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Franco adds Care Bears to lineup

Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, March 18, 2002

Bolstering its stable of popular licensed children's lines, Franco Manufacturing has signed on with American Greetings to produce a line of children's bedding, bathroom accessories and beach products featuring the Care Bears cartoon characters.

Sheets, pillow cases, comforters, decorative pillows, blankets, quilts and soft window featuring characters such as Cheer Bear, Tenderheart Bear and Share Bear are all scheduled to be unveiled during the upcoming spring market. The licensing deal was brokered by The Joester Loria Group on behalf of American Greetings.

The bedding and towel line will feature two looks: a classic '80s retro style designed for tweeners and teens and an updated contemporary look for juveniles. The retro collection will be marketed for mid-tier and specialty stores, while the latter will be offered to mass merchants.

Said David Franco, director, marketing for Franco, "The Care Bears are a natural choice for Franco Manufacturing. The characters are highly recognizable to mothers who grew up with them. The property fosters a positive message for children, and the colorful characters enable us to create an appealing line with a wide range of choices."

In addition to the Care Bears license, Franco also manufactures and markets licensed lines for SpongeBob SquarePants, Scooby Doo, Harry Potter and the Powerpuff Girls, as well as Mudd clothing and the World Wrestling Federation.

"American Greetings is committed to providing fun and creative Care Bears products," said Mike Brown, vp, licensing for American Greetings, which is based in Cleveland. "We're excited to be aligned with a juvenile bedding industry leader and are looking forward to bringing this timeless property to a whole new generation of children and their families."

To support the new Care Bears licenses, American Greetings is committing more than $10 million in marketing support over the course of the year. A national broadcast and print advertising campaign is scheduled targeting all key audiences.

According to Debra Joester, president of The Joester Loria Group, product is expected to ship by the third or fourth quarter of this year.

"The Care Bears seem to have a timeless quality about them," Joester said about the 20-year-old characters. "The women who remember them have children of their own and remember the Care Bears for the values that they stood for. So now, they want to share and impart those values to their own children."

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