Support Marketplace

He's fighting on the planet's side

Captain Planet and the Planeteers

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: We're set to hear today about earnings from Clean Energy Fuels, the largest provider of vehicle natural gas in North America. Natural gas, much cleaner burning fuel and it's in higher demand. That means many green companies are managing to get through this fallout. Now one company says it's the right time to bring back a superhero who pioneered an environmental message two decades ago. Here's Marketplace's Jennifer Collins.


Jennifer Collins: If the green message had a salesman, it would be this guy:

Captain Planet Song: Captain Planet, he's our hero . . .

Captain Planet was the number one animated kids show in the early 90's. It chronicled the adventures of five eco-conscious kids -- the Planeteers -- and their mullet-sporting mascot.

Now, the environmental Web site, Mother Nature Network, has acquired the rights to bring the show back online. And like any superhero, Captain Planet brings with him a pile of merchandise.

Barbara Pyle: We have these fabulous solar-powered flashlights.

Barbara Pyle was the show's executive producer.

Pyle: And these really cool water totes. There's even action figures.

Pyle says Captain Planet still has a loyal fan base among people in their 20's. A Facebook page for the superhero now has 180,000 fans.

But consumer researcher Kit Yarrow says don't expect those fans to stick around forever:

Kit Yarrow: It's more of an icon for people in their 20's, but it's not like -- you know, unless they're stoned -- it's not like people in their 20's are going to watch cartoons endlessly.

Yarrow says the show needs to build fans among the kids of today. Marketing experts say there is a precedent for this kind thing. Look at Schoolhouse Rock -- the franchise enjoys a near-permanent spot on Billboard's list of best-selling children's videos.

Pyle says the Captain has plenty of marketing potential:

Pyle: Captain Planet is a pitchmeister, and he could be a good spokesperson for a lot of things.

As luck would have it, Captain Planet already has a catchy theme song:

Captain Planet song: Captain Planet, he's our hero, gonna take pollution down to zero. He's our powers magnified, and he's fighting on the planet's side.

Pyle hopes to being the big publicity push on April 22. Earth Day

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...