Anyone who has spent even a brief time observing what characters are popular with kids in 2014 has to admit that Minecraft, even though its “characters” are mostly the creations of its players, has spawned industries both inside and outside the game that are nothing short of spectacular.
Any creative product always gives rise to stories, and it is not surprising to find that Minecraft is no different. There are books being written about original characters in the game world, and both the game’s trademarks and worlds are finding themselves dramatically successful in many merchandise categories including custom t shirts.
Not far behind Minecraft is Disney’s ubiquitous Frozen film characters, sure to be a hit with every girl who has seen (and re-seen) the film. Disney characters have never been rare on merchandise, and now with streaming video and web-based games to promote them, the Frozen characters are likely to only become more popular.
Animated films usually produce recognizable characters, but lately live action has found its way into the merchandise market because of the resurgent popularity of Marvel and DC comic book heroes. It was only fifteen years ago that Marvel was facing bankruptcy. Now after an incredible series of successful films, characters like Iron Man, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk appear on custom t shirts Canada the United States, Australia and the UK can market quite effectively. This T-shirt category exists alongside the billion-dollar Spider-Man franchise, which has dominated the apparel market internationally for going on sixty years.
Then there are the unlikely features like the Lego Movie characters, popular because of the break out hit Lego film earlier in the summer, and the Despicable Me minions, which are probably the most trademark-friendly characters to come out of Hollywood since the earliest Pixar features in the mid 1990s.
Rounding out the list are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which had been on relative hiatus since the success of the films in the early 1990s, but which have since re-appeared on the merchandising scene with a vengeance. The Turtles have always been a solid contender in the apparel market, mainly because of the “toyetic” appeal of the characters themselves and the opportunities licensees have found combining licensed toy sales with promotions in which apparel is offered alongside. The results have been historic by all accounts, as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have firmly established themselves in a very competitive market.
Photo by David Kelly