Jakks Pacific Inc. has entered a global licensing agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of dress up and other consumer products based on WWE’s superstars and divas, as well as its TV series, Monday Night Raw and SmackDown.
Mattel and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) have teamed up to let fans create their own action with two new products: WWE Create a Superstar and WWE Create a Ring. Now fans can build their own or recreate a famous match-up (for example, one from WWE’s recent SummerSlam) utilizing their WWE Superstar and whatever ring configuration they desire.
Having recently been promoted to the position of president of Toy State, it seemed like a good time to sit down with Andy Friess to talk about the state of his company, its high-profile sponsorship agreement with Tommy Baldwin Racing, its upcoming plans for the R/C brand, Nikko, and more.
The Toy Book (TTB): How important are new licensing agreements to the growth of Toy State?
Andy Friess (AF): Licensing plays a major role in our success. With the competition so tough in all toy categories, securing rights to strong licenses can provide the point-of-difference that separates us from our competitors. Toy State’s history of developing products featuring the highest levels of quality and innovation has been a great “selling” tool as we seek new licensing opportunities. We’ve been extremely fortunate to work with a core of outstanding global licensors, and these relationships have been instrumental to the successes we have achieved over our 30-plus-year history. The 13-year, multi-category relationship with Caterpillar has been the foundation of our licensing efforts.
Toy State has entered into a licensing agreement with WWE. The deal includes products developed for the R/C vehicle category for the North American market, the first of which will be in stores later this year. This agreement marks Toy State’s first licensing agreement under the Nikko brand since its acquisition of the company last year.
“There are few brands with as loyal and passionate a fan base as the WWE,” says Andy Friess, Toy State president. “The personality of the brand is perfectly aligned with the attitude and innovation of our toys, and we can’t wait for WWE fans to see our products when they hit the shelves.”
Mattel: We engage with consumers across all brand and corporate social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as retailer sites, like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s. At Mattel, we have a fully functioning reporting and engineering team dedicated to understanding what the consumer is saying and turning that data into actionable improvements for both our manufacturing and design process.
Simha Kumar (SK): Kmart is focused on offering the most-desired toys, affordably and conveniently. We feature top licensed toys and hundreds of Kmart exclusives—whether purchasing in-store, buying online and picking up in-store, or having them shipped directly home. [Read more...]
Imagine by Rubie’s, a toy division of Rubie’s Costume Company Inc., is expanding its offerings with new products and accessories. Available for children in separates and box sets, every unique ensemble provides kids the opportunity to dress-up as their favorite character 365 days of the year.
This article was originally published in the July/August 2014 issue of The Toy Book. To read the entire digital issue, click here.
The construction play pattern has always allowed kids to create buildable worlds and adventures straight from their imaginations. But with a recent surge of licensed toys entering the category, kids are able to build more and more familiar worlds based on their favorite existing properties. According to The NPD Group, dollar sales of licensed building sets grew by 6 percent from 2011 to 2013. As the world becomes more multi-media driven, licensed properties are deeply integrated into kids’ daily lives. Established building toy companies, as well as those looking to get their feet wet in the category, are jumping on the bandwagon with characters and environments that are already a staple among kids—and even collectors. [Read more...]
Status Media has unveiled the Hero Holder, a mobile device holder featuring popular superheroes. The first Hero Holder will be a limited edition Marvel Spider-Man, available now for pre-sale in advance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which will be in theaters May 2. There will also be a super-limited, 1-in-100 variant of Spider-Man in his black costume, which can be found exclusively at ToyWiz.
The Hero Holder comes with two sets of bendable arms that can hold any size mobile device or tablet—vertically or horizontally—including iPhones, Android mobile phones, full sized or mini-iPads, Kindles, or any tablets made for kids or adults. Chargers can easily plug into devices when in the Hero Holder, which will be produced with Wicked Cool Toys. Current licensors offering creative support for the product include Marvel, DC, and WWE.
Mattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently launched WWE Slam City, a new kids property that includes a complete line of WWE Slam City merchandise as well as an original animated short-form series co-produced by WWE and Mattel’s Playground Productions. WWE Slam City toys, including action figures, ring sets and more, are currently available at major retail stores. In addition to toys, books and graphic novels will be available by year’s end, while a WWE Slam City mobile game will be in stores next year.
Episodes will be aired on WWESlamCity.com, Cartoonium, and YouTube in addition to TV broadcasts, live events, digital version, and social media. Other platforms include Hulu, Mattel.com, iTunes, and Playstation.
The series was filmed in the next generation of stop-motion animation. A new WWE animated character will fire all of the WWE Superstars and send them to Slam City to find day jobs. The characters, including John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus will have a new lifestyle outside of the ring but will stay true to their personas.