Nancy Lees

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Articles by Nancy Lees

Holographic tech takes one step closer to real life

Special effects company Entertainment Arts recently licensed the technology for a proprietary holographic projector that can transmit 3-D images into any empty space it’s aimed at, freeing viewers from having to be in the vicinity of a screen. Based out of Emerson, New Jersey, EA will be pursuing commercial applications now that it has picked up a five-year license from the technology’s Findlay, Ohio-based developer ATL Corporation. EA initially plans to target entertainment companies, marketers and ad agencies, along with event producers, movie theaters, museums and manufacturers interested in creating a unique in-store presence for their products.
EA signed a deal to work with Toronto, Canada-based companies Talon Retail Strategies Group and TV Boards on adding holographic technology to POP displays. Brown adds the company is in discussions with several marketers and ad agencies, including New York’s Saatchi & Saatchi, about potential projects. Although EA will take on custom jobs, there are currently three stock projector sizes available – from a 17×19-inch model that projects a foot-high image, to an 8×10-foot box that broadcasts life-size characters. EA president and CEO Eric Brown sees shopping malls as natural venues for featuring holographic projections – adding that the box could be discreetly buried inside a wall.
Courtesy of our sister publication Kidscreen, October


NBM’s new tween imprint to manga-fy mystery mavens

NBM Publishing, one of the oldest graphic novel publishers in the U.S., is going after the lucrative tween market with a new imprint called Papercutz. Under the guidance of editor-in-chief Jim Salicrup (a comic veteran who’s worked at Topps and Marvel), the division will start off by modernizing Simon & Schuster’s classic literary sleuths Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in two manga-inspired comic book series. The first issues will roll out in November, with new titles to follow each month.
Papercutz is also working on 96-page pocket-sized graphic novels for the brands that will hit retail in February (US$7.95). In their lead-off comic The Ocean of Osyria, the Hardy Boys have to return a priceless artifact to a Middle-Eastern museum, while Nancy Drew stars in a horror film about a spooky urban legend in The Demon of River Heights. Simon & Schuster recently revamped its Nancy Drew novel line, and the first new title quickly landed on the New York Times bestseller list following its March release.
Courtesy of our sister publication Kidscreen, October Issue


When brand integration goes right

Mining a rather unusual source of inspiration, Mattel has turned to reality TV for its latest new concept. The El Segundo, Calif.-based toy manufacturer was recently featured on Donald Trump’s TV vehicle The Apprentice (Mark Burnett Productions), and the design team came away from the experience with a brand-new R/C line called Morph Machines that was dreamed up and developed by a competing team of entrepreneurs.
The range is comprised of four cars and trucks that have customizable, interchangeable parts. They’re designed to be smashed up and put back together again with new features like big-blown engines and pick-up beds. The Morph Machines line hits shelves in February 2005, with each SKU retailing for about US$30. Packaging will be co-branded with both the Tyco and The Apprentice logos.
The toyco wasn’t expecting to get a new toy out of the deal, just some excellent publicity for its design team. But since the winning team’s idea was such a good fit for the Tyco brand, the company tested the line with another kid focus group after the show’s taping and found it was still a hit with boys.
And they said you couldn’t measure product placement ROI… Next we’d like to see the Jacuzzi suit from the Simpson’s hit the market.
Courtesy of our sister publication Kidscreen, October Issue