BK ‘Lifestyle’ Goods Aim For Young Males

Whopper-flavored dog food will not be coming to a store near you, though a manufacturer pitched the idea to Burger King. However, the chain is for the first time in decades dabbling in licensed goods.

New BK-branded items on the horizon include T-shirts, backpacks, lunch boxes and Halloween costumes.

“We’re putting together a lifestyle program as a way to quickly reach consumers,” said Carole Francesca, president of Broad Street Licensing Group, Montclair, N.J., which won the account at the end of April. “We’re especially looking to reach Burger King super fans, males ages 18-34. Men who fit right in with Burger King’s communications, like ‘I am man. Hear me roar.'”

The first deal on the table, which is in the final stages of being inked, is with a major apparel company. As early as this fall there may be T-shirts, pajamas, boxers, footwear, hats and junior fashion tops for women that feature the creepy King character, the Whopper and various BK taglines.

Broad Street also is looking into back-to-school items for 2007 like backpacks, lunch kits, notebooks and other items. Clothing for juniors and tweens will play to current fashion trends, be they washed, faded or tie-dyed.

There is strong interest in King Halloween costumes. The chain made masks available last year online and at select Ricky’s retail locations.

It has also been approached by a candy company that wanted to make Whopper-shaped sweets. This concept was panned, along with the dog food. “They don’t want to be slapped on just anything,” said Broad Street svp Bill Cross. He noted the dog food example “shows how much interest there is in this brand.”

McDonald’s last year named DIC Entertainment, Burbank, Calif., as its worldwide licensing agent for toys, entertainment and apparel. Its McFlurry dessert maker has been on the market since 2003, and the chain is working on new apparel, footwear, books, videos, toys and other products.