MTV Networks is celebrating Dora the Explorer’s 10th anniversary with a slew of global initiatives. Nickelodeon's plans for the bi-lingual preschool character, include four television specials, a documentary on the preschool phenomenon and new online content for preschoolers and their parents.
In the U.S., Nickelodeon Consumer Products has launched the Beyond the Backpack campaign to raise money for the Children's Defense Fund, which helps prepare preschoolers for school. Beyond the Backpack features a fundraising auction of limited-edition backpacks designed by celebrities including Salma Hayek Pinault, Faith Hill, Eva Longora Parker, Heidi Klum and Shakira. There also is a limited quantity of each backpack available for auction in countries that include France, the U.K., Canada, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. Proceeds raised will fund various childhood education projects in each respective country. Other elements of the charity campaign in the U.S. include financial grants, a dedicated website with downloadable toolkits for parents and teachers and community activities. Dora the Explorer’s consumer products program is supported by the global umbrella campaign, Explorers Wanted, which will continue to be the theme through 2012.
In France, where Dora the Explorer is NCP’s key property, there will be promotional tie-ins with special television events including “Puppy Love” this month, “Big Birthday Adventure” next month and “Dora Christmas Carol” in December. This fall, the 153-store retailer La Grande Récré is offering a giveaway of a Dora the Explorer mini magazine in a campaign also supported by licensees Fisher Price and Spel. Also early this fall, Dora the Explorer is among a number of properties being promoted in five major shopping malls in Paris, where episodes of the series will be shown and character meet and greets will take place in dedicated Nickelodeon Junior areas. Nickelodeon in France also has set up a special Explorers Wanted destination on iTunes.
U.K. and Irish toy retailer Smyths is also signed up for a Big Birthday tentpole campaign together with a competition and further advertising this month. Smith & Brooks has renewed its successful outerwear deal on the hit preschool property. Dora the Explorer activity in the U.K. is also focused on the Explorers Wanted style guide. It includes a deal for wall murals with Walltastic, which has the biggest U.K. market share in the category and with Paper Projects for stickers.NCP in the U.K. has also signed health and beauty sector deals with Oscar & Dehn and with Off Beat Co., the latter for sun cream.
In South Africa, NCP has signed deals covering luggage and toys. Sportsmart, one of South Africa’s leading luggage suppliers, has signed for a range aimed at girls ages 2 to 6 years. Retailers, including Ackermans, are lined up. The deal also covers SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly for older Nick fans and runs until December 2012. Dora the Explorer puzzles, balls, watches and toy sets are being launched by The New Just Fun Group, which is the distributor of the Dora the Explorer toy line from Mattel in South Africa. The range will be sold across the retail sectors, including toy specialists, and complements existing Dora the Explorer lines in the market.
In Canada, the Dora the Explorer birthday campaign started last month with An Adventure of Great Dora Deals at Walmart. The promotion was backed by 30-second commercials on Nick Canada and YTV, and 15-second billboards on Treehouse TV. A print campaign across more than 20 titles--local and major newspapers--showcased a selection of Dora the Explorer products, including Fisher Price items. Online banners featured on Nickjr.com and on parentsconnect.com with a click-through to Walmart’s Canadian website, which achieved 1.5 million page views per day. In addition, Dora the Explorer's 10th anniversary was marked at the Dora and Friend’s Celebration in August at the CN Tower in Toronto. It tied in with the Toy“R”Us’ “Dora’s Official Explorer Pass” program giving customers savings on all Dora the Explorer products during September. NCP partners that supported the event included Tetra, Clorox, Band Aid, Kumon and Mega Bloks.
Across Brazil this fall a variety of promotions are backing Dora the Explorer's anniversary celebration, including meet and greets at stores and shopping malls. The autumn plans follow a competition held in August, the Dora Cultural Contest promoted on Nick Channel, TV Culture and 10 regional broadcasters with 30,000 children taking part. Licensees supporting the promotion included Xeryus, Norma Carvajal, Ciranda Cultural, Toyster and Multibrink. Two retail promotions are supporting new Dora the Explorer product launches. Riachuelo is backing its direct-to-retail apparel deal with giveaways of Dora mini-books and crayons with a purchase from the Dora the Explorer childrenswear range. The promotion also is backed with Dora the Explorer meet and greets at Riachuelo stores and with a commercial on the Nickelodeon channel. PB Kids is running meet-and-greets at four of its stores, offering free Dora the Explorer mini coloring books with each Dora the Explorer product purchase. The promotion is supporting new product from licensees Mega Bloks, Toyster and Sulamenricana Fantasias.
In Mexico City, a themed ice cream bus will give away approximately 800 popsicles a day. The bus, which has two ice cream carts inside, will tour strategic points of the city, as well as the top 20 kindergartens and elementary schools. That campaign runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 29. The event is being followed up next month with Dora the Explorer making a personal appearance at a children’s home in Mexico City. This event includes a story-telling session by a celebrity.
In Taiwan about 85,000 kindergarten kids were visited by Dora the Explorer who encouraged them to collect souvenir stamps on their Dora the Explorer passports to redeem exclusive Dora the Explorer premiums at Toys“R”Us stores across Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.
In Indonesia, the Explorers Wanted concept was used in a retail campaign during the back-to-school period in partnership with Jakarta’s new Central Park Mall, where meet-and-greets with Dora the Explorer, a Dora’s Explorers Play Area, an arts and crafts carnival and a nature camp ran for a month. A Dora the Explorer button pin was given to every participant after completing one activity. With three pins children were awarded with a Dora’s Explorers certificate.
In Singapore, NCPI celebrated Dora the Explorer's 10th birthday with a special meet and greet event at Singapore Zoo.
Finally, Dora the Explorer master toy partner Fisher Price is marking Dora the Explorer’s international birthday celebration with an innovative We Did It! singing and dancing doll. The Dora the Explorer doll moves her arms, swings her hair and swivels her body to the beat as she teaches the steps to her signature dance. Fisher Price also has launched an updated doll’s house, launching in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Holland, Mexico and the U.K.--supported by television advertising in all the relevant markets.
Meanwhile, SpongeBob SquarePants has been ranked by NPD Group as the No. 3 toy property in Spain up to the end of July--just three months after the launch of the toys in Spain. It makes SpongeBob the fastest-growing-property ever in the territory. Working with local agent Biplano and licensees SIMBA, IMC, Play By Play, Injusa, Clementoni and Ravensburger, among others, summer and outdoor toys have led the way, but sales of all categories from board games to racing cars through plush and puzzles have proven to be the latest craze in Spain.