Pam Kaufman, president of global consumer products at ViacomCBS, discusses media strategy, company goals, and more in the Toy Book‘s annual State of the Industry Q&A.
Toy Book: With major trade shows canceled or on hold this year, how do you plan to connect with manufacturers and the media?
Pam Kaufman: We have been incredibly intentional about staying in lockstep with our partners and retailers to meet the needs of consumers, especially during the pandemic. Staying in close contact with all of our licensees and retail partners allowed us to adapt creatively and quickly to the changing landscape. We have been rigorous about coming up with innovative ways to exchange ideas and share content.
The team successfully pivoted all events to fully virtual experiences, completing nearly 50 global partner meetings and trade events, in addition to participating virtually in Licensing Expo and the Festival of Licensing. We organized an intimate experience in a new virtual format to introduce our budding social stars, including Nickelodeon’s That Girl Lay Lay and Johnny Orlando for MTV, complete with acoustic performances from them both.
TB: What are your plans and goals for 2021?
PK: With the ViacomCBS merger, we are thrilled that our portfolio has expanded to serve consumers of all ages around the world. This year, we are focused on the debut of the first PAW Patrol theatrical release, expanding the Star Trek universe to the kids’ space with Star Trek: Prodigy, the continued rollout of Blue’s Clues & You!, the premiere of Baby Shark’s Big Show, connecting consumers with one of cable’s most-watched series of 2020 Yellowstone, and premiering the highly anticipated SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off series Kamp Koral. We are gearing up for a strong year with a huge array of new items hitting the market that we know kids and families will love.
TB: How did your department respond to the early challenges presented by the pandemic?
PK: When the pandemic first began, we did not know all the challenges that we and the larger industry would face in the months to come, but we worked diligently with our partners and retailers to ensure we adapted to the changing environment to better meet consumers’ evolving needs. We saw early on that families would be spending more time at home together and that parents would be looking for play solutions to supplement the difficulties of remote learning. Together with our licensees, we developed innovative solutions for kids and families including new puzzles, games, crafts, outdoor toys, hygiene products, and more. We also launched a licensed face mask initiative featuring a variety of ViacomCBS properties and are proud to have donated all ViacomCBS royalties from the program to charities around the world.
This State of the Industry Q&A response originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of the Toy Book. Click here to read more!