Fisher-Price in the Driver’s Seat with General Motors
Fisher-Price, Inc., announced a licensing agreement with General Motors Corp. to produce the Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade for fall 2005. The Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade (suggested retail, $279.99) will be part of the company’s Power Wheels line of ride-on vehicles. Styled after the real Cadillac Escalade EXT, the vehicle will feature two working doors, rear storage, a detailed dashboard, digital clock, and pretend CD player with 10 minutes of music. And, in a first for the Power Wheels brand, the Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade will come equipped with a working FM radio.
Little Miswit Lands Apparel Deal
BeeZeeTees, a humor-based apparel company, recently acquired junior Tee rights for the whimsical Little Miswit characters created by Los Angeles artist Wendy L’Belle. A preview collection was shown at the recent MAGIC Marketplace, and received a tremendous retail response. The Little Miswits line was inspired by a co-worker’s grouchy morning disposition and L’Belle’s 9-year old daughter’s outrageous remarks. She realized that these sarcastic, witty girls were not limited by age or type. L’Belle’s designs currently can be found on greeting cards for Recycled Greetings and American Greetings.
Mott’s Gets Ready to Wiggle
Mott’s signed on as the official 2005 concert tour sponsor for The Wiggles. The partnership with HIT Entertainment extends in-store with a mail-in offer of an exclusive The Wiggles CD free with the purchase of any two Mott’s products. In August, a “Snack in the Best Seat in the House” point-of-sale promotion kicks off with a chance to win a VIP family 4-pack of tickets to an upcoming The Wiggles concert. Mott’s also will offer for purchase The Wiggles official “Snack Time” chair with the purchase of two Mott’s products.
Genius Products Tunes into New Deal
TV Guide Publishing Group and Genius Products, Inc., entered into a distribution agreement whereby Genius Products will launch a line of TV Guide-branded television-themed music CDs. TV Guide Music Collections are due on shelves in September and will feature songs from today’s hot series and the rich music heritage from television’s golden age. TV Guide brand music CDs also will be sold through the TV Guide Store (
USCP Plans Monster-Sized Programs for New Properties
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group plans a gorilla-sized licensing program for King Kong, due in theaters December 14. Master toy licensee Playmates Toys will come to market with action figures, role-play accessories, a figural battle game, a playset of Skull Island, soft figures, and two lines available through exclusive retailers only—a collector’s line of action figures and a collector’s line of PVC dioramas recreating key scenes from the movie.
In other news, Universal Studios Consumer Products Group named Asian World Enterprises Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Grand Toys International Ltd., master toy licensee for The Little Engine That Could and Where The Wild Things Are. In this new role, Grand Toys/Asian World will develop and distribute a line of infant and preschool toys including matching and memory games; role-play toys such as dress-up sets and accessories; arts and crafts items such as silly string, dough playsets, colored pencils, and stickers; and wooden toys including trains sets and puzzles. Products are expected to hit shelves in September 2005.
A Sunny New Deal for Coppertone
Nancy Bailey & Associates and Schering-Plough Corporation entered into a licensing agreement for Coppertone; its companion brand, Bain de Soleil; and Solarcaine. A line of sun protection and related products are planned. The nostalgic appeal of Coppertone’s famous “Girl and Dog” logo also will be offered for opportunities in the collectibles categories.
Ubisoft Diversifies Portfolio with Sports Deals
Ubisoft marked its foray as a publisher of sports video games by inking an exclusive deal with Vijay Singh and acquiring the sports assets from Microsoft Game Studios. The company will create a Vijay Singh titled golf game and also acquired the technology, tools, and source code shipped in Microsoft Game Studios team sports games, including NHL Rivals (hockey), NFL Fever (football), NBA Inside Drive (basketball), and MLB Inside Pitch (baseball).
Jakks Pacific Expands TV Games Line
Jakks Pacific, Inc., expanded its licensing agreement with Capcom to develop and market TV Games GAMEKEY products based on 1942, Ghosts ’N Goblins, Mega Man 3, Gun Smoke, and Commando. Jakks also adds new titles for both TV Games controllers and GAMEKEY expansion packs, for titles including Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3, and many more. The TV Games GAMEKEY and controllers are due in fall 2005. Jakks Pacific, Inc., also signed a worldwide licensing agreement with SNK Playmore USA Corp. to market and distribute multiple software titles for its TV Games line including Ikari Warriors, Vanguard, and Victory Road. First products are due in spring 2006.
New Licensees Give Program a Tune-Up
Primedia Enterprises expands its magazine brands into the toy vehicle market, partnering with Funrise, Best Pals, Planet Toys, and Scientific Toys. This is the latest in a series of brand extensions that transition titles such as Import Tuner and Truckin’ into product lines. The Lowrider brand enters into the juvenile toy category with a line of plastic light and sound freewheeling, “pull-and-go,” and motorized vehicles from Funrise. Best Pals recently introduced a new product to the marketplace called “Swap-Outs,” a line of customizable vehicles for the Lowrider, Truckin’, and Import Tuner brands. Under the Truckin’ brand, Planet Toys will develop a line of radio-controlled vehicles in multiple scales, while Scientific Toys created a new line of Import Tuner radio-controlled cars.
Ringing Up Sales
The Lord of the Rings franchise surpassed $1 billion in retail sales worldwide, and international licensees continue to roll out new product throughout 2005. Toy Biz plans to introduce six new Collector Series featuring 6-inch detailed figures with sound and light, an Epic Trilogy Collection, and a LOTR Lothlorien Gift Pack. UK-based Games Workshop will produce a Shire supplement to its tabletop war games in addition to the Plastic Warg Riders Box Set and tradable miniature games. According to MR-Merchandising, New Line Cinema’s licensing agent in Germany, more than 40 Lord of the Rings licensees will produce new product in 2005, including collectible toy trucks (MAGS gmbh), photographic prints (Arrow Images), and posters and magazines (Live Publishing Europe). In May, Etains du Graal will introduce new Lord of the Rings pewter figurines in France.
New Line Cinema also will spearhead upcoming international licensing programs for publishing properties “His Dark Materials” and “Inkheart.”
Cartoon Network Names Weger to VP Spot
Lisa M. Weger was named vice president of U.S. and Latin America consumer products, a newly created role at Cartoon Network Enterprises. In her new position, Weger will be responsible for developing brand strategies for original properties and characters, and supervising the creative execution of resulting initiatives being implemented in the U.S. and Latin America by all license and merchandising partners.
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