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Published: Thursday, 5/17/2007

Enthusiasm for mascot still high at Owens Corning

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Pitching company shares to large-scale investors at a presentation in New York yesterday, Owens Corning brought a gaggle of top executives led by the Big Cat.

The Pink Panther.

Fresh off a deal with Panther owner MGM Consumer Products for the character to represent the company for 15 more years, the Toledo building materials manufacturer continues to make maximum use of the mascot.

"It is an iconic part of our brand," Jason Saragian, an OC spokesman, said. "Certainly it resonates with our customers. That's why we signed for another 15 years."

The deal, which runs through 2021, was worth more than $10 million, according to the advertising industry publication Brandweek.

"We're very proud of the 25-year partnership with Owens Corning, and we look forward to an even more successful partnership over the next 15," Travis Rutherford, executive vice president of MGM Consumer Products, said in a written statement.

OC's 25-year deal for exclusive use of the Panther in building-products advertising and promotions was scheduled to expire last year.

OC initially began using the Pink Panther, which originated in a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie of the same name, to highlight its pink-dyed attic and wall insulation.

Some local advertising executives who were involved in 1981 with the Toledo company's initial deal to use the character, had speculated that OC might begin to distance itself from the Pink Panther because the character isn't as well known to younger people as it is to their parents and grandparents.

But renewal of the licensing deal with MGM suggests that is not the case.

Yesterday, the Panther was instantly recognized during a company presentation to more than 100 institutional investors and financial analysts in the board room of the New York Stock Exchange.

"The Pink Panther and the color pink resonate with the investor community as they do with consumers," the OC spokesman said.

Executives made note of the contract extension in their presentation, telling investors that the Pink Panther is an endearing character known to 94 percent of Americans ages 39 to 49.

The character first appeared in the opening credits of the 1963 movie The Pink Panther. It was supposed to resemble a flaw at the heart of a precious diamond in the farce centering on a jewel thief and a bumbling police officer.

Contact Gary Pakulski at:

gpakulski@theblade.com

or 419-724-6082.



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