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The toy brand is everywhere – and for good reason.

Barbara Smith

December 11, 2023

4 Min Read
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” Mini Figure.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” Mini Figure.JAKKS Pacific

At a Glance

  • JAKKS Pacific is constantly expanding their portfolio with new deals.
  • For JAKKS, in-house properties allow the company to have a unique perspective on licensing.
  • JAKKS is always looking ahead, sometimes even years at a time.

It’s not an understatement to say that JAKKS Pacific (and their costume division, Disguise) is everywhere. This year alone, the toy company signed deals to distribute toys for the upcoming “Sonic the Hedgehog” film, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “The Little Mermaid.” These deals don’t include already existing deals with fellow licensing giants including Nintendo and Universal Parks & Experiences. The company is constantly in a state of evolution, by keeping releases consistent while also keeping in tune with what consumers want. 

Catching Up

A lot has changed since the last time License Global has caught up with JAKKS Pacific. With all of these options on who to partner with, various factors are taken into consideration in order to make the best fit for both brands. “We have such a diverse portfolio of categories that we are viewed as a company that can be master partners with expertise across all toy categories or we can complement the line with ancillary categories like costumes, seasonal, etc.,” says Virginia Reneau, senior vice president, global licensing, JAKKS Pacific. “There are many factors we take into consideration when evaluating a license: strength of IP (evergreen vs. new), 360 content plans, unique attributes of the IP, dominant category for the IP (plush vs. collector), demographic, how it fits within the retail landscape, etc. I don’t turn away a license without hearing the full pitch and get a chance to ask all the relevant questions. You just never know where you will find the hidden gem.” 


More than a Manufacturer

But JAKKS isn’t just about being a licensee. With in-house properties such as Ami Ami, Moose Mountain, Perfectly Cute and more, the company is in the unique position of being able to see the licensing industry from both sides. “It’s no secret that the bulk of JAKKS business is licensed, however we do have a few in-house brands we take a bet on and similar to other toy companies, we invest in a full 360 marketing campaign,” says Reneau. “If it makes sense for the brand, we partner with content developers.”


Dressing Up to Get Ahead

 It would be in poor form to do a story on JAKKS Pacific without mentioning Disguise. Created in 1987 as a subsidiary of JAKKS, the brand has been churning out costumes for the masses ever since. “Disguise is a big part of JAKKS and has opened many opportunities for us in toys and vice versa,” says Reneau. “As mentioned before, having a diversified portfolio in categories allows us to work with licensors who are looking for a costume partner only as they already have a toy partner in place. Disguise is very well known and respected in the industry so it makes it easy for me when I have to reach out and knock on doors for new opportunities.”

Diversification Matters 

JAKKS Pacific has also had to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the toy industry. Hit hard with rising inflation and video games’ increasing popularity, JAKKS is in a position where the company needs to be ready to evolve at any moment. Earlier this year the company launched an event on “Roblox” to garner more interest for the Ami Ami brand. 


Reneau agrees with this sentiment adding, “There are so many trends that I probably can’t capture all but here’s what seems be a trend in toys: toys and brands that help with social emotional wellbeing, sustainable products, toys/ brands that offer diversity and representation, retro brands/toys making a comeback, gaming and Anime sectors are growing significantly and brings in the ‘kidult’ consumer.” The world of kidult goods has proven especially vital to the toy market. Defined as consumers 12 and older by Circana, they are responsible for $9 billion of sales, which is about one-fourth of the market.

For JAKKS (and Disguise) it’s crucial to look ahead to keep consumers interested. In this scenario, that means focusing on 2025. “We start nearly two years in advance but the cycle is about a year-and-a-half,” says Reneau. “If you’re asking because you have an opportunity, we are done with 2024.”

This article featured in December's issue of License Global. Read the issue now ...

About the Author(s)

Barbara Smith

Digital Editor , License Global

Barbara Smith is a Digital Editor for License Global. Based in the U.S., while Barbara's remit is general news coverage, she enjoys focusing on apparel, travel and social media throughout North America. Barbara loves all things fashion, fitness and food!

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