In an exclusive interview with License Global, Paul Gitter, senior vice president, Marvel Licensing, introduces new kids’ series “Marvel: Avengers Mech Strike” and reveals details behind its forthcoming licensing program and retail rollout.
License Global: What is ‘Marvel: Avengers Mech Strike’?
Paul Gitter: “Avengers Mech Strike” is new short-form content that features kids’ favorite “Avengers” characters outfitted with mech-inspired armor as they defend the world from the villainous Thanos. The content will feature more than three hours of original programming across eight different short-form series including animation, non-scripted segments and the popular Slow-down format, all airing on the Marvel HQ YouTube channel. We’ve seen Marvel HQ original content serve as a strong incremental revenue driver when translated into consumer products, so we’re excited for “Avengers Mech Strike” to debut across a wide array of licensees and retailers.
How is ‘Avengers Mech Strike’ different than other Marvel series?
PG: We saw the success last year with “Spider-Man: Maximum Venom” of blending favorite characters kids love in toys and other merchandise. So, we went from slime and mashups to cool, Gundam-style mechanical suits. Kids loved Hulkbuster, so this was a perfect opportunity to expand on that storytelling and to blend the super heroic powers of The Avengers with tech-forward mech armor-inspired suits. Marvel is fortunate to have incredible films, live-action series and animated series from Marvel Studios in theaters and on Disney+, along with its 80-year legacy in comics, and this short-form content is meant to expand the Marvel Universe of characters to a new generation of fans creating an action-packed entryway into the brand. Marvel has even released an Avengers Mech Strike comic book series, which launched earlier this year to critical acclaim.
Where will the content be available? And when will it go live?
PG: “Avengers Mech Strike” will launch this month with a two-minute, animated “Mech Files” episode, debuting on Marvel HQ, our premier YouTube channel, and the MarvelHQ.com web destination for kids and families. Along with being able to watch the new mech-style Super Heroes, MarvelHQ.com also offers a wide array of free online games, videos and the ability to further explore characters. We will launch a new piece of content almost every week through August, when the “Avengers Mech Strike” products go wide to all retailers globally.
Who is the audience?
PG: Kids ages 4-9, but, as with many Marvel properties, we also expect to have additional fans tuning in as well as parents.
Why Marvel HQ?
PG: Having a YouTube channel for kids presents a wealth of opportunities for 365-day engagement of kids. Marvel is about storytelling, adventure, aspirational characters and fun, so Marvel HQ allows us to supplement the tentpole entertainment from Marvel Studios with quick content told just for kids featuring their favorite Marvel characters. The “Avengers Mech Strike” format gives kids and fans varied content formats with new episodes coming out regularly, so they have something new from Marvel almost every time they are on YouTube.
Which licensees are on board?
PG: “Avengers Mech Strike” has attracted theatrical level support from top-tier licensees and global retailers with a robust portfolio spanning toys, apparel, accessories, home décor and more. The series opens the door to a whole new avenue of storytelling that translates exceptionally well in products and play patterns for kids.
Hasbro will be creating an exclusive collection of action figures and roleplay items for Walmart, then distributing wide with additional items. LEGO is on board for Mech Armor-inspired building sets, and Funko for some cool Pop! vinyls.
On the apparel side, Mad Engine, Bentex and others will be developing kids’ tees and activewear with Jay Franco creating home décor.
Which retailers will be supporting?
PG: Walmart will be first to market in April in the U.S., and there will be additional first-to-market launches in key international markets. This will then be followed by a global retail expansion in August across all retail channels and key accounts.