Genius Brands International Inc. is expanding beyond content development, production, and distribution this year. The company’s first foray into product merchandising involves licensed products inspired by Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama, with toys, apparel, and more slated to begin hitting retail throughout the next few months.
In addition to its entry into licensing and consumer products, Genius Brands has been making executive moves this year, with Jeff Shapiro hired to manage retail development this spring and Caroline Tyre recently appointed to handle International distribution following the announcement of its next series, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Currently airing on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr., Rainbow Rangers is capturing the hearts and imagination of young fans, and by the end of next year, Genius Brands plans to have more than 450 SKUs of branded merchandise in stores between it and Llama Llama, which currently streams on Netflix.
Rainbow Rangers products include bicycles from Dynacraft, available online through Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s; apparel from Bentex, available at Amazon; and an August expansion planned for brick and mortar locations. Disguise will release Halloween costumes in September through Walmart, Party City, and others, while Spirit Halloween will debut a full Halloween retail program for the brand across 1,200 Spirit stores.
“Given the success of Rainbow Rangers and Llama Lama, I am pleased to report we are now transitioning into the next phase of our growth, which includes product merchandising around these two hit series,” says Andy Heyward, CEO of Genius Brands International. “Our goal from the start, which I have communicated often over the past few years, has been to leverage our content strategy into product merchandising, and we are achieving that goal now, as planned, with nearly every conceivable consumer product category licensed for Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama. Moreover, our partners are among the top manufacturers, from toys by Mattel, to vitamins by Integrity Vitamins, to bikes by Dynacraft and apparel by Bentex … as well as a planned nationwide live tour for Rainbow Rangers from Gershwin Entertainment that will debut in Bentonville, Arkansas.”
Products inspired by Llama Llama are already at retail, including plush toys from Kids Preferred; activity books from Bendon Publishing; DVDs from NCircle Entertainment; puzzles available at Go Retail; Decopac’s cake design and decorating kits; and party accessories from Prime Party and Creative Converting. Additional products set to debut in the months ahead include books from Scholastic; Halloween costumes at Halloween.com/Fun.com; plush from Cuddle Barn; and Kurt Adler holiday ornaments.