Through high times and lower moments, Peanuts Worldwide has ridden the societal waves and introduced licensed products that reflect the state of the world. Now Charlie Brown, Snoopy and other “Peanuts” characters that Charles M. Schulz created are edging into esports.
Through a multiyear licensing deal between Peanuts Worldwide and the Moniker Group, there will be capsule collections for the latter’s esports brands H4X and ESX360. The offerings will be available online and through select stores, with the first H4X collaboration with Peanuts scheduled for a spring launch. Moniker will be featuring some of the Schulz-created characters on apparel, and gaming accessories such as ergonomic gaming chairs, among other products. Other categories will be added.
Peanuts Worldwide is always on the hunt for new categories and innovative partners with the goal being to team up with best-in-class, Liz Brinkley, vice president of fashion collaborations and soft lines for Peanuts Worldwide, said. “Moniker really is the leader in the esports apparel and accessories company. It’s been a fun creative exploration for us, because it is a world that we haven’t really been in before.”
Peanuts Worldwide owns the Peanuts characters and related intellectual property. WildBrain Ltd. owns 41 percent of Peanuts Worldwide, 39 percent is owned by Sony Entertainment Worldwide (Japan) and the Schulz family owns 20 percent.
Comparing gaming to “the new watching,” Moniker founder and chief executive officer Cole Gurman said, “It was inevitable that a heritage brand like Peanuts would take the natural next step into gaming…forget about Snoopy and the gang. This is a heritage brand that really transcends time. As a gaming brand, we’re basically the gateway to this new lifestyle that is here to stay. Bringing Peanuts into that universe, and that nostalgic ingredient that every generation can pretty much appreciate and that cultural association is very important for the continuity of an experience brand like us.”
Not just slapping logos on controllers and anything else that looks like gaming, Moniker has developed proprietary fabrics for the H4X brand that can be worn for any situation, he said. All knits are now made from organic cotton. His company was connected with Peanuts Worldwide through Creative Playground’s Dari Marder and Maria Dolgetta. Hoodies, sweatpants, T-shirts, and gaming sleeves will be among the items. The new line will feature Snoopy, his alter ego Joe Cool, Charlie Brown, Woodstock and Franklin. Merchandise with images of Franklin is expected to be popular with H4X fans, according to Jon Gurman, Moniker’s executive chairman and board member.
Declining to specify how many requests Peanuts Worldwide receives annually, Brinkley noted the company is selective in its choices and seeks brands with similar messaging. The company, which just released a raft of new collaborations, declined to provide global sales.
Brinkley said, “What’s been most challenging is that when we look at our calendar, everyone we work with has their own moment. So they can leverage the marketing and social media. We’re very careful about how we position our different partners in different categories.”
Without question, the Moniker alliance is distinctly different, which heightened the appeal. “It seems like this is a category that is just booming. We’re excited to have Moniker look at Peanuts through a whole new lens, introduce us to a whole new fan base. I love that it is men and women. That’s Peanuts. We have such a broad appeal — men, women, kids. It’s really multigenerational and all genders,” Brinkley said.
Prior to the pandemic, which accelerated interest in gaming, the gaming industry was already expected to reach $180.1 billion in revenue this year, according to the market research firm Newzoo.
While Peanuts’ “amazing nostalgia factor” is a huge part of the brand’s identity, the messaging within the comic strip “was always so far ahead of its time and yet always seems current,” Brinkley said. The comic strip debuted in seven newspapers in 1950. “When you go back now and read everything, it really seems relevant. That’s one of the things that we have tried very hard to do…part of what we love doing is making sure that Peanuts stays relevant and that we can attract a new generation of fans every single day.”
To that end, the importance of caring for the environment and being kind to the planet was first addressed by Schulz in the ’60s and continued in the decades that followed. Noting how he was ahead of his time in that regard, Brinkley said the new initiative “Take Care With Peanuts” explores that messaging. Other new endeavors include a global launch Thursday with Swatch and a Quiksilver surfwear program geared to young men and boys that will be followed by a snow sports collection. A Vera Bradley collaboration for bags, other accessories, family pajamas, blankets and other items also debuted Thursday. A collaboration with Lacoste bowed at the end of October. And Peanuts’ third collection with Marc Jacobs debuted recently, “which was spectacular,” Brinkley said. A collaboration with Coach that was unveiled last summer did “phenomenally well,” she added.
Next year partnerships rooted in the Take Care initiative will be revealed. “We’re going to be delving again into the streetwear category, which I’m extremely excited about,” Brinkley said. “Peanuts really seems to be such a natural fit for these partnerships. We’re thankful that we had the opportunity to work with so many great and talented people. My favorite part of my job is watching Peanuts come alive through someone else’s eyes.”