Fans of YouTube’s most favorite anthropomorphic fruit with a penchant for puns will be able to catch his kitchen antics on television screens sometime in the first half of 2012.
Cartoon Network picked up a 15-episode order of The Annoying Orange TV series from creator Dane Boedigheimer and “full-service entertainment management, media and content production company” The Collective back in November. As Boedigheimer told us, ““Basically the plan is to really take advantage of TV’s longer format and expand the AO world way beyond what it is on YouTube…really dive into the characters and their personalities.”
But television and Cartoon Network aren’t the only places to which The Annoying Orange is expanding. You can currently find the irritating little guy in your local neighborhood Toys “R” Us and JCPenney.
The Collective teamed up with toymaker The Bridge Direct (the same company that makes miniature likenesses of Justin Bieber, complete with his contemporary hair style) to produce a line of kitschy and cool products including talking plushes, clip-ons, and collectible figures based on Orange and the entire Kitchen Crew (of Pear, Midget Apple, Grandpa Lemon, Marshmallow, and Passion Fruit).
While Toys “R” Us is selling Annoying Orange playthings, JCPenney, Shopko, and Rue 21 are taking care of the wearables. The Collective partnered with the trio of brick and mortar and online clothing retailers for a handful of Annoying Orange short-sleeved cotton crewnecks featuring “classic jokes and themes from the popular series.”
Branded products from popular web series certainly isn’t a navel idea (get it?!), but this is the first time we’ve seen those branded products sold by stores with nationwide footprints and household names. Here’s Michael Green, CEO and Founder of The Collective, on how the initiatives came to be:
We firmly believe that properties that have scale online will also have major appeal beyond the web. We currently have a stand alone, fully scaled business online for The Annoying Orange and our partnership with Cartoon Network will just provide another layer of exposure.
This is why we made the deliberate decision to execute a merchandising program now with first-rate partners like Toys “R” Us, JCPenney, and toymaker The Bridge. We could have waited until the television show debuted, but with the incredible momentum of the YouTube show and our retail partners embracing the new products, it’s clear that we made the right decision in taking The Annoying Orange into stores in time for the holiday season.