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California Raisin Creator Launches New Firm

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NEW YORK -- One of the creators of the California raisins and M&Ms animated characters has established a new company, Character, to continue to help clients create memorable advertising icons, the company said.

David Altschul, who led the Vinton Studios production house for 20 years, opened the company recently in Portland, Ore. The idea came out of the Will Vinton Studios as The Character Development Lab, he said.

In a statement, Altschul said, "I kept seeing that many of the difficulties advertisers were facing in creating strong relationships with consumers could be
helped by a deeper understanding of how stories work and how characters work."

Character is also working on ongoing project with Pepsi-Cola North America on a new character set to debut this fall.

Jim Hardison is the creative director of Character, and Brian Lanahan is director of strategy.