Toy Fair 2000: Keep Those Toons Comin'!

by Joseph Szadkowski

Merchandise featuring the mugs of The Powerpuff Girls are already popping off shelves at toy stores across the U.S. © 2000 Jacquie Kubin.

Toy Fair 2000 bombarded buyers with 5-days of non-stop showroom tours featuring the latest and greatest in gadgets, games and action figures. Considering 40 percent of all toys sold are from licensed products, according to the Toy Manufacturers of America, a slew of animated properties could supersonically propel this year's toy sales figures, much like the Powerpuff Girls' formula X. The current cartoon resurgence brings an enormous market to the lucrative licensing game.

"We believe in the characters and feel what Cartoon Network is doing makes sense in that they are developing programming that combines new and classic cartoons to attract an all ages audience," said DeWayne Booker, Senior Vice President, marketing of Trendmasters, Inc. "The shows impact the toys in that, while they would be interesting without the cartoon, they would not be as powerful."

Cartoon Network is banking on the popularity of their licensed brand to conjure up great merchandising sales. © 2000 Jacquie Kubin.

Citing The Powerpuff Girls as an example, Mr. Booker noted that Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles are empowering to the girl audience, while also being entertaining to boys, adults and teens. "Powerpuff Girls combines girl characters in a boy style play pattern and gives them a new play lexicon. The play pattern of going out to save the day is great and works perfect for the toys. And without the television supporting that it is neat to be like Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles, launch of this toy could be slow. The Cartoon Network and the show bring the line forward much faster."

Here's a peek at what fans of television and movie animation will enjoy with the newest three dimensional versions of popular characters.

For 2000, Bandai will continue to create toys based on the Power Rangers’ franchise while releasing Digimon characters based on the Fox Kids Network’s Digimon: Digital Monsters. The Action Feature Digimon will feature characters such as Biyomon, Gomamon, Lillymom and Zudomon ($2.99 each).

Also part of the Fox Kids Network, Dinozaurs will have its own Bandai toy line. Action Feature Dinozaurs ($5.99 each) will each have their own actions and weapon. For example, Dino T-Rex has a sword-slashing action and Dino Stego has a skeletal saw action.

Dinozaurs Transformers are metallic colored figures that change from dinosaur to battle mode. The good Dinozaurs include Dino Saber, a saber tiger with thrasher whip, while Drago Tigra and Drago Dactyl are the bad guys ($4.99 each).

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