "You won't see us doing small brand partnerships for this property."
Fox, which recently re-signed the show's voice talent to new three-year deals, is prepping for the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons to kick off in '09. The TV season is on the cusp of November sweeps, and there's a season 11 DVD recently launched into the market. But those factors didn't drive the current BK deal.