Big Idea Productions, creators of the made-for-video series VEGGIETALES, has teamed up with Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, for a chain-wide promotion of VEGGIETALES apparel, toys, videos, audio CDs and fabric. During April, more than 2,700 Wal-Mart stores across the United States will feature VeggieTales signage and merchandise. Shari Martin, executive director of licensing and consumer products for Big Idea Productions, said, "We are so excited to participate in this promotion with Wal-Mart, which clearly demonstrates how VEGGIETALES' popularity is exploding across the country.
Disney has signed a new licensing deal with Coca-Cola to place Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters on a new line of juices. No financial terms have been released for this 15-year marketing deal. However, Disney will receive royalty payments for Coke's use of all Disney characters on packages, in-store promotions and advertising. The first drinks, "Mickey's X-treme Coolers" and "Pooh's 100 Acre Wood Apple-Berry," will be sold in supermarkets in single-serve boxes and multi-serve plastic bottles.
Sesame Workshop and Sony Pictures Family Entertainment have inked two big licensing deals for their PBS series DRAGON TALES. Kellogg USA has renewed its sponsorship of the series. Kellogg will be a strong presence in the advertising and marketing of the show, including positioning in the English and Spanish editions of SESAME STREET magazine and a link swap between Kellogg, Sesame Workshop and PBS' DRAGON TALES Websites.
The Walt Disney Co. has inked a deal with Japan's second-largest toy maker, Tomy Co. Ltd., to market, produce and distribute its toys and games in Japan. The exclusive deal does allow Tomy to sublicense certain products to other toy producers. The pact takes affect in April 2001. "This agreement completes a restructuring of our toy business that we began in September, when we established licensing arrangements with Hasbro and Mattel," said Andy Mooney, president of Disney Consumer Products Worldwide.
Fox Licensing and Merchandising will unveil a whole slate of new SIMPSONS inspired products at Toy Fair in February. Fox has struck a deal with USAopoly to turn the town of Springfield into the classic Monopoly game. Instead of coveting Boardwalk game players will seek out the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. This new Monopoly take off comes after the release of the hot SIMPSONS "Clue" game, which is selling out at various stores around the U.S. Six new Playmate interactive figures will be released including Sunday Best Homer, Moe, Nelson, Milhouse and Kamp Krusty Bart.
To blur the lines even more between marketing adult themes to children, the animated characters from SOUTH PARK will be appearing on condoms. Comedy Central has signed a deal with the U.K.-based Licensing Company to provide the faces of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny and Chef for Condomania prophylactics. The condoms will only be available in the U.K. for about US$20.
Disney has decided to divide its toy merchandising between rivals Hasbro and Mattel. Disney has had a long licensing relationship with Mattel, which now will only handle their preschool and plush toys, dolls, games and puzzles. Hasbro will handle the more lucrative toys, action figures and games portion of Walt Disney products.
ToyFare, a leading magazine about action figure collectibles, has put together a list of the best individual action figures of all-time. The October 2000 issue, on sale August 29, awarded 5 spots to Hasbro, with McFarlane Toys coming in second with 4 entries. "The list covers three decades of action figures," said editor Douglas Goldstein.
Europes top selling toy ACTION MAN has made it to American shelves. The entire Hasbro ACTION MAN toy line brings in US$300 million a year overseas and $1 billion in brand sales over the last five years. Various extreme sport versions of Action Man have hit the shelves along with his arch nemesis Dr. X. The figures range from $7.99 to $29.99. "Action Man has been huge overseas," said Perry Drosos, VP of U.S. marketing for ACTION MAN. "In fact, it has been the top-selling action figure line in Europe for several years. Right now, 80% of boys ages four to ten in the U.K.
MR Kinowelt Merchandising has nabbed the German-language merchandising rights to the highly anticipated fantasy trilogy THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The financial stats on the deal with New Line Cinema were not released. MR Kinowelt is made up of a joint venture between German indie distributor Kinowelt and MR Merchandising & Retail. The deal marks the first RINGS merchandising deal outside the States. The first film in the trilogy is scheduled to arrive in movie houses December 2001. Kinowelt is handling the release of all three pictures in Germany.
Disney has signed a new multiyear book licensing deal with Random House Inc. which sees the end to its 70-year relationship with Golden Books Family Entertainment. The golden spined children's books, which have graced the shelves of bookstores to grocery markets, will no longer feature Disney characters. The decision to sign with Random House came after the terms of their deal with Golden Books were not profitable. The financial terms of the five-year deal were not disclosed due to competitive reasons.
Mattel, Inc. has signed a new multiyear worldwide licensing pact with Nickelodeon to renew and expand its current toy license agreement. The deal will include toy categories such as action figures, dolls, plush toys, games, handheld games, puzzles, and infant and preschool products. Mattel now controls all properties from Nickelodeon's children's television programming services, as well as Nickelodeon's motion pictures division, Nickelodeon Movies. As part of the deal, Mattel will be the international toy licensee for Nickelodeon's RUGRATS and BLUE'S CLUES in more than 30 countries.
Hasbro has signed a multi-year deal with HIT Entertainment for the licensing rights to their successful toon, BOB THE BUILDER. The current BBC series is scheduled to debut on Nick Jr. sometime next year. BOB garners 52% of the pre-school audience in the U.K. for its time period. Last holiday season the toys based on the series sold out in the U.K. Hasbro hopes that the series will build the same kind of fan base in the States as other foreign imports have done recently. Currently, Mainframe is producing a series called ACTION MAN based off Hasbro's British toy line of the same name.
Rhino is releasing the action stuffed soundtrack to the POWERPUFF GIRLS. On July 18, 2000, "Heroes and Villains" will hit shelves with music performed by top alternative artists. Songs from the series and inspired by the Powerpuff Girls will be featured on the album. Artists such as David Byrne, Devo, Frank Black, Shonen Knife, Apples In Stereo, Optiganally Yours, Kormeda, Cornelius, The Sugarplastic, Dressy Bessy and Bis will be featured. Series creator Craig McCracken set out to find bands that inspire him to participate on the compilation.
The Harvey Entertainment Company and Felix the Cat Productions have come to a new corporate agreement to bring Harvey characters to Latin America. Harvey Entertainment has appointed Felix the Cat Productions, Inc. as their exclusive licensing agent for Latin America. In turn, Donald Oriolo, president & CEO of Felix the Cat Productions, and the other heirs of Casper creator Joseph Oriolo have turned over to Harvey all rights and claims to the trademarks and copyrights of the Casper character.
London-based publisher Dorling Kindersley has lost US$40 million on the book adaptation of STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE. The educational and CD-Rom publisher had 13 million of the STAR WARS books printed for last holiday season and sold fewer than 3 million copies. After the initial news was released earlier this year, shares plummeted 40% and CEO James Middlehurst resigned. Chairman and 30% shareholder Peter Kindersley has taken over the head position. An unnamed worker told the LONDON DAILY EXPRESS that founder Kindersley has "fallen victim to a terrible error of judgment." Mr.
Wolfmill Entertainment has signed a worldwide licensing deal with Living Toyz for a line of action figures based on Wolfmill's upcoming CGI animated feature film ELFQUEST. The fantasy-action film follows the journey of Cutter, a young elven chief, and his tribe across a hostile world to find a safe refuge. Before the theatrical release of ELFQUEST, Los Angeles-based Living Toyz will produce several sets of action figures based on the original ELFQUEST comic book designs by Warp Graphics.
Burger King, a leading hamburger chain, has decided to back RUGRATS IN
PARIS with a licensing campaign to coincide with the film's Thanksgiving
release. Burger joint cross promotion of films released in the holiday
season means big money for both parties. Burger King opted to work out a
deal with the Nickelodeon/Paramount sequel to RUGRATS: THE MOVIE, which it
backed in 1998, instead of DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS,
starring Jim Carrey. Insiders say Burger King may drop US$20 million into
The Harvey Entertainment Company and PG Capital, an apparel industry
investment company, have finalized a joint venture for a new apparel
company, Harvey Fashion LLC. The new company will be responsible for
manufacturing, selling and marketing a complete apparel collection, based
on the popular Harvey Classic Character library. Paul Guez will serve as
chairman of the board and CEO. The creation of Harvey Fashion LLC replaces
and extends the scope of an earlier Harvey apparel venture planned with
On Wednesday, December 26, 2000, a second child was reported to have
suffocated on Burger King's promotional POKEMON ball. The 4-month old,
Indianapolis, Indiana boy was found dead by his grandmother who left the
toy in the crib with the sleeping child. Millions of the toys were recalled
on December 11, 1999 after a Sonora, California girl was found in her
playpen with half the ball over her nose and mouth. U.S. federal officials
accused the Miami-based fast food chain of being too slow in recalling the
Cartoon Network, featured on Poland's Wizja TV, is the #1 rated channel on
the programming package and now Cartoon Network Magazine rules the
newsstand. The first issue sold over 500,000 copies making it the top
magazine in Poland. In just three days, the magazine sold out and
publishers ordered an immediate reprint. The Polish version of the mag with
comic strips, quizzes, posters and articles featuring Cartoon Net's legion
of toon heroes and heroines is based off the British version and is the
Is Pikachu anti-Semitic? The answer is no, even after questions to thecontrary circled when parents complained of a swastika-like symbolappearing on the Japanese language cards for Pokemon's Golbat and Ditto.These two cards, not yet released in the U.S. card collection, include aJapanese symbol called a "manji," which is a mirror image of a swastika.The symbol, however, is a centuries-old, Japanese symbol for good fortune.Not wanting to create any bad financial karma, Nintendo has announced thatit will discontinue the questionable cards.
In continued coverage of the war to empty the pockets of the POKEMONpeople, Bandai America Incorporated, the company responsible for the PowerRangers and Tamogotchi virtual pets, unveiled a new line of toys based onthe POKEMON-like DIGIMON: DIGITAL MONSTERS, at an event held at FAO Schwarzin New York. Since the debut of the TV series in August on Fox Kids,DIGIMON has become the #1 ranked show in its time period among allcompetition with Boys 6-11. Kids can also visit the DIGIMON Web site which
The war between TOY STORY and POKEMON over kids' piggy bank change hasmoved to a new battle field -- the local burger joint! McDonald's Corp.,the U.S.-based, world-wide burger chain, has released TOY STORY 2 toys inconnection with the recently released film. The McDonald's promotion,featuring a collection of 20 different characters from the TOY STORY 2movie, will be distributed with each Happy Meal purchase. The chain willalso offer six TOY STORY 2-themed candy dispensers for $1.99 each with the
Toronto-based toy maker Spin Master Toys has been awarded the master toy license by Venture Licensing of Canada and The Jim Henson Company to produce toys for the preschool children's television show JIM HENSON'S THE HOOBS. The agreement provides Spin Master the licensing rights to produce toys based on the five main characters: Iver, Tula, Groove, Roma and Hubba Bubba. JIM HENSON'S THE HOOBS is an innovative program mixing puppetry, animation and live-action. The program launched on the U.K.'s Channel 4 in January 2001 and currently airs in Canada on TVOntario.