The Toy Book Chats with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO, Popstar Club

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.

SherryGunther.BeatrixCEO

 

Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?

The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.

The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?

It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we9’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.

Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.

The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.

 

For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.

That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.

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Disney Consumer Products Releases Disney’s Planes Collection

planesDisney Consumer Products (DCP) has announced a product collection inspired by Disneytoon Studios’ high-flying adventure, Disney’s Planes, with products that leverage technology and interactivity from Disney Store and companies, including Mattel, Thinkway, and Jay Franco. With track sets for side-by-side racing and stunts and launchers, kids will be able to recreate their favorite racing moments from the film. Fueling imagination and role play, the line also includes R/C planes that kids can guide with flight controllers that mirror their own body movements. The planes can be programmed to talk,  and move and turn with a programmable joystick. A collection from Disney Store and DisneyStore.com, as well as an assortment of fashion, home décor, lifestyle, and publishing products, rounds out the collection for fans of this new comedy-adventure from above the world of Cars.planes1

Disney’s Planes is set for release in theaters August 9, and takes off with Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race despite his fear of heights.

Monsters University Roars Into Retail

Spin Master's My Scare Pal Sulley

Spin Master’s My Scare Pal Sulley

Disney Consumer Products is rolling out a product collection inspired by Disney·Pixar’s newest film, Monsters University, starring Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan, “Sulley,” (voiced by John Goodman). The licensing program consists of more than 1,000 products from 125 licensees that celebrate the fun of Monsters University, which releases in theaters June 21. The product collection includes action figures, playsets, plush figures, apparel, accessories, home décor, publishing products, and more. An exclusive collection from Disney Store and DisneyStore.com is also available.

Products include role-play toys from Spin Master, playsets from Imaginext, T-shirts from Threadless, children’s footwear from etnies, a comforter set from Jay Franco, crib bedding from Kids Line, furniture from Delta Children, and themed Blue Raspberry Flavorz from Crunch Pak.

The line from the Disney Store and DisneyStore.com includes plush and pin collections, action figures, rolling luggage, books, and journals.