By Peter Schwartz
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When he was a kid, Carmelo Anthony couldn’t get enough of four animated brothers named Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael.
Yes, Melo was and still is a huge fan of the television show “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” The Knicks star continues to be passionate about the turtles and actually watches the new version of the show with his son, Kiyan.
Anthony’s affection for the show has led him to a partner with Nickelodeon and Macy’s in the launch of “TMNT x Melo,” a line of boys’ apparel and accessories inspired by the popular animated show.
”I grew up on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so to be able to partner on a boys’ collection with Nickelodeon and Macy’s goes beyond my wildest dreams,” Anthony said.
The “TMNT x Melo” collection will launch at all Macy’s stores and Macys.com in early May and will be available for a limited time only. The line includes apparel such as T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, pajama sets, and socks, as well as basketballs and a basketball net that hangs over a door.
But Anthony isn’t just a pitch man for the products. He collaborated with Nickelodeon in the creation of the line and then helped them pitch the collection to arguably the most famous retailer in the country.
“He was involved in the design and we went together to Macy’s,” said Pam Kaufman, Nickelodeon’s chief marketing officer and president of consumer products. “We thought Macy’s would be the perfect place to start because of the work that they are doing with celebrities.”
As far as the clothing portion of the collection is concerned, Nickelodeon is calling the line “athleisureware,” a combination of athletic apparel and clothing that someone can wear every day. It’s something that is new to the TMNT brand and Melo was more than happy to dish out the assist.
“It’s been so fun collaborating on the designs for these Ts, hoodies, shorts and more,” Anthony said. “I can’t wait for my young fans to check out ‘TMNT x Melo’ and feel the excitement I had at their age for the ‘Heroes in a Half Shell.’”
TMNT made their debut as a comic book in 1984 and that led to the development of figurines and an animated series in 1986. The property was purchased by Nickelodeon from the Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment in October 2009 for a whopping $60 million. Nickelodeon re-invented the property when they launched a new television show in 2012 as well as a whole new line of products.
TMNT turned out to be a perfect fit for Nickelodeon.
“I think the turtles are exactly what Nickelodeon is all about,” Kaufman said. “They’re four brothers, really funny, very heroic, they fight evil and they don’t do it with any kind of weapons, and they’re just an awesome bunch of characters.”
Nickelodeon has been looking for different ways to market TMNT and with this new line of products, they have been able to develop a “co-brand” involving one of the biggest names in the sports world. It also doesn’t hurt that the celebrity in this case knows and loves the product.
“What’s really exciting is that Melo is a huge fan of the turtles,” Kaufman said. “This is an organic relationship that he started.”
While the new collection is for the show’s core following of kids 6 to 11 years old, it’s appropriate that a “millennial” like Anthony that reached young adulthood right around 2000 was heavily involved in the design. It proves that the show is timeless and that you can never stop being a kid.
“Melo grew up with the show and absolutely loves it,” Kaufman said.
The “TMNT x Melo” collection is expected to be a huge success as the line certainly packs a powerful combination of star quality.
You have an iconic kids’ television show like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teaming up with one of the best basketball players on the planet in Carmelo Anthony. Combine that with the marketing power of Nickelodeon and the retail genius of Macy’s and you have a product line that has a chance to be something special.
You can follow Pete on Twitter at @pschwartzcbs. You can also follow @carmeloanthony, @NickelodeonTV, and @pam_kaufman12