When collectibles manufacturer Factory Entertainment shows up at San Diego Comic-Con next week, it will have more on its mind than selling “cool stuff.”
In addition to its normal array of convention exclusive products based on prominent pop culture brands and personalities like Batman, Superman, Game of Thrones and Stan Lee, Factory Entertainment will be using this year’s San Diego Comic-Con to launch a unique fan-based fund-raising drive to support breast cancer research and education.
“I’ve been coming to San Diego Comic-Con for over a decade,” says Factory Entertainment CEO Jordan Schwartz, “And it’s pretty clear to me from meeting and talking to fans that they are a big hearted lot who care about more than just having a good time.” That’s confirmed, for example, by the success of San Diego Comic-Con’s annual blood drive, which collected over 1400 pints of blood in past years. “While we donate products to support the blood drive every year,” says Mr. Schwartz. “We thought that there was also an opportunity for individual exhibitors, even small companies like ours, to use the platform and power of Comic-Con to do something charitable.”
Factory Entertainment’s business consists of making licensed toys and collectibles, which meant finding an appropriate tie-in between one of the licenses in its portfolio and a worthy charity. One of Factory Entertainment’s most popular licenses is Archer, the edgy TV-MA animated spy spoof that airs on the FX network and that will be beginning its sixth season in early 2015. While reviewing possible charitable tie-ins, Mr. Schwartz recalled that, in an episode of the Archer’s second season, the protagonist, super spy Sterling Archer, learns that he has Stage 2 breast cancer. Although his cancer goes into remission in a later episode, the cancer episodes were noteworthy for adding a poignant twist to an animated comedy, as Archer (briefly) realizes, in facing his mortality, what a self-absorbed jerk he normally is.
Enter the dolphin. One of Archer’s most popular characters is Pam Poovey, the human resources director of the spy agency for which Archer works. Pam is beloved by Archer fans for, among other things, the dolphin puppet she uses to conduct HR mediations. So popular is Pam’s dolphin puppet, in fact, that a replica puppet in the blue color seen in the show’s first season (in later seasons it’s gray), which Factory Entertainment produced as a Comic-Con exclusive last year, was an instant sell-out.
So it seemed to Mr. Schwartz, whose own mother died of cancer at age 46 and for whom this project is deeply personal, only natural to return to the dolphin puppet again and this time to make it in a color not actually featured in the show but with a special significance in the world of cancer fund-raising. Accordingly, when San Diego Comic-Con 2014 starts on Thursday, July 24, attendees will be the first to have an opportunity to buy a special pink dolphin puppet, the profits from which will be shared with Susan G. Komen For The Cure, a leading organization supporting breast cancer research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 30 countries and Pink Ribbon Story Foundation, whose mission is to empower women with breast cancer to share their stories, helping themselves and others learn from their unique experiences, and to be better advocates for their treatment and recovery. The pink dolphins will be available at Factory Entertainment’s Comic-Con booth (#2747) or, for those who want to participate in the fundraiser but aren’t coming to Comic Con, through its website, www.factoryent.com.
Says Mr. Schwartz, “I hope that not only Archer fans, but also the members of the Comic-Con community in general, will seize the opportunity to pick up a limited edition collectible that both reminds them of their time in San Diego and contributes to the fight against breast cancer. Nothing would make me happier than to have the Archer cast and creators look out from their panel on Friday and be greeted by a sea of pink.”
Source: Factory Entertainment