After 100 Years, Hasbro Has a Lot to Celebrate

Toy giant, Hasbro, has anniversaries galore on its calendar.

Jane Neal, Content Editor

May 3, 2024

9 Min Read

Hasbro celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2023 and that’s just the beginning of numerous celebrations to come. Ahead of Licensing Expo, License Global spoke with Brad Bowman, senior licensing director, global toy and games, Hasbro, about the company’s upcoming anniversaries, plans for Licensing Expo and what the future holds.

License Global: Transformers is celebrating its 40th anniversary, what plans are in place to mark that milestone? 

Brad Bowman: This year, we’re rallying the Transformers franchise anniversary celebrations around one core message: 40 years. One legacy. Over its four-decade history, the Transformers brand has grown from a toy line to a global powerhouse franchise, spurring movies, TV shows, fashion, comic books, digital media, live experiences and more. What connects all these touchpoints is one powerful legacy that has attracted a passionate and global fanbase of millions. 

To honor the brand’s origins, we’re releasing wide-ranging products, promotions, experiences and entertainment that will delight longtime fans and invite entirely new audiences to experience the signature action and adventure of the Transformers franchise. Bringing fans back to where it all began, Hasbro is hosting a special cinema experience on May 15 that will debut content from the 1984 original animated TV show, “The Transformers,” in movie theaters worldwide. The event, ‘Till All Are One: Transformers 40th Anniversary Event, will feature an exclusive behind-the-scenes table read of the pilot episode with the original voice actors, followed by a traditional screening of the next three episodes in the first series. The throwback continues this summer with a special anniversary vinyl album featuring music from the 1984 animated series. Even more action and adventure are coming later this year with Season 2 of our animated kid series, “Transformers: Earthspark” along with the franchise’s first-ever fully CG-animated movie, “Transformers One,” which premieres globally this fall.

After launching our co-branded UNO Flip Transformers card game, our work with Mattel continues with the release of T Transformers -branded Hot Wheels vehicles in the coming weeks. Through our ongoing collaboration with Robosen, the leading consumer robot company will leverage the 40th with the launch of its Flagship Megatron, the most anticipated robot sequel since the Flagship Optimus Prime. Jada Toys is also introducing two new 1:24 scale die-cast vehicle mashups inspired by Transformers and Ghostbusters, which will arrive this fall with premium and highly detailed graphics. Additionally, fans can enjoy more toys and collectibles from Super7, LEGO, Funko, FiGPiN, New Zealand Mint and threezero, as well as headphones from JLab and fashion collections by Mad Engine and RSVLTS. From Skybound Entertainment, brand-new comic books and graphic novels will be released throughout the year, plus a set of nearly 200 premium trading cards from Dynamite Entertainment.

Brad Bowman, Hasbro

Peppa Pig is also celebrating an anniversary this year; are there any highlights from that milestone you’d like to share?

Families can jump into Peppa Pig’s 20th anniversary parties all year long with newness across every category. As the first best friend of preschoolers around the globe, Peppa instills a powerful confidence in children and encourages them to treat every step as a new adventure. This ethos is present across every brand touchpoint, from entertainment and live experiences to licensed toys, fashion and so much more. 

Following the  three-part “Peppa Pig Wedding Special” on Nickelodeon, which featured voice work by global megastars, Peppa is following in the footsteps of her famous friends and making waves in the music industry. The song joins other recent Peppa music releases that aim to help build confidence among children: “The Best Day,” which provides children with preschool-friendly affirmations to help them go confidently into their day; and “Let’s Jump In,” which brings the Peppa Pig tagline to life and encourages children to jump into life’s first experiences with enthusiasm and a sense of curiosity. 

Little ones can dress for the celebratory occasion with adorable fashions from Jojo Maman Bebe, Trotters and Melissa Footwear and play out their own adventures with Peppa Pig using the new LEGO DUPLO Peppa Pig sets. For more fun, families can step into the world of LEGO DUPLO Peppa Pig  at select Merlin Entertainments theme parks. Later this year, Merlin is also set to open two brand-new locations of the Peppa Pig  Theme Park in the U.S. (Texas) and Germany where children can snort, giggle and play while building their family’s first theme park memories together.

Are there other milestone anniversaries you’re particularly excited about?

A leader in imaginative play, Dungeons & Dragons is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! To celebrate five decades of fantasy roleplaying, we’re engaging with fans at events around the world and offering games, entertainment and products informed by the history of D&D to inspire generations to come. We started 2024 strong by announcing new features and immersion improvements on our digital gaming platform, D&D Beyond, along with upcoming products like the Vecna: Eve of Ruin adventure campaign, “The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1976” history book, Quests from the Infinite Staircase adventure anthology and three refreshed core rule books – “Players Handbook,” “Dungeon Masters Guide” and “Monster Manual.”

One release we’re particularly proud of is the LEGO Ideas Dungeons & Dragons: Red Dragon’s Taleset, a fan-designed brick representation of the iconic tabletop game, which includes a free, downloadable adventure on D&D Beyond. The 3,745-piece set is incredibly detailed, featuring a tavern with a removable roof, a dungeon and a tower, along with six LEGO minifigures. To truly represent the elements of D&D, the set includes brick-built monsters, such as a beholder, an owlbear and a displacer beast, while featuring the giant Cinderhowl red dragon that builders can wrap around the tower. We also have some epic licensed collabs, including premium crafted sneakers and apparel from Converse, Reyn Spooner and BlackMilk, along with gaming accessories and collectibles from WizKids, Sirius Dice, Beadle & Grimm’s and others. Finally, the fantasy franchise is debuting a live theatrical show, “Dungeons & Dragons: The Twenty-Sided Tavern,” which officially opens in New York City starting May 5. 

Coming off the successful brand refresh last year, Clue is bigger than ever as it celebrates its 75th anniversary. Clue has remained a timeless, textured and immersive crime-solving experience, featuring an iconic and infamous cast of characters, while expanding off the board to inspire live entertainment, consumer products and more. Through WS Game Company, we’ve launched the beautifully crafted Clue: 75th Anniversary Edition, a commemoration and jubilee of the world’s most revered detective game. To further honor our beloved Clue, audiences can indulge in the ultimate whodunit “Clue: A New Comedy” live show touring now in the U.S.

D&D x Converse, Hasbro

What new trends are you seeing in the toy industry?

The toy market for adults continues to grow, and Hasbro reigns king in this space. To continuously deliver innovative and premium products for older fans, we leverage our advanced data analytics and consumer insight capabilities to better identify and serve the needs of our customers. Our insights have led us to work with the brightest players in the industry, such as LEGO, Mattel and Robosen. Unlocking all-new opportunities like these allows us to offer fans completely new ways to experience their favorite brands.

What are your goals for the Licensing Expo show this year? 

Coming off our 100th year, our goal at this year’s Licensing Expo is to show how Hasbro brings people together and creates special memories for fans of all ages, as we build the toys and games of tomorrow. 

We have an unmatched and vast portfolio of 1800+ iconic brands, from fantasy franchises, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, to action and active play leaders, Transformers and NERF, and preschool favorites, Peppa Pig, Play-Doh and My Little Pony. We are a franchise-first, consumer-centric company, and we know that prioritizing those two areas is the key to unlocking the full commercial potential of our brands. From merchandise and apparel to location-based experiences, toys, books, sporting goods, theme parks, music, entertainment and digital gaming – we are meeting fans where they are, working with valued partners to thoughtfully expand our brands for maximum reach and impact.

Beyond this year’s milestone anniversaries, we’re continuing to celebrate the colorful world of My Little Pony through our collaboration with Beauty Creations Cosmetics, which we will debut at Licensing Expo with a demo at Hasbro, booth G170, so attendees can get a taste of the magical brand. 

Are there any new IPs and brands that you’ll be showcasing at Licensing Expo this year? 

As we embark on our next century of play, Hasbro has a renewed focus on product innovation and making smart bets to modernize classic IP, while expanding into new categories and genres. A testament to this winning strategy is the success of Furby’s relaunch last year. Reimagined for a new generation of kids, the cute, cool and weird toy captured the hearts of consumers from the get-go and sold out on Amazon in just 48 hours after it was announced. With new life for the franchise, we’ve expanded our existing agreements with several licensees to include Furby’ and we’re seeing huge demand from partners to develop standalone collections, like our fashion and accessories range with Cakeworthy.

We are also working with best-in-class licensees to relaunch some of our most iconic heritage brands. Basic Fun! has done a fantastic job of reimagining classics like Tonka and Lite Brite for today’s consumer. We also entrusted the company with the task of relaunching Littlest Pet Shop, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Over the year, we have been releasing surprise packs and playsets with over 120 pets to collect that all feature unique personalities, breeds and rarity levels to delight and excite Littlest Pet Shop fans worldwide. Basic Fun! also helped us to expand the brand’s reach with an immersive digital play experience on Roblox, which smashed expectations with over 2 million visits in just the first month!

PlayMonster continues to expand the Playskool and Spriograph lines, and, supported by Just Play, there’s newness coming from Easy Bake and Furreal. I’m most excited about the latest Furreal lifelike animals continuing the legacy of the range, providing magical interactions, including Daisy the Yoga Goat.

The amazing plans to reimagine these properties for a new generation will absolutely inspire more cross-category activation so stay tuned for more as these hit the shelves soon.

What can we expect from Hasbro for the remainder of this year and into 2025? 

This year, our multi-generational fans can expect branded play experiences, including an epic lineup of toys and games themed to fan-favorite brands. We’re also introducing immersive family attractions like Planet Playskool, NERF Action Xperience and The Game Room Powered by Hasbro. 

In 2025, we are celebrating a major anniversary for the biggest board game in the world – Monopoly’s 90th – with a full year of celebration planned for the brand. Fans around the world can expect brand-new iterations of Monopoly, the world’s most popular board game, on and off the board!

Ultimately, our purpose is to create joy and community for all people around the world, one game, one toy, one story at a time. We look forward to creating magic through play and finding new ways to deliver on this mission this year, next year and for the next 100 years to come.

Hasbro will be attending Licensing Expo 2024 in Las Vegas, NV and will be at booth #G170.

Register for Licensing Expo 2024.

About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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