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Research Article Open Access

The Brand and the Bold: Synergy and Sidekicks in Licensed-based Children's Television

Abstract

This paper examines the animated program Batman: The Brave and the Bold (BB&B), debuting in 2008 on the US cable television Cartoon Network, and related licensing as products of mediated corporate synergy. The program integrates various Time Warner subsidiaries and licensing partners to create a coordinated universe of characters with particular ideological implications for branded character relationships, commodity play, and gender norms. Explored are two elements of BB&B: the number and type of guest heroes and villains on the program and in subsidiary licenses, and the role of Batman in the narrative world of BB&B. By emphasizing the necessary pairing of large numbers of mostly younger male guest heroes with the older Batman, the brand encourages a “completist” approach toward consumption and a masculine style of play. Implications for the future of children’s entertainment in a world of corporate media are discussed.

Zachary Roman, Matthew P. McAllister

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