Craig Herman talks about the PEANUTS license in the attractions space
Craig Herman is a specialist in cross-marketing initiatives for brands and intellectual property (IP). Since 2013, as VP Global Brand Experiences & Publishing at Peanuts Worldwide LLC, he’s been using that super power to help create new adventures featuring Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Woodstock, the Kite-Eating Tree, the Big Pumpkin and the rest of The Peanut Gang.
In attractions and the LBE space, Herman’s work has helped empower many new Peanuts-themed collaborations around the world, bringing his characters, stories and themes to new platforms and audiences in a variety of exterior and interior settings. Peanuts will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2025 and the brand remains globally beloved.
Judith Rubin, InPark’s Managing Editor, interviewed Herman about Peanuts’ special appeal in attractions and to get a taste of what’s next. He will attend IAAPA Expo 2022 in Orlando to meet customers and partners.
You have been building the Peanuts IP in attractions and LBE space for 10 years now. How are these projects and partnerships born?
I work closely with a core network of developers and operators to help identify quality experience and partnerships to bring Peanuts to a wide audience. We are constantly on the lookout for exciting new attractions.
Peanuts carefully evaluates each potential project to ensure that the core of the brand is well represented, including core storytelling components, solid character portrayal, and quality family entertainment.
What’s new on the Peanuts horizon?
It’s an exciting time as we continue to build on a solid foundation of quality experiences to introduce new and existing fans to the world of Peanuts.
Last summer, Peanuts and Kilburn Media proudly opened The Search for Snoopy Hawaii – an immersive 30,000 square foot experience where guests are invited to step into the iconic world of Peanuts featuring Astronaut Snoopy, Beagle Scouts, Charlie Brown’s Neighborhood, The Great Pumpkin Patch and more. Fan engagement is key to a quality experience, and at Search for Snoopy, guests are enlisted to help Charlie Brown find Snoopy through a series of cleverly “hidden” clues in each area throughout. experience, adding an element of surprise and delight.
SLIDESHOW: Finding Snoopy: A Peanut Adventure. Courtesy of Peanuts Worldwide.
Applying the brand globally, are there particular aspects, themes or characters that resonate more than others across regions?
Snoopy leads the gang as the most recognizable character across Asia, resonating with kids and adults alike. The Asia-Pacific region is a high priority for Peanuts. In Japan, we expanded hospitality with cafes and the popular Peanut-Themed Boutique Hotel in Kobe.
Are there any new platforms you are targeting or considering for Snoopy and the Gang?
We continue to explore location-based entertainment (LBE) opportunities that provide quality family experiences. We’re keeping an eye out for opportunities to complement our premium consumer product lineup and our exclusive streaming partnership with Apple TV+.
Coming soon: Peanuts and Rockefeller Productions will open a traveling mini-golf attraction in early 2023; stay tuned for more details!
In Thailand, Peanuts has partnered with Index Creative to an immersive pop-up experience opened in July with a space travel theme, demonstrating how partners can use popular stories from the strip to create exciting interactive attractions for all ages.
The Immersive Experience Space is an exciting visual and textural medium with great potential for applying Peanuts characters to quality family experiences. As we approach our 75th anniversary in 2025, we are exploring immersive formats, as well as expanding into hospitality.
Why does the Peanuts IP lend itself so well to attractions?
Families are looking for quality experiences, and the universal appeal of Peanuts hits home across all demographics. During the pandemic, consumers have turned to Peanuts for convenience and familiarity, proving the enduring appeal of beloved characters.
Tell us about Peanuts seasonal holidays and celebrations, as well as theme park activations.
Peanuts is the perfect solution to make the holidays bright and joyful, on TV, on Broadway, in live experiences and in the parks.
For over 50 years, families have enjoyed the timeless themes of family vacation television classics, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmasand A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas, Live” the popular touring production, will again begin performances in more than 40 cities in November and include a stop in NYC on Broadway for the second consecutive year. Additionally, Marriott’s Gaylord Properties will bring back full-scale production of their ICE Experience (after a two-year pandemic hiatus) featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas to their new location in Denver in November. Centennial Mall will present the “Charlie Brown Christmas/Santa’s Village” experience in Chicago.
Cedar Fair continues to be our exclusive theme park partner in North America, and each year, their Peanuts lineup includes a host of seasonal park activations — in addition to themed lands, stage shows, and character encounters. The new Peanuts retail expansion at Cedar Point, which opened in June, was also a resounding success.
Snoopy and Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka have also had a long-standing partnership since USJ opened in 2001.
How would you describe your role in the Peanuts project process – from initial conversation/idea, through design and development, to opening day and beyond?
We are a small team, so I play a very central role in the sales process, right through to creative brainstorming, development, and through the coordination of the marketing and PR strategy for the opening. With in-depth knowledge of the story arcs of all 17,500 classic comics, my design and creative partners at Creative Associates (Schulz studio in Santa Rosa) work with the partner to develop a quality attraction that captures the essence of Peanuts. and beloved characters.
As the network of projects grows, how do you maintain quality control, brand authenticity, and relevance?
We carefully evaluate all aspects of the design process to ensure consistency and quality.
Charles Schulz covered a wide range of topics in the 50 years he wrote the comic; touching on everything from sports to space travel, a group of neighborhood kids and, of course, beloved beagle Snoopy. We often return to the Strip to implement new initiatives, such as Watch out for the peanuts which, among other things, incorporates the environmental awareness that Schulz included in the comics he wrote over 30 years ago. The world and cast of characters Schulz wrote also encapsulates the full spectrum of human emotions: optimism, anxiety, unrequited love, excitement over new opportunities, and everything in between. These moments of humanity make the brand as relevant today as when the first comic was published in 1950.
Who would you like to hear from and meet during IAAPA Expo?
I’m open to meeting potential partners in the hospitality, FEC, attractions industry but also developers who know about future projects that would be ideal for a family brand like Peanuts. Please contact by email to arrange a meeting: [email protected].