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Mattel Kicks Off Thomas & Friends Global Brand Campaign

ThomasAndFriendsThomas & Friends, from Mattel Inc., kicked off its first global brand campaign with a year-long marketing program, Set Friendship in Motion.

The campaign aims to help preschoolers strengthen friendship skills, such as collaboration, communication, sharing, manners, kindness, and the abilities to express and understand feelings and emotions. Set Friendship in Motion will include ways for families to interact with kids including content, digital activations, and live events to bring the campaign to life. Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas & Friends New Series and Special to Launch on Discovery Kids Latin America

Thomas_TheGreatRaceThe Thomas & Friends special The Great Race will premiere exclusively on Discovery Kids Latin America, as well as the latest series 20 of Thomas & Friends, throughout the month of December on its different feeds. Read the rest of this entry »

Toy State Partners for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vehicles

Toy State has secured a licensing partnership with Nickelodeon to design, develop, and manufacture lines of toy vehicles featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entertainment brand. The three-year deal will allow Toy State to create Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed lights and sound, preschool, and radio-controlled vehicles. Product will be available in mid-2016 at major retailers.

Toy State recently added Barbie and NASCAR to its licensing portfolio, joining the company’s flagship Road Rippers and Nikko brands, as well as lines featuring leading licensed properties including Hot Wheels, Caterpillar, WWE, Thomas & Friends, and DC Super Friends in its brand lineup.

LIMA’s Young Professional Networking Breakfast to Feature Mattel’s Jessi Dune

The International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association (LIMA) will feature Mattel general manager and senior vice president, consumer products Jessi Dunne at its next Young Professional Networking Breakfast on November 18, from 8 to 10 a.m. The special event will take place at Mattel’s headquarters in El Segindo, Calif.

Dunne will share her professional experiences and licensing insight, as well as provide career advice for those who are beginning their careers in the business. Dunne oversees global licensing for Mattel’s portfolio of best-selling brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Monster High, American Girl, Thomas & Friends, and Fisher-Price.

Thomas Land Set to Open in North America

Thomas_and_Friends_LogoA full-scale Thomas & Friends attraction is set to debut in South Carver, Mass. next summer. This marks the largest permanent Thomas & Friends attraction in North America.

This family amusement park—which is currently in development with HIT Entertainment, a division of Fisher-Price—will be located near the greater Boston and Providence areas.

Thomas Land will cover 11.5 acres and feature 14 rides based on the Thomas & Friends Island of Sodor. The rides will feature iconic characters Thomas, Diesel, Toby, Cranky the Crane, and Harold the Helicopter.

Hit Entertainment, Universal Enter Distribution Pact for Hit Preschool Portfolio

Fusion TIFF FileHit Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment have signed an agreement that gives Universal distribution rights to Hit’s award-winning family content library. Universal will distribute, sell, and market titles such as Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, and Barney & Friends in the U.S. and Canada across Blu-Ray, DVD, Electronic Sell-Through, and video-on-demand platforms beginning October 1.

In addition, the two companies will work together to distribute new content produced by Hit, including the upcoming Thomas & Friends feature, Tale of the Brave.

Hit Entertainment Announces New Health Licensees For Thomas & Friends

HIT Entertainment has announced two new health-based licensees for Thomas & Friends, giving the brand a heightened presence in this growing category. HIT has partnered with DTP for a range of vitamins, and with Darsham Drinks for beverages. DTP’s Thomas & Friends vitamins range will include a selection of four different branded packs of vitamins and will be available at retail in both the UK and U.S. beginning this month. Darsham Drinks will roll out a collection of branded drinks, including spring water, juice drinks, and smoothies across the UK and Ireland early next year.

Thomas & Friends has more than 250 global licensees, including six new North American licensees: Dr. Fresh, Dynacraft, Innovision, Kurt Adler, Planet Sox, and Step2.

LIMA Sponsors China’s Brand Licensing Hall

LIMA will sponsor Brand Licensing Hall, mainland China’s licensing event and largest licensing exposition which is held concurrently with China Toy Expo and China Kids Expo. These three events organized by the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, are expected to attract nearly 70,000 visitors, providing buyers with a wide range of sourcing opportunities in licensing, toys, and baby products.

The show will take place at the Shanghai New International Expo Center October 15-17, 2013 and will feature more than 600 of the world’s most popular licensing brands, including Disney, Marvel, Transformers, Barbie, Angry Birds, Thomas & Friends, SpongeBob Squarepants, and Paul Frank from the U.S. Brands headed to China from the UK include, Manchester United, Teletubbies, In The Night Garden, Shaun the Sheep and Vandal.

Schylling Toys Acquired by Crofton Capital and Gladstone Investment Corp.

Schylling Associates Inc. has been acquired by investment firms Crofton Capital LLC and Gladstone Investment Corporation. Schylling’s product line is known for its contemporary versions of classic toys and collectables.

The Schylling line includes toys created in partnership with select licensed properties including Thomas & Friends, Uglydoll, Curious George, Babar, and Warner Brothers’ The Wizard of Oz. In addition, Schylling distributes a broad line of products for brands including Lego, Brio, Lava Lamps, Moshi Monsters, Angry Birds, Sea Monkeys, and Erector.

Hit Entertainment Announces Its Global Brand Team

HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Mattel Inc., announced that three executives were appointed to spearhead global brand and marketing efforts for several of their brands. Robin Gay has been tapped as Global Brand Director for Thomas & Friends, Will Speer has been appointed as Global Brand Director for Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam, and Gina Briggs will lead brand and marketing efforts for Mike the Knight as Senior Global Brand Manager.

In their newly-created positions, the Global Brand team will be responsible for developing the worldwide strategies, growth plans and positioning for their respective brands, and working with HIT and Fisher-Price regional teams and lines of business to execute the brand strategies. Gay and Speer will be based in the UK, while Briggs will work out of the New York City office.

Robin Gay comes from The Walt Disney Company EMEA, where he most recently ran the Franchise Business for Mickey Mouse & Friends (including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), Winnie the Pooh, Disney Fairies (including Tinker Bell), and Disney Baby. He also managed Disney Channel and Disney XD franchises including brands such as Phineas & Ferb, Hannah Montana, and Wizards of Waverly Place. Prior to this, he worked for other media companies, as well as marketing agencies.

Will Speer also joined from The Walt Disney Company where he held a variety of roles including Disney Stores (retail), Disney Channels including the launch of Disney Jr. and most recently, Franchise Management for brands such as Jake and The Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, Monsters University, and Phineas and Ferb. Speer’s previous experience also includes project management in telecoms.

Gina Briggs previously held a variety of marketing and brand strategy roles at Nickelodeon working on the network’s kids animated properties including SpongeBob, Fairly Odd Parents, and Robot and Monster. Briggs has also held strategic marketing roles at L’Oreal, the Travel Channel, and Brand Learning.

Beyond the three new brand heads, additional appointments have recently been made across the HIT global brand teams.

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