Catherine Bachmaier, vice president of toys and publishing at Warner Bros. Consumer Products, caught up with the Toy Book about DC-licensed toys, the licensing process, and more.
The Toy Book: What trends will have the biggest impact on the toy industry in 2021 and beyond?
Catherine Bachmaier: With the impact of COVID-19 carrying forward through the first part of 2021, the expectation is that “at-home play” will continue with high performance in games, construction, and outdoor sport toys.
We have a number of exciting new toy collections launching this year with key partners celebrating DC, animation, and live-action properties. Batman continues to be one of the most popular DC Super Heroes in the world, and this year we’re taking a deep dive into Bat-tech. The Batman toy line will explore all the fun and innovation of Batman’s gadgets, and, of course, the Batmobile.
In 2021, we’re also celebrating Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary. The timeless character will forever be a symbol of strength, truth, courage, and compassion, and Wonder Woman’s product collection and experiences will be infused with this spirit. Later this year, Space Jam: A New Legacy will give us an opportunity to make the Looney Tunes characters relevant to a whole new generation, and our toy assortment will feature all of the key characters from the film.
The Wizarding World will also see new toy products with Spin Master unveiling an all-new range of dolls and interactive toys, perfect for extending the beloved magical stories. In 2020, e-commerce increased significantly, expediting the comfort and ease of use, and we expect that trend to continue in 2021, making it convenient for families to get the latest toys inspired by their favorite characters and stories.
TB: How close do you work with your licensing partners and what is the process like?
CB: Licensee and licensor partnerships have evolved into a highly collaborative, integrated development process. It is critical that the licensor category strategy is established at the earliest stages and aligned with the expertise of the appropriate licensee. There is continued communication at every level of product development and marketing activations to deliver a cohesive, successful, meaningful product segment to consumers. This highly collaborative partnership produces product lines that are authentic to Warner Bros.’ iconic brands, storytelling, and our amazing portfolio of characters. We operate as one team with our licensees for a period of 18-24 months to deliver exceptional products to the shelf.
This State of the Industry Q&A response was originally published in the February 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!