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University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Marketing Conference: Nickelodeon with Pam Kaufman

February 9, 2018

Pam Kaufman, the second keynote speaker at the University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Marketing Conference, has been with Nickelodeon for over 20 years. She started at the company as Vice President of Promotional Marketing. She is now the Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer Products.

Nickelodeon is the best popular television channel for kids. Pam explained that the secret to Nickelodeon’s success is understanding its customers. Nickelodeon’s team focuses heavily on research to identify what kind of products kids want. Nickelodeon has found that customers don’t only want television shows and products, they want immersive experiences as well. That’s why Nickelodeon operates 9 theme parks, built a five-star luxury resort in Punta Canta, brings its lovable characters to the Super Bowl each year, and is introducing Slimefest, a kids-centric music festival, this summer. Nickelodeon understands that when consumers love something, they want to be a part of it; they want to wear it, own it, and experience it. Consumers’ love for products not only generates revenue and strengthens their connection to the brand, but it also builds buzz and awareness about the shows.

Pam’s team operates in 6 key functional areas: research, franchise planning, licensing, design and product development, retail/sales and marketing, and promotions. Their goal is to strategically manage the intellectual property of Nickelodeon’s shows in order to extend their lifecycles for as long as possible. Shows start as series, which is monetized solely through programming. If a series is popular enough, it becomes property, which is also monetized with promotional products. If a property reaches a run time of 5 years and becomes a substantial sized business, it becomes a franchise. Nickelodeon’s biggest franchises are SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paw Patrol, Blue’s Clues, and Rugrats. Together, these 6 franchises have generated $36 billion in global retail sales. The next step after franchise is evergreen, a franchise that has become iconic in society by staying relevant for over 10 years. Nickelodeon has reached success in children’s television by carefully managing its intellectual property to guide shows into becoming successful and long-lasting franchises.

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