Thursday, June 06, 2019

Nickelodeon Marks 20 Years of "SpongeBob SquarePants" with the "Best Year Ever"

Originally published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019.

Original Nickelodeon USA Press Release | Share the news:


“Best Year Ever” Kicks Off July 12 with “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,”
Mixed Live-Action/Animated Special Featuring Voice Cast
Playing Human Versions of Their Characters

Nick Commemorates Anniversary with New Digital Content and Innovative Partnerships
in Consumer Products, Fashion and Art

Share it: @Nickelodeon @SpongeBob @NickAnimation #SpongeBob

PASADENA, Calif.--Feb. 11, 2019--Nickelodeon is commemorating 20 years of SpongeBob SquarePants with the “Best Year Ever”—a tribute to one of the most iconic TV series and characters ever created. SpongeBob launched July 17, 1999, and has reigned as the number-one kids’ animated series on TV for the last 17 years, generating a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical and a global fan base.

The “Best Year Ever” kicks off Friday, July 12, with the premiere of “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” an original mixed live-action and animated special, and leads up to the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies theatrical, The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge, coming summer 2020.

“The tiny residents of Bikini Bottom have held the world’s attention for a remarkable 20 years and we owe it all to the monumental creator Stephen Hillenburg,” said Ramsey Naito, EVP, Animation Production and Development, Nickelodeon. “This anniversary special is a love letter to everyone in the universe of SpongeBob, from the fans across the globe to the incredible creative team, crew and talent who continue to bring these great characters to life.”

It’s SpongeBob’s birthday in “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” which features for the first time the celebrated voice talent behind SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Squidward and Plankton playing live-action doppelgänger versions of the animated characters they voice. In the one-hour special, Patrick and SpongeBob journey to the surface world, where they come across a few familiar characters during lunchtime rush at The Trusty Slab restaurant. Meanwhile, the Bikini Bottom residents set up a surprise party for SpongeBob.

Nickelodeon will also commemorate the series with: a new product line by master toy partner Alpha Group, featuring figures that showcase SpongeBob’s iconic meme moments; collaborations with lifestyle brand Cynthia Rowley for a SpongeBob wetsuit and international mixed-media artist Romero Britto; the launch of a dedicated YouTube channel and mobile game; and more.

SpongeBob SquarePants has hit a wide variety of milestones in 20 years:

  • Every four seconds, someone in the world is talking about SpongeBob on social media.
  • The franchise has garnered $13 billion in lifetime retail sales of consumer products.
  • The series is the recipient of multiple Emmy Awards: Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for Tom Kenny (2018), Outstanding Children’s Animated Series (2018), Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing (2014), and Outstanding Special Class Animated Program (2010), along with a special honor presented to Stephen Hillenburg at the 2018 Daytime Emmy Awards for his contribution and impact in the animation field.
  • SpongeBob was the first square-shaped balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade history.
  • A new species of tulip was named after SpongeBob in Holland (2010).
  • San Francisco State University discovered a new mushroom species and named it after SpongeBob (2011).
  • United States Postal Service mailboxes across the country were wrapped in a custom SpongeBob design (2013).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has “saved lives:” a Long Island girl saved her friend from choking because she learned the Heimlich from SpongeBob (2012); an Australian man lost at sea was found by a helicopter that spotted his yellow SpongeBob trunks (2012); and an entire family was saved from a sinking boat by plugging up the hole with a SpongeBob football (2007).

Highlights of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants “Best Year Ever” include:


  • This summer, Nick will premiere some of the funniest new SpongeBob episodes ever, which will put the characters in situations they’ve never been in before: SpongeBob closes the gap in his teeth and his personality changes; his dream comes true when he becomes boss for the day at The Krusty Krab; and Plankton and Karen, somehow, have a baby.

Consumer Products

  • New global master toy partner Alpha Group will debut a brand-new line of toys, collectibles, plush and novelties. The imaginative range includes: a “Masterpiece Meme” line of vinyl figures, bringing to life fan-favorite viral memes like Mocking SpongeBob, Imaginaaation SpongeBob, Surprised Patrick, SpongeGar and Handsome Squidward; and for the first-time ever, SpongeBob toys that incorporate Nickelodeon Slime. Select toys are available now on Amazon and will roll out to other retailers worldwide.
  • New categories launching in consumer packaged goods and health and beauty, including the first-ever range of SpongeBob cosmetics, as well as special-edition product.


  • The debut of an official global SpongeBob SquarePants YouTube channel, featuring the most iconic SpongeBob moments, music from the show, brand-new content, including the short-form series “Bikini Bottom Mysteries,” which explores the secrets, scandals, and unsolved mysteries of SpongeBob SquarePants, and more. Themed content added weekly will include Tuesday Tunes, Throwback Thursdays and SpongeBob Saturdays.
  • Launch of a brand-new global mobile game, which will allow fans to share SpongeBob’s experience of being a fry cook in Bikini Bottom.
  • Brand-new short-form content across YouTube, Facebook, Facebook Watch, Instagram and Twitter, celebrating fans and their favorite episodes, cast moments and more.

Art and Fashion Partnerships

  • The lifestyle brand Cynthia Rowley will feature a SpongeBob SquarePants wetsuit in their New York Fashion Week runway show on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
  • International artist Romero Britto will reimagine SpongeBob SquarePants with his trademark vibrant, bold and colorful style in a mixed media art installation that will be exhibited at pop-up SpongeBob experiences across the U.S.

SpongeBob SquarePants is currently seen in 208 countries and translated into more than 55 languages. The series is created by Stephen Hillenburg. Marc Ceccarelli and Vincent Waller serve as co-executive producers. SpongeBob SquarePants is produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank.

Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

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Update (4/22) - Via Kidscreen:

Can birthdays be big business opps for brands?

Barbie, SpongeBob and Sesame are seeing strategic opportunities in their major milestones, taking celebratory marketing beyond just cake and balloons.

The average person celebrating a birthday can expect a silly hat, a song and (hopefully) some cake. Barbie, though, is anything but average, and that’s why she’s getting a massive consumer products program on her 60th anniversary this year. And while most 15-year-olds may be mortified to spend their birthdays with their own parents—let alone someone else’s—Peppa Pig is inviting families from around the world to celebrate with her in a series of live performances and events. Sesame, meanwhile, is throwing a shindig big enough for the entire neighborhood in celebration of its 50th anniversary (talk about a Street party).

Birthdays are much more than just a chance for a sugar fix. They can be an opportunity for brands to build engagement, drive revenue, reflect on the past and even map out the future.

For kids (and kids at heart)

Nick is targeting kids and adults for Spongebob’s 20th birthday

SpongeBob SquarePants occupies a unique position in the kids space, and that’s not even taking into account the fact that he lives in a pineapple under the sea. He’s just as popular with the adults who grew up watching the animated series as he is with kids today. To tap into that dual love, Nickelodeon is commemorating 20 years of SpongeBob with a big splash on screen and in stores, designed to appeal equally to both audiences.

The year-long celebration will be bookended by new content, beginning with the premiere of mixed live-action and animated special SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout in July and ending with the launch of feature film The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a
Wonderful Sponge in summer 2020.

Nick’s master toy partner Alpha Toy Group will bow kid-focused products from its new range throughout the year, including toys, collectibles, plush, novelties and playthings that incorporate Nickelodeon’s famous slime.

SpongeBob’s popularity with the older crowd has not waned in recent years, thanks to social memes and the popularity of gifs from the series. For these big-kids-at-heart, Alpha is launching vinyl figures designed to cater to fans familiar with SpongeBob’s online popularity, with figures inspired by viral moments like Mocking SpongeBob or Surprised Patrick. Another adult-focused agreement will see fashion designer Cynthia Rowley launch a SpongeBob-themed wetsuit.

“When we’re talking to kids, obviously they’re most connected to SpongeBob through the content. So the special is all about
SpongeBob’s birthday and that will be a great moment for the core consumer on the platform,” says Charlotte Castillo, SVP of global franchise planning for Viacom Nickelodeon consumer products.

“For kids, a collaboration with Cynthia Rowley is not as relevant, but we’ll do some social and short-form [content] around SpongeBob underwater, and that is relevant for them,” she adds. “It’s about balance, and managing both messages throughout all the activations to make sure everything will impact both [kids and adult fans].”

Nickelodeon also sees anniversaries as a prime time to differentiate at retail, whether it’s something as simple as in-store signage and anniversary imagery on packaging, or a more complex full rebrand for shorter timeline categories (picture an entire apparel range inspired by SpongeBob’s birthday). Retailers are always looking for something new to pull in kids and their families, especially when a franchise has been around for 20 years and become an accepted, expected figure on retail shelves, says Castillo.

“From a retailer’s perspective, they can galvanize around an anniversary and that makes these milestone moments really important for an evergreen property like SpongeBob,” she says. “That’s our philosophy around launching and marketing and continuing to reinvigorate our properties.”

You’re invited

While Nickelodeon is taking advantage of SpongeBob’s anniversary to refresh the evergreen brand at retail, Entertainment One is using Peppa Pig’s birthday to solidify a top spot in the world of live and location-based entertainment.


Click here to read the article in full on

Update (6/2) - From License Global:

SpongeBob Celebrates the ‘Best Year Ever’

Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” is turning 20 this year, and to mark the occasion, the team is kicking off a big, big year. License Global spoke with Charlotte Castillo, senior vice president, franchise planning, Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products, about the big milestone and how the animated series has influenced a generation.

Why has ‘SpongeBob’ influenced pop culture for two decades?

Not only has he influenced kids’ television, but he has made a mark on everything from films to fashion and social media. He is a true four-quadrant evergreen franchise with an incredibly broad fan base spanning everyone from kids to adults all around the world.

Let’s discuss this year’s major milestone– ‘SpongeBob’s’ 20th.

We are focused on four main buckets for ‘SpongeBob’s’ 20th celebration–content, collaborations, experiential and product. “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” a onehour mixed live-action/animation special will premiere this summer; and Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ theatrical, The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge, will release in cinemas worldwide in summer 2020.

‘SpongeBob’s’ official YouTube channel launched this year, and a brand-new mobile game will launch in spring 2020.

On the collaborations front, we have exciting partnerships running across the art, fashion and retail worlds. Cynthia Rowley included a ‘SpongeBob’ wet suit as part of their New York Fashion Week runway show, and ‘SpongeBob’ also appeared on Fashion Week runways in Amsterdam and Israel. Pantone named official ‘SpongeBob yellow’ and ‘Patrick Star pink’ colors. Artist Romero Britto is creating a one-of-a-kind mixed media ‘SpongeBob’ piece, and Singapore artist Johnny Lau and Mexico-based Grupo Chespirito are creating unique mash-ups. More collaborations are planned.

Fans will also be able to experience ‘SpongeBob’ in real life–we have multiple pop-ups planned, we will take him to global events like San Diego Comic-Con, celebrate him in our hotels and theme parks, as well as malls and retail stores worldwide. New product across multiple categories are planned this year.

New global master toy partner Alpha Group debuted a brand-new line of toys, collectibles, plush and novelties.

How will VNCP keep ‘SpongeBob’ fresh as it moves into the future?

Our franchises are at the center of Nickelodeon’s strategy, and it is what drives our consumer products business–and ‘SpongeBob’ is our biggest franchise. ‘SpongeBob’ is unique in that its fan base is as broad as they are diverse.

Brian Robbins, president of Nickelodeon, recently talked about planning to delve deeper into ‘SpongeBob’s’ world with new stories and multiple spin-off series with various characters across multiple platforms. In consumer products, this gives our creative teams the opportunity to keep product fresh with new style guides and ideas for new product categories.


More Nick: Nickelodeon Embarks on New Direction with its Biggest, Most Wide-Ranging Content Slate Ever!

Originally published: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 3:58am GMT.
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