COMMENTARY: Animation Has Long Been a Promotional Vehicle for Toys

BrandonEngel1by Brandon Engel

You’ve likely heard about the massive success of The Lego Movie, and maybe you were even one of the millions worldwide who have gone to see it. Despite its financial success, some have blasted the film for essentially being a glorified, expensive commercial for Legos. I don’t think that anyone can deny that The Lego Movie is obviously commercially motivated, but does that make it wrong? Is it all that different from children’s movies selling toys based on the film?

BrandonEngel2Last Christmas, the Frozen Castle Playset and matching Barbie dolls from the Disney film Frozen were at the top of many children’s lists for Santa. Every time a commercial appeared for the movie or the toy, they advertised each other. Is The Lego Movie any different just because the toy existed before the movie? Here is the bigger question: In an age where almost no image is spared licensing of some form, where does the line get drawn between entertainment and commercial? [Read more...]

MGA Entertainment Adds Three Senior Members

MGAMGA Entertainment Inc. (MGA) has added three new senior members to its leadership team: Bruce Morrison, executive vice president of sales and licensing; Efren Gonzalez, vice president of advertising and public relations; and Ame Cameron, vice president of marketing.

Morrison will focus on strengthening critical business relationships with MGA’s key retailers, licensees, and distribution partners in the U.S. and abroad. He will also serve an important strategic role in the areas of retail marketing, business development, and product planning in the global arena. Morrison most recently held the position of senior vice president retail sales for Disney Consumer Products (DCP) North America.

Gonzalez joins MGA after 11 years with Ogilvy & Mather, where he was most recently a senior partner and executive group director. He will fuel the creation of integrated programs for each MGA brand.

Cameron spent the past two and half years with Walmart Marketing. As vice president of marketing, she will leverage her consumer packaged goods background to infuse strategic business leadership into branding and marketing initiatives across MGA product lines. The MGA family includes such toy brands such as Little Tikes, Lalaloopsy, and more.

Fisher-Price Launches Share the Joy! Campaign

Laugh & LearnFisher-Price has launched a new holiday digital advertising campaign called, “Share the Joy,” which stems away from traditional product features to original video vignette-ads. The three videos each have its own distinct story line and feature a holiday carol including, “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Carol of the Bells” with re-written lyrics from a child’s point of view.

The brands and products highlighted in the videos include Laugh & Learn, Little People, and Imaginext. You can watch them and find sharable coupons on Fisher-Price.com/SharetheJoy.

Schwinn Calls for Americans to “Go For a Ride” in Multi-Million Dollar Campaign

Schwinn, the American bicycle manufacturer, is inviting Americans to “go for a ride” as part of a major brand relaunch and integrated national advertising and marketing program.

The multi-million dollar campaign, which launches nationwide this week, will feature the Schwinn bicycle bell as a thematic centerpiece representing “a call to action to reconnect with what’s important in life.” Print and television ads, as well as a digital campaign, will feature messages such as “Never stop and smell the cubicles,” “The world needs a recess bell,” and “You can’t text message your inner child,” urging Americans to get outside and get riding.

Consumers will be directed to www.RideSchwinn.com, which will provide simple tips on finding the right bike and where to buy it. Additionally, a downloadable application for mobile phones will give riding and fitness tips along with local route information.