Nickelodeon is presenting at Toy Fair three new favorites: THE BACKYARDIGANS and GO, DIEGO, GO! for preschoolers and AVATAR, THE LAST AIRBENDER for kids 6-11. These properties join two of the network's most successful franchises: DORA THE EXPLORER and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, with fun product for every kid.
"Nickelodeon has had a consistent roster of hit toy properties because our shows feature unique characters with great storylines that resonate with kids," said Leigh Anne Brodsky, president, Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products. "Research told us that kids have embraced THE BACKYARDIGANS, GO, DIEGO, GO! and AVATAR and we're excited to offer kids new playthings that spark imagination, creativity and fun in their lives," she said. Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products operates the third-largest licensing agency in the world with $5 billion in retail sales in 2005. The department handles the merchandising for Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTVN International and Spike TV.
GO, DIEGO, GO! is a spin-off of DORA THE EXPLORER and joins DORA as one of the top-two rated preschool shows on commercial TV. Eight-year-old Diego is a bilingual animal rescuer and nature expert who has the ability to talk to animals. The show is flavored with Spanish words, Latin American music, folktales and traditions. A complete line of action/adventure toys that come complete with an animal figure and corresponding educational fact card will be available this fall from Fisher-Price.
THE BACKYARDIGANS is an animated musical adventure series about five high-spirited preschool friends who take epic, imagination-fueled adventures by transforming their backyards into fantastical places like ancient Egypt or the high seas. Each episode, richly animated with bright, primary colors, features a variety of songs from different genres (swing, reggae, funk, etc.) accompanied by real choreographed movements from the Alvin Alley dance troupe that are recreated in animation. A complete line of toys will be available this fall from Fisher-Price. There will also be activity and craft kits from Jakks Pacific.
AVATAR, THE LAST AIRBENDER, premiered in February 2005, and has grown to be one of the most popular shows for kids 6-11, as well as avid animation fans of all ages. Asian-inspired, Avatar is an epic story that follows the story of Aang, a 12-year-old boy torn between fulfilling his fate as the long-awaited Avatar and just wanting to be a regular kid. Using skilled "bending" moves inspired and choreographed by actual martial arts experts, Aang is called upon to lead the fight against the vicious Fire Nation to restore balance in his war-torn world.
AVATAR already has 25 licensees, including Upper Deck, which recently launched a trading card game featuring new Quick Play technology. At Toy Fair, Mattel introduces a complete line of highly unique action/adventure toys that encourage role-play, include Aang's Battle Staff as well as the Air Launch Aang with Appa, the giant two-ton flying bison. Also related to the current role-play trend are boy's dress-up sets from Disguise, which take advantage of Avatar's costuming and props. LEGO is launching a range of creative Avatar-themed construction sets.
Nickelodeon's new properties take their place alongside the hugely successful DORA THE EXPLORER and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS franchises, which continue to rank as two of the most popular properties of all time for kids 2-11.
In 2006, new DORA products at Toy Fair from Fisher-Price include Dora's Talking Castle and Fairy Wishes Dora. Dora's Talking Castle follows the best-selling Talking Dollhouse and Talking Kitchen by offering preschoolers a playset that comes to life with the wave of a magic wand. Fairy Wishes Dora comes alive with a life-like face that delights girls when she changes facial expressions throughout playtime. Also available is the life-sized, Dora's Adventure Playhouse from Little Tikes, filled with interactive elements.
New for SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS is the Bad Breath Blaster SpongeBob, from Fisher-Price. Kids get to gross out their friends with a toy that comes with assorted stinky breath pellets including: onion/garlic, fish, rotten eggs and smelly socks. Inspired by the famous SPONGEBOB "Something Smells" episode a uniquely repulsive scent is released into the air with a simple pull of the blaster. New from Hasbro Games is SpongeBob SquarePants Monopoly, which features spectacular lenticular packaging. Also new are inventive construction sets from LEGO, including the amazing Build-a-Bob set, where kids can build their very own SpongeBob.
Licensees presenting Nickelodeon licensed products during Toy Fair also include: Ah-Ha! Toys Inc., Big Time Toys, Cycle Express, Crayola, Disquise, Emerson, Franklin Sports, Gemmy Industries, KiddieLand, Kidz Craze. Little Kids, Little Tikes, Moose Mountain, Play-Doh, Playhut, Spin Master, Ty, Upper Deck, Vtech and What Kids Want.
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products also debuts a new line of HOLLY HOBBIE & FRIENDS fashion dolls, playsets and accessories from Mattel Inc at Toy Fair.
Holly Hobbie, the American Greeeting's property who first charmed little girls and moms with her homespun appeal some 30 years ago, has been updated to inspire a whole new generation of kids. Holly Hobbie is the first non-network based property to be represented by Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products.
New HOLLY HOBBIE & FRIENDS toys from Mattel bring introduced at Toy Fair include doll assortments featuring Holly and her best friends Amy Morris and Carrie Baker, which encourage creative play with activity accessories like beads and sequined stickers. There are also additional fashion assortments for girls to update their doll's look and style. Holly is a pet lover so the line includes pet assortments featuring her friends Doodles, Cheddar and Bonnet. There is also a toy-sized Holly Hobbie & Friends Clubhouse featuring two floors of fun, amazing details and an old time snow cone maker.
The launch of the toy line this fall will be preceded by a DVD, HOLLY HOBBIE & FRIENDS-SURPRISE PARTY the first in a series that will introduce kids to the Holly Hobbie & Friends storyline. With its theme song, Twinkle in Her Eye" sung by Grammy-winning recording artist LeAnn Rimes, the "Surprise Party" DVD introduces kids to Holly, Amy and Carrie who spend summers together in the cozy town of Clover and experience all of the key milestones and joys of 10-year-old girls. Holly is the great, great granddaughter of the "original Holly Hobbie and feels a deep sense of connection to her personality and creativity. Holly even looks like her famous relative, but has a strong fashion sense that's all her own. She wears boots and a signature cap complete with a touch of gingham.
The DVD will be available in stores March 7 from Nickelodeon Home Ent. and Paramount Home Ent.
"We're excited that Mattel captured Holly Hobbie's optimistic and charming nature with a great assortment of fun toys for girls that are inspired by friendship, family and positive themes," said Brodsky. "We know a growing number of moms will appreciate the age-appropriate nature of the brand and girls will love the engaging personalities of Holly and her friends," she said.