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Sesame Workshop Appoints Mattel as Master Toy Licensee in Latin America

SesamoCharactersAs part of Sesame Street’s relaunch as Sésamo in Latin America, Sesame Workshop has named Mattel its master toy licensee in the region. As part of the new licensing agreement, Sesame Street characters will be featured on Mattel’s Mega Bloks preschool construction sets across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

Mattel’s line of toys for Latin America will feature Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Abby Cadabby, Bert, and Ernie. The line will be available in the region next May and the product range will feature plastic figurines and feature plush. Mega Bloks preschool construction sets will be available in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America beginning next spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Activision Lands at BLE 2015 with a Strong Portfolio of Properties

Activision Publishing Inc. arrived at Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) 2015 showcasing Skylanders, SuperChargers, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Destiny: The Taken King, and Guitar Hero Live. The company continues to forge alliances with global partners such as Crayola, Penguin, BioWorld, Power A, and Mega Bloks to drive its licensing, merchandising, and retail businesses.

Skylanders has generated more than $3 billion in retail sales worldwide and with the launch of Skylanders SuperChargers has brought vehicles to life for the first time in the history of this franchise. At BLE, Activision will offer a sneak peek of a new creative direction and an illustration style that creates fan-favorite characters.

Call of Duty has generated more than $11 billion in retail sales worldwide. Activision is gearing up for the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops III with a merchandising program featuring new categories and partners.

Destiny has more than 20 million registered players since its launch and Destiny: The Taken King broke the record for the most downloaded day-one game in PlayStation history. The brand is expanding its merchandising program to apparel, electronics, accessories, and more.

Launching on October 23, Guitar Hero Live introduces GH Live, a first-person point of view game where players interact with a live audience; and GHTV, the world’s first playable music video network. Activision is creating a global merchandising program and collaborating with Pepsi for a Pepsi Challenge to allow fans to win Guitar Hero Live prizes.

Mattel Expands Construction Portfolio with Leading Properties

Mega Brands has entered new partnerships to expand its Mega Bloks construction portfolio. Mega Bloks will broaden its current product offerings which include brands such as Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants and Microsoft’s Halo, to add new highly-detailed sets and movie-inspired lines for fans of all ages.

A new Mega Bloks Power Rangers line will be inspired by the newest season of the franchise, Power Rangers Dino Charge, which premiered this month on Nickelodeon in the U.S. and will roll out globally throughout the year. The line will be available next year.

The Mega Bloks Nickelodeon licensing partnership will also introduce new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles construction sets next year. The sets will draw inspiration from the franchise to offer creative building experiences, including builders from the juniors, kids, and collectors categories.

The Collectors portfolio will also broaden this year, as Mega Bloks partners with Skydance Productions to produce Terminator Genisys collector construction sets, themed to the reset of the Terminator movies. The film will be distributed by Paramount Pictures in this summer. Mega Bloks has also expanded its licensing partnership with CBS Consumer Products to introduce a range of Mega Bloks Star Trek limited-edition Collectors construction sets, to launch next year.

Mega Brands Partners with UP&L for Despicable Me Building Sets

DespicableMe.MegaBloksMega Brands Inc. entered a multi-year international licensing partnership with Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) to develop a new kids construction line based on the Despicable Me franchise from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

Due in stores this December, the Mega Bloks Despicable Me construction sets will offer fully buildable characters, locations, and vehicles inspired by Despicable Me 2. The line’s customizable construction sets will include mix-and-match features, such as interchangeable accessories. In addition, each set will feature buildable Minions that are unique to the set, for a variety of Minions to collect, build, and play with.

To launch the line, seven fans will participate in the #MinionMontage Challenge on social media. Fans can visit the Mega Bloks Facebook page to see highlights.

Mattel to Acquire Mega Brands


Mattel Inc. and Mega Brands Inc. have signed a definitive agreement for Mattel’s acquisition, through a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel Inc., of Mega Brands for $460 million.

The acquisition advances Mattel’s global growth strategy of building upon its world-class portfolio of brands by expanding into two of the fastest-growing toy categories. Mega Brands is the No. 2 player in the $4 billion construction building sets category with its Mega Bloks brand, as well as a competitor in the $2 billion arts and crafts category.

Mattel’s portfolio of brands will complement Mega Brands’ flagship Mega Bloks brand and existing licensed brands, including Halo, Skylanders, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Power Rangers, Hello Kitty, and SpongeBob SquarePants. The acquisition will give Mattel the opportunity to broaden its relationship with its entertainment partners.

Mega Brands ranks among the top 15 toy companies globally in terms of sales, according to statistics published by The NPD Group last year. Additionally, the company achieved record sales of preschool construction toys. Read the rest of this entry »

Saban Brand’s Power Rangers European Mall Tour Heading to France

France is the next destination for Saban Brands’ Power Rangers European mall tour, beginning October 18 at Kid Expo Paris. The tour will travel to seven different locations across the country to celebrate the 20th anniversary season, Power Rangers Megaforce, airing on Gulli and Canal J.

With exciting activities for the whole family, the French tour will offer exclusive meet-and-greets and photo opportunities with the Power Rangers Mega Force. Kids can even check out Power Rangers Mega Force Halloween costumes from Rubies Masquerade or play with toys and action figures from Bandai and Mega Bloks in the toy discovery area.

Power Rangers Celebrates 20 Years with a Mall Tour

Saban Brands has announced the Power Rangers “Back to School with Megaforce” UK mall tour beginning August 25 in Braehead, Glasgow. Working with Intu Shopping Centres, the tour will travel to seven different malls across the UK in celebration of Saban’s Power Rangers 20th Anniversary as well as the Power Rangers Megaforce UK launch on Channel 5. The UK tour is the beginning of a larger European mall tour continuing with stops in France this fall.

The tour is packed with activities for the whole family, offering meet-and-greets and photo opportunities with the new Power Rangers Megaforce. Each stop will have a dress up area where kids can wear costumes by Rubies Masquerade and have their photos taken on an action background with Power Ranger props. In addition, a fashion show will showcase the latest Power Ranger products from a variety of licensees including apparel, bedding, toys, and more. Guests will also have the chance to get their faces painted as their favorite Ranger and enjoy a coloring station.

As a part of the Power Rangers emPOWER program, a few guests will participate in on-stage demonstrations of martial arts Ranger moves. The emPOWER program teaches kids and families how to put into action the core Power Rangers values of teamwork, confidence, friendship, standing for what’s right, and health & physical activity. The program also provides parents and community leaders with the tools they need to work together to raise healthy kids.

Another highlight of the tour will be the toy discovery area, where kids can play with the latest Megaforce action figures and toys from Bandai and Mega Bloks. Guests will also be given the opportunity to demo the Power Rangers Megaforce Nintendo 3DS video game adaptation from Namco Bandai Games. Lastly, one guest will win the ultimate Powered Up weekend family trip to London, while others will walk away with the latest toys and back-to-school items for free.

COMMENTARY: Spanning Generations: Modern Takes on Classic Brands

Nostalgia is a growing trend in the toy and licensing industry, but recently many classic brands have been given a modern reboot. The modernized take on classic brands offer fun for consumers both young and old, spanning generations and providing licensees with multiple new opportunities. Today, some modernized takes on old favorites live along side their predecessors.

PlaymatesToys.BasicMutagenOozeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), for example, launched in the 1980s. A huge, revolutionary boys’ property, the brand was given a reboot last year when a new TMNT animated series launched in September on Nickelodeon. The brand has seen massive success in the toy industry, with partners including Playmates Toys with a full line of figures and play setsbubbles and water toys from Little Kids, and awesome electronics from Sakar International, including adorable TMNT earbuds. In addition to producing toys based on the new animated series, Playmates Toys also offers a classic collection including all four turtles, which reflects the look of the characters in the original series.

PacMan.BandaiPac-Man debuted in 1980, and has since become the highest-grossing video game in history. Namco Bandai Games Inc. continues to sign new licensees for the classic brand, including UK apparel specialist Poetic Gem with a line of nightwear and USAopoly with Yahtzee: Pac-Man Collector’s Edition and a 550-piece Pac-Man Collector’s Puzzle featuring an iconic maze from the game. In addition to the classic Pac-Man brand, the iconic figure will launch to a new generation of kids this fall, with the September 7 premiere of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, a stereoscopic, 3-D animated series airing on Disney XD41 Entertainment is the worldwide master agent for the new series, with nearly 50 licensees signed on for a full range of kid-targeted products, including master toy partner Bandai America with action figures, play sets, and plushK’nex Brands with building systems; and Pressman Toy Corp. with checkers, tic-tac-toe, bingo, dominos, and cardboard puzzles in boxes and tins.

SMurfette.MegaBloksThe Smurfs made their first appearance in North America in 1981, with a Saturday morning cartoon series, The Smurfs.  Still relevant today, many licensees continue to churn out products featuring the classic look of the iconic characters. USAopoly has Monopoly: The Smurfs Collector’s Edition, while Jakks Pacific has 1-inch figures and play sets based on the classic characters. In 2011, the Smurfs experienced a makeover with the release of The Smurfs, a 3-D, CGI-animated live-action hybrid film produced by Sony Pictures Animation. The sequel, The Smurfs 2, will debut in July. Jakks Pacific will celebrate the film’s release with collectible figures, plush, fashion dolls, and play sets featuring the latest versions of Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and others. Mega Bloks has construction sets featuring the Smurfs, and Tech 4 Kids has The Smurfs Mash’Ems.

In all of these cases, the new versions of the classic brands feature similar-looking characters of the same names and a modernized logo. By placing the updated versions alongside the originals, licensors are practically doubling their licensing opportunities. TMNT, Pac-Man, and the Smurfs now appeal not only to kids, but to their parents as well, who are more likely to recognize the brands, leading them to purchase the licensed toys for their children. With new, original properties consistently popping up in the toy and licensing industries, sometimes it’s nice to be able to share nostalgic experiences with the next generation.

For more commentary from Marissa, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Licensing Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!