Popeye the Sailor Man, one of the most iconic characters in American history, is celebrating his 95th anniversary in 2024 with a full year of events, partnerships, and promotions. King Features Syndicate, a unit of Hearst and home to some of the world’s most popular entertainment characters, is kicking off the landmark year with the inaugural National Popeye the Sailor Man Day on January 17th and the receipt of The Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem (GHNA), especially notable in that he is the first “person” to ever receive this recognition.
ICONS LEAVE A LEGACY – Popeye the Sailor Man has won the hearts of fans for decades and his values of loyalty, strength, resilience, and confidence have earned him a spot as a mainstay in American culture. On January 17th, fans of the nautical hero are invited to take part in the inaugural National Popeye the Sailor Man Day. Officially declared by the official National Day Calendar committee, National #PopeyetheSailorManDay is one of fewer than 20 new holidays that have been added to the 2024 calendar out of over 20,000 proposed additions.
ICONS EAT THEIR GREENS – Popeye’s love for spinach has influenced the public to make healthier choices when it comes to eating since the 1930s. In fact, over the years, the spinach industry has credited the beloved character with boosting sales and consumption of spinach. This year, in honor of his lifelong commitment to nutritious eating and his focus on fitness, Good Housekeeping’s Nutrition Lab has awarded Popeye The Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem, in their January/February 2024 issue. The emblem celebrates Popeye’s milestone anniversary and recognizes his decades-long commitment to healthy eating, fitness and his efforts in ocean conservation. Popeye is the first “person” to receive this honor. Good Housekeeping also published a list of easy spinach recipes that make Popeye proud.
ICONS FIGHT FOR WHAT’S RIGHT – The ocean has always served as Popeye’s home, and his passion for ocean conservation remains strong through key partnerships. In 2020, Popeye the Sailor Man joined forces with nonprofit The SeaCleaners to help fight against plastic pollution by raising awareness of the ocean clean-up organization’s conservation efforts worldwide. King Features and Popeye have leveraged numerous partnerships to support his ongoing relationship with The SeaCleaners including an in-game integration with Angry Birds Friends, which included a week-long Popeye-themed tournament in support of The SeaCleaners. Additionally, last year Hollywood heritage brand, Von Dutch, teamed up with Popeye and The SeaCleaners for a sustainably sourced, custom apparel collection supporting the fight for a pollution-free ocean. To promote the collaboration, Von Dutch hosted an influential dinner, sparking the interest of many. Popeye has been gaining traction in the eco-conscious fashion space in recent years with partners like United Colors of Benetton, NOAH, Mey, Adam, Á La Garçonne, Brava Fabrics and more.
Most recently, during World Ocean Month, World of Warships launched a limited run of Popeye themed in-game content to benefit the marine conservation and veteran’s charity organization, Force Blue. Popeye has also launched the most advanced, rewarding and sustainable boating club in the world. In partnership with Pick a Pier, the online platform that connects boaters and marinas, and Blue Flag, one of the most recognized sustainability award programs, Popeye Sail Club is now active in several European countries. Through the program, Popeye encourages boaters to commit to eco-friendly practices at sea and on shore.
“Throughout his lifetime, Popeye the Sailor Man has been a symbol of strength, protection, resilience, and hope for generations of fans worldwide,” said King Features VP/GM, Global Head of Licensing, Carla Silva. “Inception of the first-ever National Popeye the Sailor Man Day and receipt of his Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem are incredible honors that only further his legacy. And this is just the beginning! 2024 has so much more to come for our spinach eating sailor. #95YearsStrong!”
ICONS ARE ALWAYS IN STYLE – The beloved character is known not only for his love of the ocean but for his iconic style. Popeye has taken the fashion world by storm over the years, being featured in collections with some of the world’s biggest fashion brands. Longtime Popeye partner, luxury brand Iceberg, released a full Popeye-themed men’s ready-to-wear collection inspired by the sailor’s optimism and self-confidence, worldwide, supported by Fashion Week advertising in cities like New York and Milan. With later releases in collaboration with Iceberg x Trapstar. Brazilian skateboarding brand High Company executed an entire store takeover tied to the drop of their contemporary streetwear collection. High end watches continue to be popular for the brand with fresh collections from Reservoir, Franck Muller x Bamford, Undone and Vario most recently. Additional high-fashion and streetwear partnerships have included, Moschino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Joyrich, Intimissimi Uomo, Castelbajac, Moncler, Supreme, Wrogn, Lefties, HUF, Starter, A Bathing Ape, Reason, ZARA, and more.
Popeye continues to grow internationally. Just a few key deals in recent months include two from Brazil, where Popeye has released a stylish bedding collection with Artex followed by the national debut of Popeye Progressive Lager from Bodebrown brewery. This release marks the first time in history that the renown sailor man has entered the world of craft beer and includes a hint of spinach. In Chile, Hush Puppies released a limited-edition line of Popeye & Friends inspired footwear and socks starring Popeye and his friends.
In promotions, China leads the way! L’Oreal enlisted Popeye for a promotional line of men’s grooming products in celebration of the Qixi Festival, Popeye and his friends have also been in spotlight helping to celebrate the birthday of one of the largest, local malls through a fun and interactive installation paired with promotions. In Brazil, QSR Mania de Churrasco! painted the façade of its Sao Paulo storefront with an iconic image of the burger-loving Wimpy. Packaging, menus, displays and more through the restaurant are also branded with Popeye and his friends. And in the U.S., ToYou Snacks has made Popeye the ambassador for its healthy snack bars.
And fans worldwide can’t seem to get enough of Popeye collectibles. In the U.S., Boss Fight Studios and YouTooz dropped new collectible figures, while Jade City Foods released lines of Popeye hot sauces and coffees. And out of China, two new building block sets starring the salty sailor were released by Guangdong Pinqi and Linkgo Toys Industrial Co.
Publishing and entertainment are also on the horizon for our spinach lover, with a new manga style comic book series titled “Eye Lie Popeye” currently in development, having debuted its first issue last year online, and Clover Press hosted a Kickstarter campaign to support creation of a new Popeye art book. Fans can also read Popeye’s new comic adventures weekly at ComicsKingdom.com.
ICONS YAM WHAT THEY YAM – Popeye made his first public appearance on the comics pages on January 17th, 1929, in Elzie Segar’s then 10-year-old comic strip, Thimble Theatre. Since then, Popeye’s iconic imagery and resilient spirit have influenced the worlds of nutrition, fitness, ocean conservation, sustainability, fashion, and pop culture globally. Over the decades Popeye has influenced every category of merchandise and entertainment, including arcade games, video games, motion pictures and series on TV and radio. Other iconic moments include turning the Empire State Building in New York City green in celebration of his love for spinach in 2004, and a legacy Popeye magazine in Japan, which has grown to include four separate titles honoring Popeye, Brutus and Olive Oyl.
Additional partnerships and collaborations for Popeye’s 95th anniversary will be announced throughout the year, offering fans around the world many ways to celebrate the iconic Sailor Man. You can find more information on Popeye, including recent news and a timeline of his greatest moments over the last 95 years, at www.Popeye.com.